Patsy Ramsey, the mother of slain 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, died Saturday morning after a recurrence of ovarian cancer, her lawyer L. Lin Wood told MSNBC. She was 49.
Ramsey had been battling ovarian cancer since 1993 and suffered a recurrence three years ago, Wood said. Ramsey died around 3:30 a.m. at her father’s home in the Atlanta area. Her husband, John, was with her at the time of her death.
“She was a unique, unique person who had the ability to look forward in her life and I think was able to deal with the tragedy in a fashion that most of us simply could not understand , much less could we ourselves be able to deal with the situation the way she did,” Wood told MSNBC. “Patsy just always looked forward and enjoyed every day.”
JonBenet was found beaten and strangled in her parents’ Boulder, Colo., basement on Dec. 26, 1996. A grand jury investigation ended with no indictments, and no arrests have been made.
The Ramseys said an intruder killed their daughter but a cloud of suspicion hung over the couple. The district attorney and a federal judge in Colorado have said it is likelier that an intruder was responsible.
JonBenet’s death became fodder for tabloids and the subject of books.
Patsy Ramsey said she found a ransom note on the back staircase of the family’s home demanding $118,000 for the safe return of JonBenet.
John Ramsey said he found his daughter’s body in a basement room, wrapped in a white blanket eight hours later.
A white rope was wrapped around her neck and a wrist and tied to a stick. A red-ink heart was drawn on her left palm, and Ramsey told police he removed duct tape from the child’s mouth before carrying her body upstairs.
An autopsy concluded JonBenet suffered a skull fracture, and was strangled and beaten.
The Ramseys left Colorado and had residences in Atlanta and in Michigan, where John Ramsey unsuccessfully ran for a state House seat in 2004.
He finished second among six candidates vying for the Republican nomination. The Ramseys discussed their daughter’s death during the campaign.
The couple wrote a book, “The Death of Innocence,” which was published in 2000.
“We can’t just hold our breath and hope the killer will be found and then go on with our lives,” Patsy Ramsey said in 2004. “We have to move ahead now. We can’t let evil win.”
Patsy Ramsey is survived by her husband and their 19-year-old son, Burke.