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Arrest recalls Ramseys' fight to prove innocence

'We always knew this day would come,' says relative
John and Patsy Ramsey made an impassioned plea on television in 1997 for information.



Crime, Law and Justice
John and Patsy Ramsey
JonBenet Ramsey

(CNN) -- A decade after John and Patsy Ramsey began a grueling battle to prove their innocence in the death of their daughter JonBenet, a relative said Thursday that family members "were just waiting for this day," when an arrest would be made.

The arrest of John Mark Karr and his stunning confession pushed the family under the media microscope again, and fueled speculation on the Ramseys' possible vindication.

Patsy Ramsey's sister Pamela Paugh told CNN on Thursday that she wasn't certain there was any need for vindication of the Ramseys because they were "never guilty of anything" and that those "who knew them, who have stood by them, knew the truth." (Watch JonBenet's aunt take tabloids to task for their coverage -- 5:52)

"We were just waiting for this day -- for this to come to light -- and we always knew that this day would come," she said.

In a statement released Wednesday, John Ramsey said his wife -- who died of cancer in June -- "would no doubt have been as pleased as I am with today's development almost 10 years after our daughter's murder."

Almost from the start of the investigation into the December 1996 killing, Boulder, Colorado, police suspected the Ramseys of involvement in their 6-year-old daughter's brutal beating and strangulation.

The Ramseys repeatedly declared their innocence, voluntarily underwent a private lie detector test and defended themselves against published accusations with lawsuits.

Before she died, Patsy Ramsey was aware that authorities were investigating a potential suspect in her daughter's death, according to her husband.

"The investigation of the individual arrested today in connection with JonBenet's death was discussed with Patsy and me by the Boulder district attorney's office prior to Patsy's death in June," said John Ramsey in his statement.

In an interview with KUSA-TV, he said his wife knew police "were working very diligently on it ... and that they had a suspect and that they were in the process of locating him."

Weeks after JonBenet's body was found in the basement of her Boulder home on December 26, 1996, police Chief Mark Beckner said her parents were "under an umbrella of suspicion," although he was "not ready to name a suspect."

On the day JonBenet's body was found, Patsy Ramsey told police she found a three-page ransom letter on a staircase in their home demanding $118,000 for her daughter's safe return. Autopsy results showed JonBenet had received a massive blow to the head and was strangled with a garrote made from a cord and a paint brush.

The Ramseys maintained that JonBenet was killed by an intruder.

Eventually, the Ramseys underwent a private lie-detector test that administrators said showed they weren't involved in the killing. A grand jury in the case failed to indict them, citing a lack of sufficient evidence.

In 2000, a book written by former Boulder police Det. Steve Thomas, accused the Ramseys of involvement in their child's murder and a year later they sued -- eventually settling out of court.

By 2003, Boulder police said its investigation was over and a judge ruled in a civil case that an intruder most likely killed JonBenet. The prosecutor agreed, officially removing the couple from authorities' suspicions.

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