An enduring mystery reaches its 20-year anniversary

By Jeff Truesdell
August 10, 2016 08:00 AM

Almost 20 years after the 1996 murder of 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey in Boulder, Colorado – her killer is still free. Subscribe now for an inside look into the case that continues to haunt the nation, only in PEOPLE.

Twenty years ago, a 911 call to the emergency dispatch center in Boulder, Colorado, launched a mystery that continues to perplex, confound and fascinate: What happened to JonBenét Ramsey?

“We have a kidnapping,” her frantic mother, Patsy Ramsey, said over the phone, just before 6 a.m. on Dec. 26, 1996. “There’s a note left and our daughter’s gone. She’s 6 years old. She’s blonde. She’s 6 years old.”

In this week’s issue, PEOPLE reviews the evidence, the suspects and the questions that endure nearly two decades after JonBenét’s beaten and strangled body was found later that morning in the basement of the family’s Tudor brick mansion.

To read more about the latest in the JonBenét investigation, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday.

More than 140 people have been investigated as suspects, including John and Patsy Ramsey, JonBenét’s parents. But despite more than 1,400 pieces of evidence and more than 50,000 pages of investigative documents, the answer to JonBenét’s death remains elusive.

Patsy Ramsey died in 2006, leaving John – since remarried – and JonBenét’s three-years-older brother, Burke, alone to confront the ongoing speculation.

WATCH: 5 Clues That Could Reveal What Really Happened To JonBenét Ramsey

Burke, now 29, is returning to the spotlight by speaking out for the first time, in a three-part interview for Dr. Phil, which debuts Sept. 12. CBS also will launch a new series focusing on the case this fall.

For investigators, the attention heaped on the anniversary only highlights the work still ahead.

“Our goal,” Boulder police spokeswoman Shannon Cordingly tells PEOPLE, “continues to be an arrest.”

Reporting by VICKIE BANE

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