Burke Ramsey files $750 million defamation lawsuit against CBS

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Burke Ramsey, whose younger sister JonBenét was tragically murdered in 1996, is once again back in the headlines. The 29-year-old software engineer is suing CBS over their two-part docu-series The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey. Burke has filed a $750 million defamation suit against the network, claiming the special caused “permanent damage to his reputation resulting from defendants’ false accusation that he killed his sister, JonBenét Ramsey.”

According to Reuters, the complaint filed in Burke’s home state of Michigan on Wednesday alleges he has been “exposed to public hatred, contempt and ridicule” since the show aired in September. The CBS series, one of what were really way too many specials and TV movies commemorating the grisly crime, theorized that Burke was responsible for the death of his sibling. The criminal experts recruited by the show were of the opinion that Burke was angry at his sister for taking a bite of his pineapple and, overcome by rage, delivered a fatal blow to her head with a flashlight. At no time has anyone said the killing was intentional, but many believe this theory to be true, with the killing covered up by Burke’s parents, John and Patsy.

The Associated Press details further allegations in the complaint including the fact that “the network, its production company and the experts interviewed in the series on the unsolved murder conspired to defame [Burke] for publicity and profit” and that CBS created a “sham re-investigation” of the case, “based on a compilation of lies, half-truths, manufactured information, and the intentional omission and avoidance of truthful information about the murder of JonBenét Ramsey.”

This isn’t the first lawsuit coming from the CBS series. Back in October, Burke filed a $150 million defamation lawsuit against forensic pathologist Werner Spitz, who appeared on the special. According to Burke’s attorney, John Lesko, “Spitz claims Burke, age 9 at the time of his sister’s death, bludgeoned her to death.” The suit also alleges that Spitz “made this accusation without ever examining JonBenét’s body, without viewing the crime scene and without consulting with the pathologist who performed the autopsy on JonBenét.”

In addition to seeking $100 million in punitive damages and $50 million in compensatory damages, along with all attorney fees and court costs, Burke is also asking that Spitz be ordered to “remove and retract all defamatory statements” about him.

I know watching lots of Forensic Files and Making a Murderer does not make me a crime expert, but I really think there’s something to these theories and I don’t think Burke will prevail with his lawsuits. If anything, he should sue the producers of Dr. Phil, as he did not come off looking good in that interview at all. It would certainly be nice to have this still officially unsolved case closed though, wouldn’t it?

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Photo credit: CBS, Dr. Phil

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163 Responses to “Burke Ramsey files $750 million defamation lawsuit against CBS”

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  1. Dolphin7 says:

    This guy gives off the creepiest vibes. It also doesn’t help he looks like the love child of James Haven and Ramsay Bolton.

  2. Alix says:

    Cannot believe this case is 20 years old. I’m pretty sure that theorizing about a case is not the same as slander, so good luck with those lawsuits, pal.

    • Crowdhood says:

      I knew when I saw the special he would sue. I also knew there was NO WAY a major network would air that without heavy legal vetting. They had their shit locked up before it aired, they have more that they didn’t share.

      • Fiorella says:

        Curious — if they have more why wouldn’t they share?

      • Lindsey says:

        To avoid a law suit with actual merit. They had to walk a fine line – informative and evidence based but not defamatory. Also, they had to have multiple, creditable sources for the facts they presented. They were in CYA mode. This could work at well for CBS. Just like when Tom Cruise sued and the tabloid was able to use his deposition to force him to sit down and answer questions and the published stories on things he said.

      • kcat says:

        @Fiorella, there was so much more that the grand jury were shown than any of us know. The White’s who were with the family immediately after the murder know something. They have never told all they know except to the grand jury. I read someplace that the public knows a small portion of the actual evidence they have against the family.

      • Greentea says:

        kcat is absolutely right about the grand jury having access to so much more evidence than has been made public. The grand jury also had the chance to interview Burke.

    • Megan says:

      I think CBS will quietly settle with him. He has no doubt been the target of heavy trolling and, since he was never charged with the crime, they won’t risk a jury trial.

      If he does prevail, he should take his money and move to another country because after that creepy Dr Phil interview, no one is going to believe he is innocent.

      • Katie says:

        This. The Dr. Phil interview did all the damage needed. I would love it if he sued Dr. Phil. Even if he is the murderer. Dr. Phil is a pariah.

      • LoveIsBlynd says:

        The sentences I read were just horrific- something about DNA samples on the victims underclothes linking the perpetrator as the brother. Just really cruel headlines to get viewers and implicate a person who lawfully should be innocent until proven guilty. I agree with his sum of money as askance for damages. Sensationalism in media is out of control, and the way shows try to gain viewers should be criminalized.

    • Odette says:

      Pretty sure he can’t win. He’d probably be tied to the actual malice standard (limited purpose public figure), and would, essentially, have to prove that CBS knew their info was wrong, but ran with it anyway. That’s the thing about defamation in the U.S., in many cases, even if you get information wrong, proving that you had legit sources, and truly believed your case after proper due diligence, is a viable defense.

      • Lindsey says:

        He would also have to prove financial damages. As a public figure that is all he is entitled to.

      • noway says:

        Not sure he would qualify as a public figure. After his sister died no one saw him in public at all. Also, I think this lawsuit could possibly have some merit. Contrary to public belief just because you come off a creepy doesn’t mean you did this. Look Ted Buddy was apparently very charming and lured his multiple victims.

        Also, established media companies are having business trouble to begin with and you can tell by the way they publicized this special they were just going for ratings and advertising dollars. That is okay, but when you name someone you run the risk of this. As far as financial damages well not as hard as you think. If he was unable to work or if people harassed him and he lost money because of that.

      • Odette says:

        “Public figure” doesn’t necessarily mean famous (for the purposes of a defamation claim). But the case was a “matter of public concern” and so all people associated with the case would probably qualify as a “limited purpose public figures” in relation to any lawsuit about the scandal / case. Now, if the case was about something totally different, he would not be considered an LPPF.

      • Lindsey says:

        But $750 million in financial damage? Plus, you’d have to prove CBS convinced them vs the blue million other articles and specials.

    • tback says:

      Yes…good luck with the lawsuit….the experts’ theory is that it was an accident and that Burke had no intention of killing JonBenet. I agree that CBS’ legal team thoroughly vetted everything plus there were disclaimers displayed throughout the program. People go on TV and offer theories about crimes all the time. Burke himself did massive damage to his own reputation with that appearance on Dr Phil so it will be difficult to prove that CBS is responsible for that.

  3. Zapp Brannigan says:

    I saw this show and I thought it was well done, the conclusion seemed logical based on what they presented in the show, does anyone know if the show was biased or “glammed up” for television more than what would be standard for tv? In Ireland here so don’t really know what the truth/rumour ratio on this case is, and Internet reading material is tough as every fact is later declared false and true repeatedly.

    • isabelle says:

      To me it was like CBS paid some hacks to say Burke and it was their plan the whole time.Thought it was trash.

      • Shelley says:

        I’m sure I will be in the minority here, but most murders of children are committed by a parent. Just because a family has money makes little difference. I believe the parent in question is not John Ramsey. I believe the raising of the children was unloaded upon Patsy, who was under a great deal of stress. Is there one person here who has never gotten angry with their child? She lost it. It was accidental, but she lost it.

    • Jag says:

      I didn’t see the show, but from what people have said and what I’ve read about it, it was factual. I do believe that he killed his sister. He had a known track record of messing with her and tormenting her – not the least of which was when he put his feces in her clean bed so that she found it as she went to sleep.

      I believe that his parents knew that he’s an alleged psychopath due to his behavior, and they covered up what he did. Patsy’s statement that she didn’t want to lose “both children” makes it crystal clear to me.

      I actually almost got kicked off of a board decades ago – we’ll call it a criminal discussion board – for positing that I thought that he had killed his sister. I thought it was with the broken golf club – or baseball bat – that had been found in the back yard. I didn’t know about the flashlight at the time.

    • Greentea says:

      Zapp, I think the show was grounded in facts and they had some really interesting stuff on statement analysis (esp the war-and-peace ransom “note”) that was new to me. I’d recommend Kolar’s book, Foreign Faction, if you want to work out the rumour/truth ratio of the Burke-did-it theory. He’s the cop who talked about the toy train track on the show. His book is basically a summing up of the evidence and can be relied on for accuracy because he was the cop in charge of the case for a time and had access to all the case files, etc.

  4. Danielle says:

    I have not followed this case much, but good for Burke. He has really been demonized with the extra attention.

    • original kay says:

      I think this very comment signifies what is going very wrong in our society.

      I have not followed the case much, but I am still going to have an opinion, based on absolutely nothing more than… well, nothing.
      And I will say my opinion BEFORE I actually take the time to educate myself on the topic.

      This was also exemplified with Trump’s response to the russian hacking/sanctions. He’ll get a briefing “sometime next week”, in the meantime, let’s all just move on.

      As for poor JonBenét, I do think he brother did it, I did read up on the case, and I think he hit her in anger, her parents panicked, and that poor child died alone :(

      • Lucytunes says:

        No, my dear. That would be you.

        You read up on it and now because the internet told you so you believe this guy murdered his sister. Despite the FACT that actual officers of the law investigated the crime for years and never found evidence to charge him, you read about it and have more information than them. You think the facts don’t matter, your opinion does.

        You couldn’t be more Trumpian!

      • HappyMom says:

        You could also say, making judgements based on what a tv show presents also demonstrates “what’s very wrong in our society.” This wasn’t a trial. It was entertainment and sensationalized.

      • Nancy says:

        Perfect comment Kay. I always suspected Patsy. She was so emotional and careless with her statements. She went into rages when JonBenet wet the bed. I don’t think Burke would have had the physical strength to kill his little sister in the manner in which she died. The investigation was blown at the get go, with all the police and investigators passing the room in which she lay and never bothering to go in. It is a travesty of justice. JonBenet, the beautiful, innocent little girl dying on Christmas Day and twenty years later, the same suspects and no answers.

      • jwoolman says:

        My bet is the mom did it accidentally and all the rest is coverup – for which they have been punished many times over. Patsy was so stressed out for quite a while before the incident. I can easily see her losing control when the little girl wet the bed while they were rushing to get out the door for a trip. If she pulled the child into the bathroom, for example, an injury could have occurred that was assumed to be fatal. The brother always seemed like a long shot to me, not sure I can believe he wouldn’t have spilled something to the neighbors he was staying with or other people who questioned him, even if he didn’t realize something he did was involved.

      • original kay says:

        Good point Lucytunes.

        I am very much a “Trumpian” because I read about the case, not just on gossip sites, and followed along best I could, not being a lawyer.

        I do also see where I said I knew more, my opinion was to be valued more, and I was the expert on the subject. Yes, I clearly see where I said that.

        I also see where I clearly stated my opinion was based on the TV documentary, Happymom, and not based on reports from credible news sources. Of course, the credibility is determined by who reads them. Some find FOX credible, for example.

        @Nancy I hope that’s not true, but I see your point, about physical strength :(

      • noway says:

        What do you mean the child died alone? According to your opinion her brother did it and her parents covered it up. Doesn’t that imply someone was with her at least right after she died if she died instantly. I don’t understand your comment. Yes if they did as you imply JonBenet died horribly, and if Burke did it on purpose or accidental as the story said it is sad, but not alone.

        I thought the show was interesting, especially the part about the investigation and how it went awry. However, I do see they may have a legal issue, because they tried to tie it up. Contrary to public opinion reading a lot of reports or accounts, even respectable ones, does not make someone an expert. The reality is the experts in the show didn’t see all the evidence either. The autopsy reports they disagreed with, but didn’t have access to her body to come to a more authoritative decision, not to mention countless other things. Just saying there are a lot of holes in their conclusion, and they named a person as the culprit albeit they said it was accidental, which is a complete made up story by them which wouldn’t hold water in any courtroom. I bet CBS settles with him too.

      • original kay says:

        oh just hyperbole. we all die alone.

        ETA: not true, we all don’t. some of us die surrounded by loved ones and in peace.
        This child did not, she died alone.

        There, I hope that’s better. I’m not used to so many people actually commenting back! Usually my comments go unnoticed :) I’ll do better to explain myself more clearly in the future.

      • M.A.F. says:

        Wasn’t the problem with this case from the beginning the police work? That they contaminated the crime scene so bad that it was hard to pin point what happened to begin with?

      • Rico Shew says:

        Trial by social media is a real problem. I’m regularly guilty of having opinions on things I haven’t researched properly. So every now and then I’ll get knocked on my ass by someone who has.

      • sienna says:

        Actually Lucytunes the police did find enough evidence to charge. They desperately wanted to charge the Ramsay’s and the grand jury also moved that there was enough evidence to try them. Rather it was the DA who did not want to press charges and therefore it was never done.

      • Jolima says:

        Re: Physical strength for a little boy to do it….Did you watch the entire series? They got a little boy same age as the brother was to demonstrate the exact same injury he could inflict to a little girl’s skull with the murder weapon. Not to mention he had previously bashed her in the head with golf club, but she luckily didn’t die that time. No doubt the brother did it…you can also see it in his crazy pathologically lying & jealous eyes.

      • Nancy says:

        original kay: You probably won’t see this but I will say it anyway. Your posts don’t go unnoticed. You always blend in the conversations appropriately and informatively. Don’t sell yourself short. BTW, I agree with the first part of your post, we all do die alone. What none of us know if that is the end of our journey, or just onto another phase. Way too deep for New Year’s Eve. Corny cliché, but see ya next year! :)

      • Valois says:

        “you can also see it in his crazy pathologically lying & jealous eyes.”

        Jesus, do you even realize how awful that sounds?

      • The Bad Mood Kanye says:

        The police/prosecutors wouldn’t have been able to charge Burke with a crime, even if they had found evidence (and I believe they did) that he was responsible for JonBenet’s death. Burke was nine years old at the time, and Colorado law states that a child under the age of 12 cannot be held legally responsible for felony murder. Colorado authorities would never have been able to charge him. A grand jury did, however, indict John and Patsy Ramsey on charges of child abuse relating to the death of JonBenet/failure to prevent death. But the grand jury decision was sealed up until a few years ago, and the Boulder DA declined to prosecute the Ramsey’s (even though they were indicted by a grand jury). The grand jury testimony is still sealed.

      • original kay says:

        @Nancy

        <3 thank you my friend.
        I did come back to see, and I hope you read this too.

        Happy New years :)

      • Nancy says:

        Ha! Thank you too @original kay: Just sitting around on this New Year’s Day while my pork roast takes its time in my slow cooker. You didn’t let the commenter intimidate you and stuck to your guns. Good for you. We all have bad days, but some (mostly lurkers) just come on to hurt people’s feelings. Well…..they can’t sit at our table! Healthy Happy New Year to you and yours. Funny how we bond with ladies of like minds that seems like we know as well as our offline friends! Cheers!

    • Danielle says:

      Thanks for the support Lucy tunes! “This comment signifies what is going very wrong in our society.” Um, exaggerate much? Being over 40 I have heard ALOT about this case, although, again, I don’t focus on it much because I always found the fixation on a little girls murder grusome. Any story can be told in from a different point of view to make nearly anyone look guilty. I just think pointing the finger at a young man who has been attacked since he was a child is horrific. I have always felt alot of sympathy for him.

      • original kay says:

        :)

        I am also over 40!

        It wasn’t personal, I think we are in an age of “dumbing down” society, and your comment yes, signifies this. Not you, personally (though maybe you are, I don’t know, as I fail to see how your age plays any role in this conversation)
        But I still stand by my original comment- far too often people feel the need (and yes, me too of course, for heaven’s sake, not so blatantly as to state it, it’s more a learning experience), to express an opinion without actually knowing anything about the subject.
        Unfortunately, Danielle, you seem to now fit into that category for me, so I’ll just be on my merry way and avoid your posts in 2017!

    • Helen Back says:

      I have followed this case closely and read many books and articles.
      I have also studied her autopsy report which is available on line, along with the very very shocking and terribly sad autopsy photographs.
      These documents state the medical examiner found evidence of historical sexual abuse.
      There are also clear stun gun marks on her temples and elsewhere.
      She ultimately died from blunt force trauma to her head. However ,her neck was horrifically garroted by a very strong person before she died of the blunt force. I do not believe we will ever know who MURDERED her. Not unless her Father confesses something on his death bed. Both he and his wife knew the truth.

  5. Just Saying says:

    I don’t think that a stranger killed her…

    • Chetta B. says:

      Nor do I. And why was the ransom not written in Patsy Ramsey’s handwriting?? And why was the ransom demand the exact figure of her father’s bonus. Methinks Patsy Ramsey wasn’t particularly bright, and Original Kay I think is right. I think the parents panicked and had to come with “something.” They protested a tad too strongly that Burke slept through the entire thing and tried to sweep it aside.

      • Nc says:

        The note WASNT in her handwriting. She was merely the closest match, but barely. On a scale to 1-5, 5 being ruled out, she was 4.5. Sycophants out for her blood have no leg to stand on.

      • zxc says:

        I listened to a podcast on this case. Apparently when she went missing they called their neighbours to come over. Also, the brother slept through the whole thing. From what was told on the podcast, they never went into his room. Their child went missing from their home and they didn’t feel the need to keep the other one close to them. Who does that?

    • Truthfinder says:

      I believe it was Burke or Patsy and the father was the “mastermind” behind the cover up.

    • Deedee says:

      The FBI said they had never seen such a long ransom note. Of all the evidence, no one can explain why someone would sit in the Ramsey house and write the “War and Peace” of ransom notes for a child that was never removed from the home and was already dead.

    • Cindy says:

      Has anyone here read a book called Foreign Faction? I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I have, just because I don’t generally read true crime (too gruesome). However, I will say that I thought this book was excellent, well-written and utterly riveting. This author (can’t remember his name), makes a completely believable case for Burke as the killer. I was so impressed with his research that I to this day believe the crime was solved, but cannot be brought to trial. The author explains why, and how this could be. I am really curious if anyone else has read this and what they think of it.

      • jmo says:

        I’ve never heard of that book before, thanks for the tip. I’ve just ordered it.

      • cindy says:

        Please let me know what you think! Don’t know if that’s realistic because I don’t know when (if), another Ramsey post will be up, but the book is so fascinating. I read it in two sittings because I couldn’t put it down. It seems that the prevailing thought is that this crime will forever be unsolved, but in a way, after this book, I think it is solved, but cannot be prosecuted.

      • Greentea says:

        I’ve read that book, Cindy, and I agree with you. Check out the author’s reddit if you haven’t already. Very interesting, especially his point about the garrote not being part of staging; i.e., the same person who struck her later applied it. Such a tragic and violent case. Burke never got the help he really needed.

      • nicegirl says:

        I have also read Foreign Faction, and I agree with you as well, Cindy. The book made an excellent case and I do believe Burke was the person who ended his sisters life, with their folks trying to cover it up for his and their sake.

      • Kate says:

        Cindy,
        I also read the book and agree with the comments made by the people who have also read it. I felt it connected all of puzzle pieces that had never quite made sense before. I believe James Kolar was one of the investigators on the TV special.

      • jwoolman says:

        If Burke did actually do it, I wonder if he has no memory of it. Otherwise, why would he pursue this lawsuit and have had anything to do with Dr. Phil or this show?

        If the grand jury really did indict the parents on child abuse and failure to prevent but the DA refused to prosecute, if Burke did it then the failure would be the failure to protect her against a disturbed other child, I assume. And the DA would not want to prosecute because the child could not be charged with anything anyway and it was all such a tragic mess. Trying to prove failure to prevent would have been a nightmare all round. Not sure about the child abuse charge, that sounds more like a parent did it accidentally. Maybe not if both parents were indicted. But I would expect a charge of covering up a crime as well, which could involve both parents.

        It all still points to an accidental death to me, and the whole family has certainly been punished enough for any part in it or the coverup.

  6. RussianBlueCat says:

    Could Burke even sue the producers of Dr Phil if he wanted to? He must have signed some sort of release before appearing on the show. As for the other lawsuits good luck, the defendants can afford the best lawyers. So if Burke thinks his reputation was damaged by those documentaries , just wait until the lawyers get finished with him

    • Zapp Brannigan says:

      I read somewhere that his lawyer is also Dr Phil’s lawyer so suing the show seems unlikely. It was probably a case of Dr Phil contacting the lawyer for an introduction.

      • noway says:

        I think he agreed to Dr. Phil because of the tell all what really happened shows being released, and no you can’t sue because he didn’t look good on Dr. Phil.
        I think he thought he would look better, but it didn’t work.

        Keep in mind that the Ramsey’s have money too. I am sure his father is behind the suit, also I could see how a lawyer would think this could get them money and take this case. I worked in media for many year, even at CBS, and I was a bit shocked they let that conclusion go through. My guess is they made a calculation that the revenue generated from this would counter the settlement they will make. Sounds harsh, but I bet it is what happened.

      • Tourmaline says:

        Right no way will they sue Dr. Phil….. because Burke’s lawyer (and longtime lawyer for John and Patsy Ramsey) Lin Wood is… Dr. Phil’s lawyer too.

      • Trashaddict says:

        He was not obligated to do this interview. And now he’s suing. That’s the real deal about what’s wrong with the USA these days. Absolving yourself of your behavior by suing. (Pardon to those with legitimate cases).

  7. Emily says:

    If it’s true that he accidentally killed her (and I think it very well could be) then his parents didn’t do him any favours by covering it up. Nobody would throw a 9 year old in jail. What he needed was professional help. And now that this thing has snowballed to such a ridiculous extent, how could he possibly come clean about the whole thing. I honestly feel sorry for him.

    • Greentea says:

      He was about three months short at time of crime to face any jail time, ever. However, his parents could have been charged and should have been since a grand jury with access to a lot of evidence voted to indict. The DA, however, decided not to charge them. Money and influence at its worst.

  8. Lovisa_L says:

    The thing is, we can’t just label people as murderers just because they look creepy or behave in ways we don’t understand. That way lies the hell that was visited on Christopher Jefferies in the UK a few years back and I cannot say it makes me feel any easier in this case, although I’m not explicitly familiar with the case other than as an habitual news watcher.

    • original kay says:

      That’s right. Amanda Knox was vilified in the press, and by the Italian police. She has “cold eyes” and she didn’t respond like they would have, given the circumstances.

      That being said, I do think he did it, but not because he doesn’t look attractive to me, and like an above poster said, I wish he had gotten help.

      • Greentea says:

        @original kay That’s funny because having read into the case, I believe Burke and Amanda are both guilty of their respective crimes. Both are super weird people, but there’s a lot more going on in terms of evidence that’s making the gun smoke. It’s truly not because they’re weird people that people think they’re guilty.

      • Nancy says:

        Greentea: I was only 17 when JonBenet was murdered, but remember that’s all people were talking about for months and even years after. I never thought it was Burke. I thought it was the mother with dad doing everything in his power, and he was rich and powerful, to set up a scenario to eliminate her as the killer. What saved anyone from being arrested was the horrendous aftermath by the police. They really compromised the crime scene and didn’t look in the room where they passed so many times to find the child. Unforgivable. As for Amanda, I have never been 100% sure that she was 100% innocent.

    • Luca76 says:

      Yes I so agree with this point. Everyone thinks they are an amateur detective.

    • Looty says:

      I remember how sure the cops were that Elizabeth Smart’s father was guilty, and some other poor guy who was also a very logical suspect. Growing up under a cloud of suspicion could make you squirrely all by itself.

    • MC2 says:

      The flip side of this thinking, which drives me nuts, is that he couldn’t have done because he looks so normal or attractive. Basing things on people’s looks and actions in public is dangerous. I worked with abusive men and most you would not have assumed would be capable of the stuff they did. In fact, the most successful (writing that makes me squirm) abusers & psychopaths come across as better then the average person. An apple is not supposed to look like a painting- it’s supposed to have flaws but the good psycho comes across as a perfect, shiny red thing out of the witches hand.

    • isabelle says:

      100%. Hate when people condemn because of personality and looks. This is a very very dangerous is a future jury member. In the real world it could have devastating lifelong consequences because many innocent people have been accused of crimes they didn’t commit because of it. These are the types that would love the Ted Bundy’s of the world (charming and goodlooking) but accuse an innocent person because of looks.

    • erica says:

      thank you. The grand jury had “evidence” (as slip-shod and biased as anything that’s been presented today) which has since been largely discredited. The DNA in the panties does not match anyone in the Ramsey family. The ransom note was not in Patsy’s handwriting. And because Burke is a shy and awkward individual does not make him “creepy” any more than it makes him guilty.

    • Veronica says:

      This is why many of us who are neurological atypical are very nervous about ever finding themselves in a position where they have to be investigated by police or a jury.

  9. tback says:

    The theory that Burke was involved is not new. Why so defensive Burke? You’re keeping the story alive with these lawsuits. If you didn’t do it don’t respond & it will go away.

    • Christin says:

      Exactly. He’s just refueling a theory that was bounced around years ago. Filing these massive lawsuits just reintroduces it to a new generation.

      He could have ignored it (mentioning to those around him that it was renewed sensationalism) and that includes NOT doing a TV interview himself.

    • Ramona says:

      You are telling me that if a TV network made a show accusing you of murdering your sister you would do nothing? The story is already out there. Theres no Streisand effect to worry about. This suit gives him a chance to put their “evidence” to the test and draw the line against future witch hunts. Not just against him but whichever poor sod the “cyber sleuths” and news-for-entertainment producers fixate on.

      You simply can not do this another human being, people. (And by THIS I mean publicly determine and pronounce the guilt of an individual in a case that stumped the initial investigation by cherry picking evidence without even the basic safeguards of a fair judicial system). Its barberic!

      • ClamHands says:

        You certainly can state your opinion or an alternate theory on a case. CBS had an army of lawyers review this special, bank on it. And CBS will not have to prove their theory is true, Burke will have to prove it is false. That’s how defamation works in the US (different from U.K. And Canada). Agree with posters saying he’s doing this for the settlement- explains the absurd damages he is asking for. I do hope it goes to trial, as more may come out.

      • minx says:

        iirc from college classes 40 years ago, Burke would have to prove malicious disregard for the truth on the behalf of CBS. The burden of proof is on him, not them–again, iirc.

      • Jane.fr says:

        @Ramona: I ‘m totally with you.
        I have not seen the serie not read that much about the affair, being french and all that. But I DO know the difference between tv and justice.
        If I were him I would sue every one involved. And I hope he will win. Innocent or not. Because unless they found a time-machine and manage to actually be there, they do not know anything and still manage to speculate loud enough to condemn him. It must already have been hard, but what kind of life is he supposed to have now ?

      • Erica_V says:

        @ClamHands – i was wondering that – who’s responsibility it is to prove true or false. And if he has to prove their claims false what sort of evidence will he be able to provide that it wasn’t him?

      • Odette says:

        Erica_v: This is a simplistic answer, but generally speaking, Burke would have to prove that CBS made an unprivileged, false statement of fact that caused material harm. So, he’d actually have to pinpoint untruthful statements made during the program. (Conjecture and implication don’t always amount to a false statement of fact. Plus, even if he uses a “defamation by implication” argument, the court must assume the most innocent interpretation of the implication, which usually works in favor of the defendant.) Not only that, but he’d have to prove that CBS didn’t engage in proper due diligence — or disregarded reporting on facts that would have impacted the overall impression.

      • tback says:

        It’s difficult to know how I would feel since thankfully I haven’t been in this situation but my point is that by filing this mega lawsuit I think he’s making the speculation worse & bringing more attention to the theory that he did it. Again, this is not a new theory so I don’t see a benefit to responding.

      • tback says:

        Wanted to add that the experts on the CBS show don’t say Burke murdered JonBenet. Their theory is that it was an accident …. he hit her on the head with a flashlight or other blunt object because he was annoyed/angered by her…the experts clearly state that they don’t believe he intended to kill her….they also make it clear that since he was only 9 he couldn’t likely be charged with or convicted of murderer. The theory is that the parents then staged a crime in an attempt to protect Burke & their own reputations/standing in the community.

  10. Montréalaise says:

    Why would he sue the producers of the Dr. Phil show? Unless they somehow made him adopt an inappropriate, creepy demeanor and keep smiling when discussing his sister’s death – they didn’t make him look bad, he did that all by himself.

  11. suze says:

    He comes off as an oddball, there is no denying. However, he has never been convicted through any court and really, all this speculation leads nowhere. I do not think the Dr. Phil interview was a good idea, but it was his so he should own it. The CBS Special was a a total hack job, even though I think there were grains of truth in it.

    JonBenet’s end is going to remain a mystery.

    • Colleen says:

      I tend to agree here. Additionally the special I recently saw (A&E?) said the autopsy clearly showed the little girl was strangled to death, not bludgeoned. The over-the-top blunt force came after death. I’m still not 100 percent sure who did it, but I don’t think it was her brother.

      • Greentea says:

        She was pulled by the collar of her shirt and then she scratched her own neck to try to get free. Then came the blow to the top of her skull. She was rendered immediately unconscious, but breathed and digested (pineapple) and had her heart beating for around 90 minutes after that, and she was effectively brain dead. Then the garrote was applied. That’s the correct order. Watch the CBS show. Very, very tragic and sad death for a little girl – for anyone.

  12. S.E.S. says:

    We will never know who murdered her because the police messed up.

  13. ell says:

    he doesn’t just come off as odd, from all accounts there was something a bit wrong with him (smearing faeces in your sister’s stuff wth??). it’s a shame that it seems the family’s influence at that time prevented this case from being resolved properly.

  14. Tess says:

    While we’ll never know who killed her for many reasons, I do tend to believe that he and the parents covered something up. I’m sure Patsy went to her grave knowing who killed her child. I’m sure John knows as well. I’m sure Burke knows. However, suing for almost a billion dollars? Ridiculous and excessive. I doubt this kind of suspicion has impacted his life negatively that much.

  15. Mar says:

    He was nine years old! I don’t understand how everyone is so sure he did it???

  16. perplexed says:

    He does come off as odd, but considering what happened to his sister (and the media attention that followed) I think it makes sense that he’d come off a little weird.

  17. cindyp says:

    I watched the CBS special, they were so careful not to directly accuse Burke, very evident that lawyers reviewed & approved everything that was said. Their theory is the only one that makes sense; no way someone could have broken into the house, taken JB from her bedroom to the basement, killed her then written a long ransom note. Defies logic that no one would have woken up. The house wasn’t that big. Guessing Burke hopes CBS will throw him some cash to make it go away so he can say that they settled. Moral of the story; “perfect” families usually aren’t perfect.

  18. newmansown says:

    Google Blink on crime. They are crime site with comments posted. The columnist’s credentials are listed.

    She says that Patsy was given 4.5 out of 5 as NOT matching handwriting of ransom note.

    The actual injuries on JonBenet indicate she strugged to the end with her murderer and she would have had Burke’s DNA all over her.

    Furthermore she did not die from the hit on head as she has marks on her neck consistent with pulling on rope while being strangled.

    So many other details given in articles posted on blink on crime too numerous to list.

    The article gives pause for thought if nothing else. They unequivocally state sexual sadist did this and intended on kidnapping the girl to take her to another location to slowly torture her.

    She believes predator was hiding in house when they came home and the note was already written before he killed her

    IDK. The columnist made many valid ponts.

    • Ramona says:

      I think anybody looking beyond the conspiracy theories can see the evidence was a lot more complicated than often pedaled. My attitude will always be this; it is better to have a guilty man free than have an innocent man in prison. And make no mistake, you can build a prison with bars but you can also build a prison with words. You can hound a person to the point that they are unable to function. You can produce documentaries and websites to keep that prison door shut for the rest of his life. In Burkes case, his parents had to pull him out of school and have him privately tutored for the rest of his school days and he now works alone in his house. I dont know how anybody can reasonably look at this and say its ok. If you have evidence take it to the correct system, otherwise leave him alone. I wish I could get on that jury. I would bankrupt CBS Gawker-style to send a message.

      • original kay says:

        I like what you are saying here, and as it happens, I agree with you. I usually try to wait a few days before commenting, to see what comes from all the gossip.

        Innocent until proven guilty should not ever be taken for granted, particularly in the forthcoming years, as the new US president is even seeking to make changes to the first amendment.

        I realize that even evidence presented is skewed, so while I hold my own opinions about this case, and I do believe he did it, I like what you said and will give it thought as I read more threads, etc.

        ETA: ” you can build a prison with bars but you can also build a prison with words. You can hound a person to the point that they are unable to function. You can produce documentaries and websites to keep that prison door shut for the rest of his life. I”

        this is very poignant, and very accurate I fear.

      • Nancy says:

        I love that Ramona: It’s better to have a guilty man free than an innocent man in prison. Too many people have been imprisoned and later found to be innocent by evidence or science not available at the time. Our justice system is imperfect, but I’m with you. Burke suffered the death of his sister and mother and being a suspect in a notorious murder case. He is in a prison without bars. I hope he is innocent and vindicated when and if the murderer ever does a death bed confession; problem is the murderer may already be dead her/his self.

    • isabelle says:

      One thing that is rarely mentioned, there was an attempted abduction of another child around JonBenet age weeks prior to death. A mother found a stranger in her house trying to abduct her daughter. He fled and crime never solved. It was close to the Ramsey neighborhood.

  19. Digital Unicorn (aKa Betti) says:

    Burke maybe odd but it doesn’t make him a killer. He should also sue whoever talked him into that Dr Sleazabag interview.

    • Adele Dazeem says:

      Agreed. Maybe he’s socially awkward (that isn’t a crime for sure) but if you think about it, having your baby sister murdered in your own home (assuming he didn’t do it)–and watching your parents be vilified, your life on the news, etc., would mess with ANYONE. Have any of these amateur sleuths ever investigated the emotional impact even being an innocent bystander kid (that was accused as well) would have on him??

  20. Pamela Judy says:

    Jim & Laura take their jobs very seriously. While I do think some things were overdramatised for tv ( and they almost admitted as much in their now partially deleted podcast series about the case), they would never outwardly accuse anyone without being 100% confident in their conclusions. I thought I read somewhere at the time that they were prepared and even expecting/hoping for a lawsuit so they could present their theories in Court and make the Ramsey family prove them wrong.

  21. minx says:

    The case will be thrown out of court, I predict.

  22. Green Is Good says:

    Why did Burke agree to these interviews? Especially Dr. Phil. He should have stayed out of the spotlight.

    • Aila says:

      The way I understand it they decided to do the interview as a pre-emptive strike ahead of the CBS investigation but it kind of backfired. I wonder why Dr. Phil or someone didn’t take Burke aside during a break in the interview and say, “Stop grinning like an idiot, you look like a deranged killer!”

  23. JRenee says:

    This was such a sickening murder. To think that no one may ever be charged is awful. How anyone could kill a child in this manner and go ahead and live a full life afterwards is mind numbing for me.
    Too many unanswered questions, but I don’t think it was some outsider who killed her or who wrote the ransom note.
    RIP Jonbenet!

  24. jwoolman says:

    He would be smarter to just ignore the speculation. He had the opportunity to say what he remembered and should have left it at that. Or just ignored the whole thing. All this just brings more attention to him, which is not a good thing. He has no way to know what his parents were really up to at the time, he was too young.

  25. CItyHeat says:

    I watched several of the specials but admittedly did not watch the CBS one. What struck me was the horrific way this child died. She wasn’t just hit over the head with a flashlight and died of head trauma, She was bound, gagged and sexually assaulted. There was evidence to suggest a stun gun was used to incapacitate her. She was guillotined in the throat with a crude but effective makeshift weapon. She was conscious enough at the end to try and claw at the ropes around her neck. THEN she died. None of these facts sync up with the theories of an accidental murder, then covered up by the parents. And the newest DNA techmiques suggest an intruder of Hispanic descent should be considered.
    I agree he has some weird affects but think of how he was raised. Also look at the early interviews. Patsy and sometimes John smiled at awkward times. Maybe it’s a learned family tic of sorts.

    Will the truth ever be known? I doubt it. And it continues. Just such a tragic story all around.

    • Greentea says:

      If you watch the CBS show and read Kolar’s (one of the experts on the CBS show) book (Foreign Faction), you’ll come away with a pretty clear perspective of what happened. Sorry if this post is a little graphic.

      There wasn’t a stun gun. The worked out it was one of the toy train tracks from Burke’s set and it was used to probably prod her at some stage during the night. Stun guns don’t leave those type of marks.

      She wasn’t guillotined in the throat. She had self-inflected scratches and a triangular mark from when someone grabbed her by the shirt, prior to strike to the head. Not clawing during strangulation. She was already brain dead at that stage; the strike was so violent.

      But she lived for around 90 minutes after the strike, breathing, digesting her pineapple, and bleeding into her brain. The garrote/strangulation is what ultimately killed her. This was a deliberate act and no way the parents did this since she was still breathing, so you can understand how horrific the crime was. The CBS series withheld from talking about this (probably for legal reasons), but Kolar has spoken about this in a reddit.

      Very tragic case and obvious it was the brother. He’d hit her with a golf club about a year before and been smearing walls with faeces and leaving his faeces in her bed and around her room. He was an extremely disturbed kid who never got the help he needed.

      The grand jury, which had access to all this information and evidence at the time and probably much more, had voted to indict the parents on indirect charges, which one of the legal experts on the CBS show said indicated a third person was the murderer. Alex Hunter, the DA at the time, decided not to indict the parents. Burke was about three months too young at time of commission to be ever charged.

      • JaneDoesWork says:

        So I watched another special that did a scientific comparison of the train track and a stun gun and the train didn’t match her wounds. How does Kolar account for that?

      • Greentea says:

        Jane, only seen the CBS show, but it seemed very compelling. If you’re talking about how the exactly same model is meant to have a third pin in the middle, Kolar explains it quite well in his book and on the show. His police (?) buddy who came up with the idea said those middle bits break off all the time, leaving just two pins. They came up with this idea years after the murder and obviously couldn’t test it on the little girl’s body but the procedure is to take real-size photos with a ruler next to the wounds so you can measure them in true perspective at any time. The two remaining pins matched exactly.
        On the show they had a willing volunteer who was stun gunned multiple times and the wounds were amorphous marks, not the precise little red dots on JonBenet.

  26. Kri says:

    Who was molesting her? Cyril Wecht has opined that she was a victim of long term molestation and that her skull was fractured after or close to her death. She was strangled first. I believe that the family was involved.

    • CItyHeat says:

      There are different opinions on that. At least 2 of the documentaries I saw came to the conclusion that she was not a victim of ongoing sexual abuse. Her pediatrician is adamant this was not the case. She had been treated several times for vaginitis likely caused by unsanitary wiping of the genital area…….a frequent diagnosis in young girls. (I recall getting it myself as a young child.). He stated categorically he never saw any sign or suggestion of sexual abuse. Again, different opinions exist.

    • Greentea says:

      She suffered from UTI but it’s still not clear, as far as I’m aware, of whether she had been abused on an ongoing basis. Someone put a part of the broken paintbrush used to fashion the garrote into her private parts sometime during that night because they found wooden fibres inside her. Technically there was sexual abuse involved during the commission of the murder.

      • Greentea says:

        Actually, I just consulted my copy of Kolar’s Foreign Faction and apparently during her autopsy they consulted a whole range of experts from around the country and the poor little girl showed signs of (probably digital) sexual abuse in the weeks or months preceding her murder.

        Very disturbing stuff. The what amounted to cover-ups by the DAs (Alex Hunter and Mary Lacy), the power of money and influence, and the experts who challenged their superiors (like Kolar) is what’s interesting about this case. He also had a chapter on the research on sexual behavioural problems and sexually aggressive children.

  27. PoliteTeaSipper says:

    Someone in that house killed that child, and we’ll never know what actually happened unless Burke or John Ramsey decides to talk.

    Reading books on the job benet case I’m staggered at how much the parents were able to get away with and how many mistakes the police made compromising the scene. There is truly a different set of laws for the rich.

  28. Tourmaline says:

    I’ve read the book with the theory that the CBS show was based on (Foreign Faction by James Kolar) and it is compelling. And it explains a lot of the inexplicable things in terms of the behavior of the parents. The Burke interview with Dr Phil was a big mistake as it only fueled the fire instead of being a preemptive strike against the “Burke Did It” theory. But as for Burke, if he dealt the blow to her head that killed her… which is terrible indeed…he was a kid and could never be held responsible in a criminal sense.
    I guess one thing we all can agree on is that it is tragic that this happened to an innocent little girl in her own home.

    In any case I believe the way the investigation was handled/mishandled from the very start would preclude any true answers for the public. There was unbelievable discord between the Boulder prosecutors and the Boulder police, which has been covered amply in several books.

    • Mathilde says:

      I also read the book and to me it is the only truly solid hypothesis that accounts for all the details of the case and gives a plausible explanation of what really happened and why. The intruder hypotheses obscure more facts than they explain and are just too sensationalist. James Kolar’s book on the other hand rings true to me. I am fascinated by the human psychology behind the mishandling of the case, but the facts themselves seem quite clear to me.

    • Greentea says:

      I read the book and watched the show like both of you and totally agree with your comments. Kolar seems to be a cop with a lot of integrity and it’s quite clear that the Ramseys were really able to use their influence to protect their son – and themselves, because they would have been facing serious jail time.

  29. HeyThere! says:

    I grew up with this case, as I was a child in grade school when this happened. I remember going to the grocery store with my parents and seeing this little girls picture all over the magazines by the check out line.

    That being said, I have always been mildly fascinated with this poor girls case! As I am a mother now, I truly hope the parents didn’t panic and stage this death because the brother hit her. Take her to the damn hospital!! That’s what I would have done. It’s to save your child’s life!

    I do think a few people know what really happened. There is just something ‘off’ about this entire family, and case.

    No death bed confession from Patsy like they thought might happen.

    When watching the recent specials, I was shocked how much of a crap job the police did to secure the scene. You mean to tell me you all were in that house for HOURS, and the cops didn’t think to check every damn room in the mansion before asking the father to?!?! Then he found her, tampered with the death/crime scene, carried her upstairs and that’s when they realized she was in the house the entire time?? Many hours went by!

    I do think the intruder hypothesis could have happened. I mean, I know this is a sick world, but who would torture their little princess they were crazy about?! They worshiped the ground that little girl walked on. They opened their home to strangers on Christmas tours, how easy would it have been for one to hid in that massive home?? Idk.

    This poor girls crime will never be solved…that’s the worst part. RIP JR

    • JaneDoesWork says:

      Right?! And the lead detective said that she sent John Ramsey to search the house to busy him and get him away from the investigators as if he were bothering them. Then they act suspicious when he finds her… YOU LITERALLY SENT HIM TO SEARCH THE HOUSE.

  30. Veronica says:

    I’ll admit singling out any names as potentially guilty does make me uncomfortable. The case is twenty years old. The evidence is too long expired to be of any use unraveling it. It’s a shame that Jon Bonet will never have justice, but if her family has been innocent this entire time, we’ve traumatized them over and over again with this kind of media sensationalism. Which is almost worse to me than the thought of them going free if they did kill her.

  31. Velvet Elvis says:

    I’ve followed this case from the beginning and have read and watched everything I can on it. I 100% believe that Burke killed JonBenet. It’s the only theory where everything makes total sense. It also helps explains the grand jury findings that the parents put her in an unreasonable situation which posed a threat to the child, as well as the DA decision not to take it to trial. I believe this civil suit, if it actually progresses, will be the closest thing to a trial we will ever get.

    • MsGnomer says:

      What do you think about a child sex ring with multiple adults involved, including her parents and members of the community? This would explain the police investigation being flubbed, and offers a reason why the older brother had smeared poo. He was also traumatized by sexual abuse before the trauma of the murder…… Long story short, I believe the mother did it out of some sort of sick jealousy. So sorrowful. RIP JB.

  32. Shannon says:

    Whether he can win the lawsuit, I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer. But I am a human, and I thought it was a terrible thing to do to a young man living his life, minding his business. If he did do it, weird that he hasn’t had any other such violent outbursts that we’re aware of, but still – he was 9. If he didn’t do it, even worse to accuse this man who went through all this trauma as a child of killing his sister. At this point, why can’t people let it go? We’ll never know, so what’s the point in dragging someone through the mud like this?

    • Greentea says:

      I watched the CBS show and was moved by the investigators and experts on that show. Henry Lee, a forensic expert, said he wanted to get involved for JonBenet. It looks like a cruel media circus only if you don’t read into the evidence, and the evidence against Burke is compelling.

      • JaneDoesWork says:

        I watched the special and I thought the evidence was flimsy at best, hence why no charges came from it. I agree that the theory has some merit, I just don’t think its right to definitively state that Burke Ramsey killed his sister when he was 9 years old on national tv. That’s what they did and that has deprived him of due process.

      • Greentea says:

        The grand jury convened for the case actually voted to indict the parents on child abuse charges of a nature that implied there was a third party who committed the actual crime. Burke could not have been and never will be charged because he was about three months too young at the time of the crime.

        The grand jury would have had access to a lot of evidence the public still doesn’t know about today, including JonBenet and Burke’s medical records. But the DA at the time decided not to indict, and this was only revealed years afterwards, and caused outrage among some of the police who worked on the case.

  33. HK9 says:

    Burke should have never done that interview with Dr. Phil and should have stayed quiet on the whole matter. The lawsuits will simply make things worse for him.

  34. Blackbetty says:

    Burke has only himself to blame- grinning like the cheshire cat, on Dr Phil

  35. Wise1 says:

    Good, I think he should sue and I think he should win. The show absolutely portrayed him as the one that got away with it and it will follow him the rest of his life. It was irresponsible to air it – it is a theory that has ruined this young man’s life. If there were facts to support it, it would have been pursued by the authorities.

  36. Alldamnday says:

    He literally has the same hairstyle as when he was 9. Something is wrong with him, for sure.

  37. JaneDoesWork says:

    For me its really not about whether he did it or not. The theory is a good one, but its a theory. There is flimsy evidence at best. That special was a hot mess, and I don’t blame Burke for suing. When they announced who “did it” they really made it sound like fact, and you can’t just go around saying that someone killed their little sister on national television. Imagine he’s innocent? Whatever happened to due process?

  38. Dickensian says:

    I followed this case when it happened. It was clear then, and even clearer now, that somebody INSIDE THAT house killed that little girl. After seeing that entire special, I thought the evidence pointed directly at her brother. I think he killed her. The parents covered it up. They shouldn’t have.
    He was a troubled child, but nothing would have happened to him. It probably would have been ruled as an accident, but they didn’t want that.

  39. Emily C. says:

    I don’t know who did it — no one here does — but CBS’ conduct was beyond the pale. Even making the show in the first place was disgusting. Actually everything surrounding this poor girl’s death has been disgusting from the get-go. The coverage has been slobbering. “Ooh this is so horrible let’s get really really up close to it and stare at how horrible it is ooooh.”

    Has it helped shed light on child abuse? Nope. Has it helped stop people from sexualizing little girls? Oh hell no, it’s made it worse. The whole thing’s gross.

    • naomipaige says:

      I personally feel that her parents are to blame for the ‘sexualizing’ of this little girl. They dressed her up in sexy clothing and had her prance around the stage for the whole world to watch including all the sickos out there.

      I don’t believe CBS did anything wrong here.

    • Greentea says:

      Don’t doubt there’s been sensationalising of the case in the media, with salacious elements and your usual true-crime-style salacious value, but there’s also a real public interest value in this case because it’s really about how wealth and influence sways key institutions such as the office of the DA. Cops like James Kolar and Steve Thomas tried very hard to do their jobs and were roadblocked by the DA.

      Also, the parents are not free from blame as they used the media to distract from the suspicion circling on them. They did a tightly controlled press conference where Patsy was near hysterical as she told everyone to keep their babies near because there’s a monster out there, etc. I think they did a press conference even before they even agreed to formal police interviews, which they delayed for four months after the murder. Even their own best friends, the Fleets, wrote an open letter telling them to stop hiding behind their lawyers and cooperate with law enforcement. That was after they tried to throw suspicion on the Fleets.

      Dr Werner Spitz said this case was pretty much solved weeks after the murder. Higher powers didn’t want it solved. I don’t know much about John Ramsey’s background but his firm was tightly linked to Lockheed Martin, so he likely had military contacts as well.

  40. naomipaige says:

    I believe the whole family was involved with the cover up. They are/were definitely covering for someone. I hope we find out who the true killer is, but something tells me that will never happen.

    Food for thought, if she was never thrust into the spotlight, would she still be alive today????

  41. Veronica says:

    I suspect a lot of that is because people outside of psychology fields are completely ignorant of how the human brain works. The reality of how human navigates trauma has been substituted for the dramatized Hollywood version we see on television and movies. When the mind can’t interpret a traumatic event, it shuts down or buries it deeply enough that we can continue functioning externally. That’s why you have rape victims who can show up in court repeating the details of their suffering with a purely logical, detached way without melting down on the stand.

  42. jwoolman says:

    I think he was not neurotypical before his sister’s death. His reported behaviors in childhood indicate that, but do not mean he was psychopathic. His mother’s all-consuming pageant focus didn’t help and the aftermath of his sister’s death certainly didn’t help. His parents might have thought he would grow out of certain behaviors rather than realizing he needed a very different approach to learn how to cope with either congenital or acquired difficulties and that it would only get worse if ignored.

    He might not have had anything to do with his sister’s death. If he did, I doubt it was deliberate murder and the grand jury and the DA must have thought the same. Or my guess that the mother accidentally caused her death might be correct. But if Burke was involved, he might honestly not remember any of it and his parents’ version of events may have become his own memories. If he did it and knows it, then participating in the tv shows makes no sense.

    If I’m right about the mom (and I do think she wrote that peculiar ransom note, it was her style despite attempts to disguise it as well as her handwriting and it was written by a woman just from the style used based on my own experience) or if Burke accidentally did it, imagine her panic — one child dead, the other at risk of being taken away from her, their entire lives turned upside down forever. The coverup, wildly amateurish though it was, was born from that panic. And once such a coverup begins, it becomes nearly impossible to stop. Lie once and you have to keep on lying. The truth would have made all their lives so much easier.