Colorado authorities on Friday unsealed a grand jury indictment prepared in 1999 against the parents of slain child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, a document that was never signed by a prosecutor who decided against bringing charges.
The papers show the grand jury voted to charge John and Patricia Ramsey with child abuse resulting in death and accessory to first degree murder in the 1996 death of their daughter, a crime that has long captivated much of America.
Then-Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter declined to sign the indictment or prosecute the Ramseys, citing a lack of evidence. In 2008 another Boulder County prosecutor cleared the couple of any involvement in their daughter's murder, which remains unsolved to this day.
The four pages unsealed by Colorado authorities following a court order offered little insight into the grand jury's thinking, containing only the bare charges with no supporting facts. It was not immediately clear if more documents would be released later on Friday.
A spokeswoman for current Boulder County District Attorney Stanley Garnett declined comment on Friday, saying the prosecutor would issue a statement on Sunday in the form of a newspaper editorial.
Hunter, who retired from the office in 2000, could not be reached for comment by Reuters on Friday.
A judge on Wednesday ordered the release of the documents over the objection of Garnett's office. John Ramsey also opposed their release and said that if the proposed charges were made public they should include the entire grand jury record.
Early on the morning of December 26, 1996, Patricia Ramsey reported JonBenet missing, telling police that she had found a ransom note asking $118,000 for her daughter's safe return.
That afternoon in the basement of their home, John Ramsey discovered JonBenet's body, covered by a blanket, a cord around her neck, her wrists bound and duct tape over her mouth. An autopsy showed she had died from strangulation and a skull fracture.
The grim case touched off a media frenzy, fueled in part by controversy over JonBenet's participation in child beauty pageants.
Patricia Ramsey died of ovarian cancer in 2006, at the age of 49.