Heartbreaking Remorse: JonBenet Ramsey’s Dad Regrets Pageants, Calls ‘Toddlers And Tiaras’ Bizarre

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John RamseyWhenever I watch those horrid pageant shows like Toddlers and Tiaras, I can’t help but think of JonBenet Ramsey – the 6-year-old beauty queen who was found dead in the basement of her family’s Colorado home in December 1996 (the case remains unsolved). There’s one photo of Ramsey – a smiling blonde girl in full makeup and coiffed hair – that appeared in almost every media outlet at the time of her tragic death. To this day, it’s ingrained in my mind and like I said, it’s what I immediately think of when I watch those tiny toddlers strutting around on television.

JonBenet’s father John Ramsey told ABC News today that he’ll always remember his little girl as a tomboy who loved to hike and play with her older brother. “I see her, you know, in shorts and t-shirt and hair kind of scruffy and just kind of a kid,” he said. It’s a different image most people have of the little girl, that’s for sure, but clearly the beauty queen side – the one highlighted in the media – was just a small part of her too-short life.

It was also really surprising and fascinating to hear Ramsey’s thoughts on kiddie pageants in general. He said he has never sat down to watch Toddlers and Tiaras but that he’s caught snippets of it. And he finds it disturbing. “It’s very bizarre,” he told ABC News. “And, it certainly – Patsy [JonBenet’s mom] and JonBenet didn’t approach it that way… They just did it for fun.”

Perhaps the most most telling was when John Ramsay said he regrets letting his daughter compete in pageants. “Only because that possibly might have drawn attention to us,” he said. “I don’t know…. Advice to a parent is just recognize that regardless of where you live, there could be evil around you. Don’t be naive about it… Keep your kids protected.”

He also shared this chilling tale:

“Patsy had her sitting atop a friend’s convertible in the Christmas parade waving at the people lining the streets. Patsy’s mother later told me that a strange man approached the car during the parade and it made her uncomfortable. I think about these things now and it makes me cringe. We were so naïve. I now believe with all my heart that it’s not a good idea to put your child on public display.”

I’m hoping that the producers of Toddler and Tiaras – and those famous stage moms (and dads) – will hear what John Ramsey has to say. JonBenet Ramsey’s murder is chilling to the core and 15 years later, I think it’s fair to say that her name and photo still resonate with anyone who was old enough to follow the story at the time (I know it does for me). Of course, we can’t go ahead and blame a child pageant on her murder – it’s not that simple – but I do hope that parents everywhere will hear John Ramsey’s words loud and clear.