IMAGE: JonBenet Ramsey
Reuters file
JonBenet Ramsey was murdered in December 1996.
updated 12/29/2003 1:33:33 PM ET 2003-12-29T18:33:33

A sample of male DNA found on JonBenet Ramsey’s underwear has been submitted to FBI investigators seven years after the 6-year-old was slain in her parents’ home, the family attorney said Friday.

“The Ramseys have a lot of hope that the DNA will solve the case,” said their lawyer, L. Lin Wood.

The DNA sample was taken from two drops of blood on the garment, which has been in storage with authorities since the investigation began into the child’s murder.

JonBenet, a competitor in child beauty contests, was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her parents’ Boulder home on Dec. 26, 1996.

Higher quality obtained
Earlier DNA tests on the blood indicated it was from a male who was not a member of the Ramsey family. At the time, the DNA sample wasn’t of a high enough quality to compare against a national databank of DNA, the attorney said.

Within the last few months, the Boulder District Attorney’s office was able to get a high quality sample of DNA from the garment to send to the FBI, Wood said.

Phone lines at the district attorney’s office were continuously busy Friday and no one could be reached for comment.

“I do believe the single most important evidence in the case is the DNA,” Wood said in a telephone interview from his office in Atlanta, where John and Patsy Ramsey now live.

The DNA will be compared with other samples in the FBI’s national databank to see if it matches men convicted of violent crimes or samples from other unsolved crimes, Wood said.

Wood accused Boulder police of not aggressively pursuing the DNA because it appeared to have been from someone outside the Ramsey family. The Ramseys have long contended that an outsider killed their daughter, and they have accused police of ignoring that possibility.

Police declined to comment, referring questions to the district attorney’s office.

District Attorney Mary Keenan took over the case this year after a five-year investigation by police failed to result in arrests or indictments.

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