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The brother of six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, who was murdered 20 years ago this fall and whose death remains both a mystery and media obsession, is speaking publicly for the first time.
Burke Ramsey has given a series of interviews to Dr. Phil, which the TV psychologist has promised will provide “great clarity” about the unsolved murder case.
The first interview aired on Dr. Phil’s show Monday and dealt primarily with the fact that Burke has never before addressed his sister’s death in public, a reticence that has fueled speculation about whether he is in fact the murderer. Dr. Phil asked Burke if he’d been “hiding out” for the last two decades.
“I wanted to grow up like a normal kid, which does not include going in front of TV cameras,” Burke said.
The two remaining interviews will air Tuesday, Sept. 13, and Monday, Sept. 19, and will feature interviews between nine-year-old Burke and child psychologists, recorded during the initial investigation 20 years ago. The interview tapes were thought to have been lost.
In a Monday appearance on Fox and Friends on the Fox News Channel, Dr. Phil said “it was not easy” to secure the tapes. “I worked through some lawyers and we were able to get our hands on the tapes.”
During previews of the interviews, Burke appears smiling, an affectation Dr. Phil described to Fox anchors as unusual.
“There is unusual affect when he’s talking about otherwise very deep and dark dark content,” Dr. Phil observes. “He is socially uncomfortable. He works remotely […] he’s not around people a lot.”
JonBenet was found dead in the basement of the family home roughly eight hours after she was reported missing. She had been bludgeoned on the head and strangled with a piece of cordage.
A ransom note was also found in the house, demanding $118,000 for the girl’s safe return.
Asked if he remembers waking up the morning of the murders, Burke responds, “The first thing I remember is my mom, first thing in my room, really frantic, saying, ‘Oh my gosh, oh my gosh.’ She was running around my room looking for JonBenet.”
“The next thing I remember is a police officer coming into my room and shining a flash light,” he continues.
In the interview on Fox, Dr. Phil did not discuss how much his show paid Burke for the exclusive interviews or for the tapes.
The story of JonBenet’s murder and the ensuing investigation is also the subject of numerous upcoming TV programs, including a four-hour CBS documentary, which was cut down from six hours. The first installment will air Sunday, Sept. 18.
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