JonBenet Ramsey, Madeleine McCann, Azaria Chamberlain | Parents Under Suspicion

(JonBenet Ramsey, Madeleine McCann, Lindy & Azaria Chamberlain. Picture credits from left to right: nypost / mirror / womensagenda)

There are a few true crime cases that tend to haunt all of us at some time or another and this could be due to the horrific details of the case or for the simple fact that it may be (currently) unsolved. In the collage above, I'm sure you will recognise these little faces, faces that have stared out of many a magazine, newspaper, news report or the front cover of a book on a shelf at Waterstones. These three angels, JonBenet Ramsey, Madeleine McCann and Azaria Chamberlain each have a different story to tell and from different parts of the world in different circumstances. What led me to put this particular post together was the similarities in which their parents were thrust into the spotlight for very negative reasons. Each of these three cases are always bound to strike up a debate and a possible argument as to who was really responsible, but I want to talk a little bit about each of these cases (just a reminder that some of the details shared will be disturbing but as always, I will try and be as sensitive as I can be when sharing the details), so I hope you will join me in this post and share your thoughts too. 

(From top right: The Chamberlains, The McCanns & bottom picture, The Ramseys. Photo credits: / thesun / nbcnews)

JonBenet Ramsey

I was reading a book recently about the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation. I've lost count of exactly how many books I've read about the case, but I heard that there are actually 17 books in total (so far) that have been written about her murder. Various documentaries over the years have been made about her death and the mysteries and theories surrounding it. So you can imagine the various 'experts' who each have their own ideas and thoughts as to who is responsible for the horrific murder of the little 6 year old beauty queen. 

I've never written about the JonBenet Ramsey case before (despite requests) because it's a real rollercoaster of different opinions and nobody can be 100% sure on what the truth actually is. The book that I read recently was JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation by Steve Thomas and Donald A. Davis and this is now considered to be an 'older book' despite some people claiming it to be the most compelling book on the case. The book was co written by a former detective of Boulder police in Colorado, Steve Thomas and basically points the finger at Patsy and John (JonBenet's parents). The book talks about the investigation, the failings and the evidence presented as well as information not heard in public before but the Ramsey family ended up taking the writers of this book to court and a settlement was made so that kind of puts it's relevance away to the side for me. 

It was actually after this book was published that Patsy and John Ramsey were vindicated and together with their son, Burke, completely cleared of any involvement in JonBenet's death. Sadly, Patsy wasn't able to see this day due to her untimely death from cancer. It didn't stop the 'experts' with a drive to solve the case (and make a big name for themselves in the process) putting together a TV series where the details of JonBenet's death was put under the microscope. The team of investigators came to the conclusion that it was Burke (her brother) who had murdered her and their parents had covered it up.

As you can imagine, this did not go down well with the Ramsey family and they successfully sued the makers of the series along with the investigators and not a thing was said about it again. In this case, the accusations fly about non-stop with fingers pointing everywhere. The case remains open to this day and is considered a cold case. Will it ever be solved or has the truth really died with Patsy? 

(The Ramsey family. John, Patsy, JonBenet & Burke. Photo credit: hollywoodreporter)

All we know is, is the Ramsey's lived a comfortable lifestyle, John Ramsey was a successful businessman and Patsy was a former beauty queen. They had two beautiful children together (John had 2 grown up children from his first marriage but they didn't live with him) and Patsy was determined that her beautiful, little daughter, JonBenet (6) was going to carry on her family tradition of participating in beauty pageants. Patsy was every inch the 'showbiz' mother type, JonBenet was styled to perfection and thousands of pounds were spent on her outfits, makeup and hairstyles. JonBenet was coached by her mother on how to perform and behave whilst participating in beauty pageants and although some people thought that the little girl looked cute and like a little glamorous doll, other people were completely horrified by it. A lot of us girls at a young age love to play dress up and put makeup on but with JonBenet, there was something disturbing about a young child dressing and acting like a grown woman. 

Although Patsy tried to paint the perfect image of the perfect family, all was not as it seemed in the Ramsey household. For whilst they impressed their friends with dinner parties and their beautiful decor at home, JonBenet was going through some strange behaviours such as wetting and soiling her bedsheets, she would also soil her clothes and not wipe herself properly (sorry for the graphic details), something was clearly wrong here. Lots of kids wet the bed and have accidents but with JonBenet, it was a regular thing and it drove Patsy crazy. There had been alleged incidents in the past between Burke and JonBenet too, they fought quite a lot and Burke once hit JonBenet over the face with a golf club and she had to be taken to the hospital. If JonBenet ever fell and accidentally scratched her face, Patsy would freak out because her face had to be 100% perfect for the pageant shows.

On the morning of the 26th of December 1996, Patsy had discovered that JonBenet was not in her bedroom. As she went to look for her daughter she found what looked like a handwritten note on the stairs, it contained the following text (please note that the original letter had a few spelling mistakes): 

Mr Ramsey, 

Listen carefully! We are a group of individuals that represent a small foreign fraction. We do respect your business but not the country that it serves. At this time we have your daughter in our possession. She is safe and unharmed and if you want her to see 1997, you must follow our instructions to the letter. 

You will withdraw $118,000,00 from your account. $100,000 will be in $100 bills and the remaining $18,000 in $20 bills. Make sure that you bring an adequate size attache to the bank. When you get home you will put the money in a brown paper bag. I will call you between 8 and 10 am tomorrow to instruct you on delivery . The delivery will be exhausting so I advise you to be rested . If we monitor you getting the money early, we might call you early to arrange an earlier delivery of money and hence an earlier pick-up of your daughter. 

Any deviation of my instructions will result in the immediate execution of your daughter. You will also be denied her remains for proper burial. The two gentlemen watching over your daughter do not particularly like you so I advise you not to provoke them. Speaking to anyone about your situation, such as police, F.B.I, etc will result in your daughter being beheaded. If we catch you talking to a stray dog, she dies. You will be scanned for electronic devices and if any are found, she dies. You can try to deceive us but be warned that we are familiar with law enforcement countermeasures and tactics. You stand a 99% chance of killing your daughter if you try to outsmart us. Follow our instructions and you stand a 100% chance of getting her back. 

You and your family are under constant scrutiny as well as the authorities. Don't try to grow a brain John. You are not the only fat cat around so don't think that killing will be difficult. Don't underestimate us John. Use that good southern common sense of yours. It is up to you now John!



(The Ramsey's former home. Photo credit: intouchweekly)

The only people that were in the house at the time along with Patsy, was John and nine year old Burke. The strange thing about the letter was that it detailed the exact amount of bonus that John was due to receive, how did these 'kidnappers' know that? The house had been searched but no trace of JonBenet was found. The cops were going on the assumption that JonBenet had indeed been kidnapped and John was prepared to pay the money stated in the ransom letter. On a second search of the house, hours later, John ended up finding JonBenet's, sadly deceased body, she'd been in the house the whole time in one of the rooms in the basement. 

For the forensic team the situation had an added nightmare because everyone thought that JonBenet had been kidnapped initially so no care was taken to preserve anything so there was fingerprints, footprints and other people's DNA everywhere. 

When John found his daughter's body, he was said to have gone into shock. JonBenet had been clearly strangled as there was a piece of nylon cord around her neck, her mouth had been duct taped closed, she'd been partially covered with a sheet and there was cord around her wrists too. John picked his daughter up and took her upstairs in a moment of sheer devastation, the crime scene had been disturbed and contaminated. 

JonBenet's autopsy revealed that her death had been the result of strangulation and blunt force trauma as if someone had hit her with a blunt object. There's been been many theories over the years that she'd been hit over the head with a torch. They couldn't rule out sexual assault even though they couldn't find any semen on or inside of the body or the surrounding area where she had been originally found. They did say that she had some sort of vaginal injury and irritation as if someone had wiped her private area with a cloth in a rough fashion. The killer had made a garrotte using the cord with a paint brush handle to strangle JonBenet. It was truly disturbing. 

As I previously mentioned, there was a TV series where a group of investigators had turned their attention to Burke and tried to paint him as the killer. This was because they'd arrived at this idea sue to the fact that JonBenet had pineapple in her stomach but Patsy and John claimed that she didn't have any pineapple in the hours before she was reported missing. However, there was a bowl in the kitchen that contained pineapple and Burke's fingerprints were on it. In that particular TV series they had a theory that Burke had been eating pineapple and that JonBenet had grabbed some of the fruit out of his bowl and he chased after her. In their idea, Burke grabbed a torch and hit his sister over the head with it to which she collapsed and sadly passed away with Patsy and John working together to set the scene and help cover up for Burke. All of this was denied by the family and the series creators were sued. 

In 2003 some DNA that had been found on JonBenet's underwear was tested and forensic investigators claimed did not match anyone in the Ramsey family and they were officially eliminated from suspicion, however there are still people who feel that the DNA evidence was minute and not enough to prove someone else was there. They claim that the DNA sample could be from a factory worker who made that particular piece of clothing. 

Various known child sex offenders have been questioned, some have claimed to be involved but then been found out to just be fantasists looking for attention and just sick perverts basically. Some known paedophiles that lived near to that area have also been put on the list of possible suspects but nobody knows for sure. 

So this case remains open and the theories and discussion remain. Did the truth die with Patsy? John is in his 70s now and had remarried, Burke is all grown up and had a battle on his hands in recent years to clear his name. It's a heartbreaking case and one wonders if it will ever be solved. 

(JonBenet Ramsey. Photo credit: edition.cnn)

Madeleine McCann 

If you ever want to start up a heated argument online (I wouldn't advise) all you have to do is mention the name 'Madeleine McCann' cause unfortunately, this beautiful little girl has become somewhat a symbol of class war. Along with the JonBenet Ramsey case, this story comes with a lot of theories but with more of an intensity, more of a sheer anger towards Madeleine's parents. Back in 2007, Kate and Gerry McCann, who were medical professionals (Kate was a Doctor and Gerry was a successful and popular cardiologist) decided to take their 3 children (Madeleine was aged 3 at the time and her little brother and sister were aged just 2) to the beautiful town of Praia da Luz in Portugal for a holiday. Their friends were also going for a break and it was a chance for the adults to relax and for the kids to have some fun in the sun. 

What was supposed to be a dream holiday and a get-away-from it all sort of affair, soon turned out to be a real-life nightmare that had never left the UK's consciousness. Even I remember where I was when the news of this case first broke on morning TV. It was initially reported as a possible child abduction and there was instant sympathy and support for Kate and Gerry McCann. But as time went on and more details began to emerge, the public sympathy soon wore thin. It turned out that Kate and Gerry had a habit of leaving their 3 young children alone in their holiday home in the evenings so that they could go and have dinner and drinks with their friends. This left a bad taste in everyone's mouths because this was a foreign country that they were in, their children were far too young to be unsupervised and it all seemed so very careless on their part.

(Madeleine McCann. Photo credit: independent)

I know everyone's different but I'm of the opinion (and don't shoot the boots off of me) that kids as young as 2 and 3 have no business going on holiday to places like Portugal for a holiday. That's far too young in my book, the potential for something sinister happening is every high and your're miles and miles away from home too. In this case, Kate and Gerry had been having their cake and eating it, leaving the children on their own whilst they sipped cocktails. They would go once or twice to check if the children were ok but still, it was a huge risk for them to take. 

Well, you no doubt know the story but Madeleine 'vanished' into thin air and all hell broke loose and I'm sitting here at my laptop in 2023 and typing that she had never been found. despite the endless searches, campaigns and millions of pounds raised and spend, there is no trace of Madeleine McCann. 

Kate and Gerry have a lot of eyes on them as suspects, a lot of people believe them to be guilty or that they know something. Others believe that the couple are innocent and just made a terrible mistake. Some people believe that they should be in prison and charged with neglect. The reason I mentioned 'class' earlier is because of the way that his case has been handled. As you know, we have thousands of children missing and they have not had this level of public attention or government assistance and it's caused a bit of an uproar. Gerry and Kate are quite privileged, they're middle class and work as medical professionals so they are treated a different away as opposed to a low income couple who live on a council estate. This is the feeling of most people in the UK. 

(Kate & Gerry McCann. Photo credit: thesun)

As I'm talking about this case in this post, it has been announced that the UK government plans to spend another few hundred thousand pounds on the 'search' for Madeleine. It's well known that investigators have been going out to Portugal on a regular basis, staying in fancy hotels and getting nowhere near to an answer. Seems to be that some people are taking advantage of the situation. A reported £13 million pounds has been spent so far on this case and as I said before, this kind of attention and funding has never been given to any other missing persons case so it has people up in arms. Everyone wants Madeleine found but we want attention and help on other missing children cases too. Sadly, as more time goes on, the hopes of finding Madeleine get slimmer and slimmer. 

There have been many theories attached to the case including a Polish woman who has been going on every TV show known to man right now, claiming to be Madeleine - I'll keep you posted about that one!

A lot of things about this case do not sit right with me. The fact that Kate and Gerry would administer 'medicines' to their children to 'help them sleep', the fact that they were happy to leave their kids alone, that Kate washed Madeleine's beloved 'Cuddle Cat' cuddly toy which raised a few eyebrows. If your child had gone missing and all you had left was their favourite blanket or cuddly toy, you wouldn't wash it, would you? because their scent would still be on those items. You would keep whatever you could close to you that belonged to them. This upset people, especially Mothers who would never dream of doing that. Quite a lot of strange behaviour from the pair of them over the years and they've never been brought to task for neglecting their children. 

(The luxury apartments in Praia da Luz. Photo credit: theguardian)

There is a lot of people out there who are heavily invested in this case, just general members of the public who have twitter accounts and web pages dedicated to Madeleine and they believe Kate and Gerry to be guilty. A few years ago a lady had a Twitter account completely dedicated to the McCanns and she spent morning, noon and night tweeting about them and saying abusive things. Her Twitter account ended up on the news and in the newspapers. This woman was tracked down by a Sky News reporter and put on blast on TV. She just got out of her car and suddenly there was a TV camera in her face and a reporter asking her why she was saying horrible things about the McCanns. The whole thing was very uncomfortable and awkward and I don't know what Sky News was hoping to achieve but this woman was one of thousands who'd be vocal about the McCanns. 

The situation with this lady took even more of a dark turn because, after the humiliation of being plastered all over Sky News for everyone to see, she booked herself into a hotel and took her own life.

It was clear that this lady had some personal problems and an obsession with the case but she had a right to an opinion as everyone else did. Out of everyone she was selected to put on blast and it was felt by many that it wasn't fair. A lot of people still feel so strongly about the Madeleine McCann case over here in the UK. 

(Information poster for Madeleine McCann: Check out the official Madeleine McCann website:

Azaria Chamberlain

Now, for a different turn in this post (which is proving to be quite long....I hope you have a cup of tea), in this case which you night be scratching your head about when you see the name 'Azaria Chamberlain', let me tell you the sentence that will spark the memory for you...''A Dingo ate my baby''. It's not the nicest of things to say but whenever this particular case is mentioned, this sentence will always be mentioned. I am of course talking about the infamous story of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain and the heartbreaking disappearance of their beautiful baby girl, Azaria who was only nine weeks old. 

(Michael & Lindy Chamberlain. Photo credit:

This story was so shocking and haunting that a movie starring Meryl Street and Sam Niell was made and it was one of the most incredible performances of Meryl Streep's career. Meryl played the role of Lindy, Azaria's mother. The movie is called 'A Cry In The Dark'. In August of 1980, Lindy and her husband Michael took a camping trip with their two sons & baby daughter Azaria to the beautiful and iconic, Ayers Rock in Australia. What was supposed to be quality time with the family, ended up with Lindy and Michael frantically searching for their baby girl in the darkness. 

(Ayers Rock aka Uluru. Photo credit: wikipedia)

The family had tents which they thought were secure and there was various people camping that night so Lindy stepped away for a few seconds from the tent whilst Azaria was sleeping and in a flash, the baby had gone. It's hard to imagine how that must have felt, that heart-stopping moment but it was captured very well in the movie (A Cry In The Dark). Everyone was searching the vast area with flashlights but Azaria was gone and nobody knew where. There had been Dingos spotted around the camp previously. A Dingo is an Australian wild dog which lives around Ayers Rock and it was suspected that one of the dogs had managed to get into the tent and grab the baby. 

When Lindy tried to explain this to the cops and the media, that a Dingo had taken her baby, she was made a laughing stock and the eyes of suspicion fell on to her and Michael. They were accused of killing Azaria and all sorts of wild stories went around about them. There was even a rumour that they killed Azaria as part of a occult sacrifice. The Chamberlain's were put through hell and their names were basically mud in Australia and the story reached other parts of the world too. 

Things just got even more horrendous when Lindy was found guilty of murdering Azaria even though she was innocent. She spent three years in prison where people continued to taunt her and brand her a baby killer. Michael also spent some time behind bars as he was classed as an accessory to murder. Lindy tried to stay strong throughout the whole ordeal and was determined to not let the media or negative members of the public get to her so she put up a front, Lindy's strong demeanour was seen as cold and in the minds of some of the public, it made her appear to be cold-hearted and guilty. 

(Lindy & Azaria Chamberlain posing on Ayers Rock. Photo credit:

Lindy was going to be spending the rest of her life in prison for something she didn't do, all appeals were rejected and there was no hope. Then suddenly, in 1986, a piece of clothing that belonged to Azaria had been found near to where a group of Dingos inhabited, Lindy was released from prison and together with Michael they continued to fight and prove their innocence. 

The investigation into Azaria's disappearance & possible death, continued and finally all charges and accusations against Lindy and Michael were dropped in 1988, however, the battle wasn't over. Various inquests were held and it was finally decided that, after a thorough investigation that Azaria was most likely to have been taken by a Dingo. All of the evidence that they did have, pointed to that conclusion and Lindy was awarded compensation for being falsely accused and imprisoned. 

(Meryl Streep gave a phenomenal performance as Lindy Chamberlain in the movie 'A Cry In The Dark' which was based on the Chamberlain case. Photo credit: Amazon)

Lindy and Michael had a huge outpouring of support from the public and a lot of people were deeply sorry for judging them from the beginning. It was very much a case of trial by media and it just goes to show that sometimes the people you suspect, despite their strange or uncommon behaviour, can be innocent at times. It's scary to think that Lindy could have spend her life in prison, 3 years was bad enough and this couple were completely hated by the press and the public. If the McCann's think they have it bad, it's nothing compared to what Lindy and Michael experienced in the 1980s. 

It took a long time of fighting to clear their name but they got there in the end. Sadly, Michael passed away from leukemia in 2017. Lindy remarried in 1992 and is now 75 years old, she is seen as an inspiration to many. Interestingly, some of the evidence from that horrible night as well as some items from Lindy's prison days, has been placed as an exhibition in the National Museum of Australia. 

(Lindy Chamberlain in recent times. Photo credit: csmonitor)

Further Reading & Sources:

Jonbenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation by Steve Thomas & Don Davis

Who Killed JonBenet Ramsey? by Cyril H Wecht & Charles Bosworth Jr

Unsolved: The JonBenet Ramsey Murder: 25 Years Later by Paula Woodward

Killing JonBenet Ramsey by Dylan Howard

Killing of JonBenet Ramsey | Wikipedia

JonBenet Ramsey: Article | Daily Star

JonBenet Ramsey: Article | Fox News

JonBenet Ramsey: Article | The Independent

JonBenet Ramsey Murder Case: Article | The Denver Post

The Ramsey Family: Article | News Nation

JonBenet Ramsey: Article | Daily Mail

JonBenet Ramsey Case: Timeline | Court TV

JonBenet Ramsey: Article | Denver Gazette

JonBenet Ramsey's Brother Breaks Silence 20 Years After Her Murder

The breakthrough new DNA evidence that could find JonBenét Ramsey's killer | 60 Minutes Australia

JonBenét Ramsey's Father Speaks to Court TV

Burke Ramsey compilation of all police Interviews available of Burke when he was 9 and 11.

Revisiting JonBenet Ramsey Murder Case, and How New DNA Tech Can Help, with Her Father John Ramsey

20/20 John and Patsy Ramsey Interview with Barbara Walters (March 17, 2000) FULL EPISODE

9NEWS interviews John and Patsy Ramsey

Find Madeleine (Official Website)

Madeleine McCann: News & Updates | Daily Mail

Madeleine McCann: News & Updates | Daily Record

Madeleine McCann: News & Updates | The Independent

Madeleine McCann: News & Updates | Telegraph

Madeleine McCann: News & Updates | Metro

“I Believe I am Madeleine McCann” | Dr Phil Show

Kate McCann: I Would Never Have Taken A Risk

Searching for Madeleine: A Sky News documentary on the McCann investigation

The hunt for Madeleine McCann 15 years on

What happened to Madeleine McCann? Her parents speak and the bungled investigation | 7NEWS Spotlight

Disappearance of Madeleine McCann | Wikipedia

Death of Azaria Chamberlain | Wikipedia

Lindy Chamberlain: Article | Daily Mail

Azaria Chamberlain Inquest | National Museum of Australia

Azaria Chamberlain: Biography | Australian Dictionary of Biography

Lindy Chamberlain: Article | The Guardian

Michael Chamberlain | Wikipedia

Lindy Chamberlain - Creighton | Wikipedia

Lindy Chamberlain - Creighton | Lindy's Official Website

Lindy Chamberlain | The Forensics Library

Evil Angels by John Bryson

The Lindy Tapes: the mystery behind the famous quote: "A dingo’s got my baby" | 7NEWS Spotlight

The Baby Girl Taken by a Dingo: The tragic saga of Azaria Chamberlain | 60 Minutes Australia

Lindy Chamberlain On Forgiveness | Studio 10

A Cry In The Dark aka Evil Angels: Movie based on the Chamberlain case

RIP little angels, JonBenet, Madeleine, Azaria.

RIP Patsy & Michael. 

Three very different cases where suspicion fell automatically on to the parents. We know that Lindy and Michael Chamberlain were proven innocent after years of hell and constant accusations but what is he truth concerning the Ramseys and the McCanns, will we ever truly know?

I hope that you found this post interesting and informative, maybe it sparked up some thoughts for you? It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on each of these cases, either here in the comments section below, or feel free to email me in private ( if there's anything you would like to share or say. 

I will be taking a little break for the Easter holidays. I'll also be attending (& meeting - eeeeek!) one of Professor David Wilson's shows, who, as you know, is one of the UK's leading Criminologists so I might do a post on that too. I will be back after the short Easter break with more content, so stay tuned for that.

I hope you have a wonderful Easter (if you celebrate the holiday) or a wonderful week in general. I will be stuffing my face with Lindt and Cadbury's chocolate whilst giving thanks too of course and appreciating the true meaning of everything. 

Take care & I will see you (hopefully) on my socials x


  1. Good evening Jo Xx,

    I just read your latest true crime case. These 3 angels will never be forgotten

    I will never forget the first documentary I’ve seen about The JonBenet Ramsey case. I hope that at some point we will know the truth about the death of Jonbenet. The details about her death are so disturbing. The case is a mystery to me. I wish that the truth will emerge but I’m afraid that we will never know the murderer of JonBenet.

    The Madeleine McCann case is quite disturbing. I was obviously shocked by the parent’s lack of supervision of their children during their holidays trip. What kind of parents did that to their children ? I couldn’t agree more with you about the fact that these young children shouldn’t have gone to Portugal with their parents at their age. To me, that’s a lack of judgment by the parents. They were far too young to go on this trip. I agree that parents behaviour were strange and suspicious. The situation involving the woman who had a Twitter account is very sad too. She took her own life after what Sky News has done to her. The whole case is beyond sad. Heartbreaking. Hopefully, the truth will be known.

    The Azaria Chamberlain case is shocking. She was nine weeks old, it’s beyond sad. My thoughts are with the parents that lost their little angel but also they have fought the legal system to clear their name. I definitely must watch the movie “A Cry In The Dark”. Meryl Streep and Sam Nill are both amazing actors. I’m glad that both parents had been released from prison but it must have been a nightmare for them. It’s sad that Michael passed away from Lukemia.

    RIP JonBenet, Madeleine and Azaria Xx

    RIP to Patsy and Michael too.

    Enjoy your Easter weekend Jo. I hope that you’ll have a ton of fun. You’re gonna have yummy chocolate too. It sound delicious ! I also hope that you’ll enjoy your meeting with Professor David Wilson.

    Thank you for your masterful work Jo.

    1. Thank you so much for the comments and support x

  2. Amazing job Jo. So well written and researched. Your insight, intelligence and courage come through so well on this piece. The JBR story is one I am familiar with and it still brings me instant feelings of bad karma when I see a photo of her. God bless

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, much appreciated x