New Light Shed on Ramsey Case

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Boulder police are discovering that when it comes to the stalled 13-month JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation, starting from scratch has its benefits. Cops had long suspected that a weighty black flashlight was used to inflict the fatal 8-in. head wound on the six-year-old beauty queen after she was garroted. The flashlight was spotted on the kitchen counter of the Ramseys’ home on the morning that JonBenet’s body was found, but then disappeared. Some investigators dismissed it as belonging to a police officer. But now, TIME has learned, the potentially vital piece of evidence has turned up. After the new police commander, Mark Beckner, ordered a full review of all case files and materials, it was discovered — where else? — right at police headquarters, in a storage area where investigators are holding a pile of other evidence. The flashlight, which doesn’t belong to a cop, was sent to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation lab for testing. Police became interested in the light because its heavy rubber coating seems consistent with an instrument that could deliver a crushing blow yet not cause bleeding. It is among a handful of pieces of physical evidence that police feel could shed major light on the murder.