December 31, 1999 12:00 PM

The crime itself was shocking. Three years ago this month the body of 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey, bludgeoned and strangled, was discovered in the basement of her family’s Boulder, Colo., home. But after a 36-month, $2 million investigation into the death, one truth has proved almost as horrifying: Someone may be getting away with murder. On Oct. 13, a Boulder County grand jury was disbanded after 13 months, with more than 122 suspects cleared but no killer indicted. District Attorney Alex Hunter said that they did not have “sufficient evidence to warrant the filing of charges,” even as he pointedly noted that JonBenét’s parents, Patsy, 42, a former Miss West Virginia, and John, 56, a high-tech millionaire, were still suspects. The couple, who have moved to Atlanta, maintain that an intruder is guilty; they are working on a book, due in March, about the murder. “The time is appropriate,” the Ramseys said last month, “to recount our experiences in this tragedy.” Still, the case remains an open wound for Boulder—and beyond. Gov. Bill Owens voiced the nation’s frustration over the investigation when he challenged the Ramseys to “work with us to find the killers in this case, no matter where that trail may lead.” As the investigation continues, so too does the national obsession with the former Little Miss Colorado. “The story has a little bit of everything,” says Dan Abrams, an NBC correspondent who has covered the case for more than two years. “It has mystery and intrigue. It has a beautiful little girl who many, at this point, feel they have gotten to know, and it has the possibility of parental involvement in her death.” Authorities say they are making headway. “To the killers of JonBenét Ramsey,” Gov. Owens said on Oct. 27, “each day brings us closer to the day when you will reap what you have sown.” And when JonBenét might finally rest in peace.

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