Photographer Randall D. Simons, known for his photo shoot with JonBenet Ramsey before her death, has been arrested on charges of encouraging sex abuse. The 67-year-old photographer sold a portfolio of pictures of 6-year-old JonBenet after her tragic death in 1996, and now more than two decades later, police suspect him of looking at child pornography.
Simons was arrested in Oakridge, Oregon, over the summer, according to local outlet KOMO News. Police say Simons was "regularly accessing images of child pornography on the public wireless network of a local restaurant."
Simons accessed the illegal sites repeatedly between August of 2018 and June of 2019, before he was finally arrested in July. He has reportedly been behind bars ever since, but the court filings have just recently made headlines.
Simons has appeared in court for various pre-trial conferences already, but his official trial date began on Jan. 8, 2020. So far, no major updates from the trial have gone public.
Simons was already a notable figure in the Ramsey murder case, which has baffled the world since 1996. Simons was hired by the Ramsey family to photograph JonBenet shortly before her death, as a part of the effort to make her a pageant queen.
JonBenet was found dead in her family's Boulder, Colorado, home on Dec. 26, 1996. In January of 1997, Simons sold a portfolio of his photos of her to news outlets, according to The Associated Press. At the time, he was credited for aiding the investigation by getting this photos out there.
"He hoped the worldwide exposure would lead to the capture of JonBenet's killer, but acknowledged that controversy over the pictures could jeopardize his career," the article read.
"My career is done. I'll probably never work again," Simons added in an included quote.0comments
The murder of Ramsey is one of the most infamous cold cases in the U.S., and has featured heavily in pop culture. To this day, people gather in forums, subreddits, social media and podcasts to postulate about who might have murdered the little girl.
There are also many documentaries going over the evidence in the Ramsey story, including The Case of: JonBenet Ramsey, a 2016 docuseries by CBS and Who Killed JonBenet? a scripted film, both of which are available on Amazon Prime Video. In 2017, Netflix released Casting JonBenet, a more cerebral look at the effect the murder has had on the Boulder community.