JonBenet Ramsey’s Brother Burke Smiles As He Recalls Aftermath of Murder: It Was a ‘Chaotic Nightmare’

Two decades ago, 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey was found dead in her parents’ basement in Boulder, Colorado, and now her older brother, Burke Ramsey, who was 9 years old at the time of the murder, is speaking out for the very first time.

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Burke, 29, sat down with Dr. Phil for a three-part special, and the first segment will air on Monday, September 12. In the previews, he reveals why he’s been silent about the incident for 20 years.

Burke Ramsey
JonBenet Ramsey’s brother Burke

“For a long time, the media basically made our lives crazy,” Burke said. “It’s hard to miss the cameras and news trucks in your front yard, and we’d go to the supermarket sometimes and there’d be a tabloid with my picture, JonBenét’s picture, plastered on the front, or they would follow us around. Seeing that as a little kid is just kind of a chaotic nightmare, so I was pretty skeptical of any sort of media, like, it just made me a very private person.”

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When Dr. Phil, 66, asked why he felt now was finally the right time to address the media, Burke replied, “As to why I’m doing it now, it’s the twentieth anniversary and apparently still a lot of attention around it, and I guess I kind of wanted to make it about remembering her and not just another news story.”

JonBenet Ramsey
JonBenét Ramsey Randall Simons/Polaris

As Burke recalled the night of the murder, he had a smile on his face. “The first thing I remember is my mom bursting into my room really frantic, saying, ‘Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!’ running around my room looking for JonBenét,” he said. “The next thing I remember is a police officer coming into my room and shining a flashlight.”

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Dr. Phil discussed Burke’s strange mannerisms on the Today show on Friday, September 9. “He’s a software engineer. He works remote. He doesn’t go in to work every day,” Dr. Phil said. “For 20 years he has been off the grid. My impression is he’s socially awkward. People are going to be very interested in his demeanor, and they’re going to find his demeanor atypical. He might be talking about some pretty dark aspects of this story and smiling while he’s talking about that.”

John Ramsey and Patsy Ramsey
John and Patsy Ramsey, the parents of JonBenét Ramsey. Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post/Getty Images

Besides Burke’s secluded lifestyle, the talk-show host believes the cloud of suspicion around JonBenét’s brother has impacted his behavior. “He’s aware that his parents are suspects,” Dr. Phil said. “He’s aware that he is a suspect, and this has had an effect on him over the last 20 years.”

The three-part interview begins Monday, September 12, and continues Tuesday, September 13, and Monday, September 19. 

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