The Christian Broadcasting Network

The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


John Ramsey's Unshakeable Faith

By Cheryl Wilcox
The 700 Club - 700 Club Special Correspondent Scott Ross recently visited John Ramsey, author and father of slain child, Jon Benet.

Jon Benet Ramsey’s slaying remains one of the nation’s most high-profile unsolved murder cases. Today, she would be 21. Her father, John Ramsey, still waiting for her killer to be found.

John Ramsey: “It was a horrific crime. The murder of a child is just beyond any normal person’s comprehension.”

In the 15 years since Jon Benet’s brutal Murder, one media expert noted that
 ‘The still unsolved slaying of the elfin beauty queen initiated one of the
foulest, yellowest chapters in contemporary U.S. journalism.’”
A Clear Case of Media Mayhem
Howard Rosenberg
Los Angeles Times
September 28, 1998

Scott: “You were pilloried.” 
John:  “Yeah.”
Scott:”…by the press,”
John: “Yeah” 
Scott: “…by the authorities,”
John:   “Yeah.”
Scott: “… by the world.” 

John: “The police always look at the parents first. We learned that. And we accepted that. And just assumed they would complete that cycle and move on, which of course, they did not.”

“But you know, it didn’t matter really. What mattered was we lost our child. And that was the crushing blow. And the rest of it was like, ‘Whatever…’  We just accepted it. We would have given everything to have our child back.”

Jon Benet’s murder was not the only tragedy her father, John Ramsey has suffered. Over the span of fourteen years, he lost his oldest daughter, Beth who was killed in a car accident, little Jon Benet, and then his wife, Patsy, just 49, to cancer. Pasty never lived to see their family publically exonerated as suspects in Jon Benet’s slaying.

Scott: “How long did you have to live with this, as the term was coined at the time, ‘the umbrella of suspicion?’”

John: “We were officially cleared and apologized to by the district attorney in, I think, 2008. So that was 12 years.”

Mary Lacy, then Boulder’s District Attorney, made a public announcement that new DNA evidence cleared the Ramsey family as suspects in the case. The letter read in part:


John: “I didn’t view it as a, you know, ‘let’s go out and celebrate.’  It was just another step in the right direction.”

“But the interesting thing was that you know, of course the media was out to lynch us, but individual people were wonderful to us. It really opened my eyes to how compassionate people can be and how important that is.”

“We certainly saw evidence and examples of how God takes things and turns them for good. I got a letter from a lady several years ago that said, ‘I was contemplating suicide. And I decided, if you could handle your problems, I could certainly handle mine.’”

In time, John’s grief gave way to happy memories of his daughter.  

John: “I still, of course, think of Jon Benet as a sweet little six-year-old.”

John, a New York times bestselling author, has written a book , The Other Side of Suffering to encourage people broken by tragedy or injustice. He says the death of his oldest daughter, Beth, in 1992 was the beginning of his faith journey.

“First words out of my mouth as I hung up that phone that morning were, ‘There is no God.’  You know, I just screamed that. ‘There is no God.’ Because it just didn’t make sense.”

Scott: “Car accident?”

John: “Car accident. Middle of the day. Just a freak accident. She and her boyfriend were both killed.”

“I really hit rock bottom.”

“And I was, prior to that time, was a cultural Christian. I just was a Christian because I was born in a Christian home and that’s what you did on Sundays and I didn’t really get it, didn’t really understand it.”

“Some good friends came alongside me. One in particular, took me aside and said, ‘John, I’ve been praying for you. I want to spend time with you.’  He taught me how to study the Bible. So my faith had really grown.”

Scott: “What do you understand now about God and Jesus that you didn’t know back then?”

John: “Jesus is real. He’s who He said He was. I firmly believe that. I can communicate with him through prayer. He’s in our life. He’s real.”

“So when Jon Benet was murdered, I had faith. It wasn’t just a logical exercise. It had gone from my head to my heart. So I knew Jon Benet was okay and with God, and I didn’t question God, as to ‘Why did this happen?’”

John’s suffering continued.  Patsy had been healed of stage IV ovarian cancer in 1994. But, eight years later, it was back.

Scott: “2002, Patsy’s cancer returns.”

John: “She had, I think, three remissions over the next three or four years.”

“The point came where I just wanted God to take her home because she was suffering so much. It was like, ‘God, just please take her home. It’s time. It’s time to end this suffering and-and struggle.’” 

“Death became both a sorrow and a relief for me in a strange way. I mean, we knew we’d miss her terribly, but I was grateful that she was not suffering anymore.”

As a widower and single father, John was challenged by a friend to live as if his best days were ahead. He spent time in India serving local pastors.

Scott: “You joined up with YWAM, Youth With A Mission, to become a missionary to India.”

John: “It was a wonderful experience and really moved my spiritual journey along double time.”

He also fell in love with and married Jan.

John: “Jan, my wife grew up in Ethiopia as a missionary kid, and real solid believer. We’ve had a wonderful marriage. It’s been a blessing for me and helped me do all of this view that the best days of my life are still ahead of me.”

Scott: “Through all of this John, you could have come out on the other side of it an angry, bitter, resentful man. You didn't.”

John: “No. And I think there were several factors. One is we were really blessed by the compassion of our fellow man. People just reached out to us and carried our spirits and encouraged us and apologized for what was being said and done to us. It really was an uplifting experience for us.”

 Scott: “Through all this process, suffering is part of the package that Jesus says you inherit when you embrace Him.”

John : Gonna happen
Scott: Yeah

John: “I’ve learned that everybody, pretty much everybody suffers at some point in their life. Life’s not necessarily easy. And people struggle, and particularly nowadays. That was a kind of an eye-opener for me. And that it has a beginning and an end, and that’s kinda what the book was to-to encourage people about.  There is an end to suffering. It’s not forever.”

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