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tv   Nightline  ABC  September 14, 2016 12:37am-1:06am EDT

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this is "nightline." >> tonight, jonbenet ramsey's brother breaking his silence. >> i was scared, i think. >> speaking out to dr. phil about the night his 6-year-old sister was murdered. his family living under a cloud of suspicion but cleared prosecutors. new crime scene video and revelations from his police interrogation. 20 years later the question remains, who killed a beauty queen jon benet? full-figured fashion. christian soriano breaking the bold, featuring plus-size models in his runway show. why he says most designers aren't measuring up when it comes to clothing american women. so quells are often a little tortured.
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thank you for joining us. the murder of 6-year-old jonbenet ramsey captivated the nation and put her family under the microscope. with many speculating that her father, mother, brother, or all three, were involved in her killing. tonight her brother burke speaks after 20 years of sigh letlence that painful saga and new evidence is brought to light. here's my "nightline" coanchor juju chang. >> i remember the casket was small and her eyes were closed. i think one of her eyes was droopy or something, i thought that was weird. >> how did you feel seeing her? >> i don't think i really fully grasped, after this i won't see her again. >> reporter: burke ramsay, now 29, breaking a 20-year silence, coming out of the shadows to speak publicly for the first time about his sister jonbenet's murder in an interview with dr. phil. >> the next thing i remember, my dad came and told me, jon benet is in heaven now, and he started crying. then i started crying.
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little sister was found viciously sprang angled in the basement of their own home. the child beauty queen eternally 6 years old. whose gruesome unsolved murder became america's fixation. two competing theories lingered for years. did an intruder break in and kill? or were the ramsays themselves somehow responsible? burke, who was reportedly paid for the interview, is the only family member in the house the night of the murder who's never come forward the story. >> did you hit your sister over the head with a baseball bat or a flashlight? >> absolutely not. >> reporter: burke says he stayed in bed for hours as dozens of investigators and loved ones swarmed the house. >> critics would say you weren't curious because you already knew. he didn't have to get up and check, he knew exactly what had happened. >> i didn't know if there was some bad guy downstairs and my dad was chasing off with a
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this young man smiling? >> i don't see a smile as much as i see an uncomfortable facial expression. but i don't see that as smile, happy smile. i see that as uncomfortable guy. >> reporter: abc's chief legal analyst dan abrahams spent years covering the saga. >> burke ramsey is one of the most fought-after interviews by every news and tabloid organization out there. because back at the time people were saying, oh, maybe burke did it, or what does burqa know? >> reporter: at the time the incessant media attention smothered the family under a cloud of suspicion. then 9-year-old burke was not amused. years later, jon ramsay, jon benet and burke's father, told me they were simply trying to protect their 9-year-old from the media onslaught. >> there was one day when he and patsy managed to escape the
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there was a headline that burke -- >> "brother did it." >> and he burst into tears. what's his reaction? >> burke's a quiet, private person. we tried very hard to keep burke's life normal. and that just was like a huge interruption to that. >> reporter: the mystery began the morning after christmas 20 years ago with a horrifying ransom note left in the ramsey home demanding $118,000 in exchan for the saf return of their little girl. >> what's going on there, ma'am? >> we have a kidnapping, hurry please. >> explain to me what's going on, okay? >> we have a note left and our daughter's gone -- >> reporter: soon jon ramsay found her lifeless body in the basement, a moment he told me about in 2012. >> when i found her it was a rush of relief. then, of course, within moments i realized that she probably was dead. but she was back in my arms. >> reporter: the family home hours after the discovery
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videos seen for the first time in an investigation discovery docuseries airing this week. jon benet strangled, her skull fractured, signs of sexual abuse. at first investigators found no apparent signs of break-in and the ramsey family came under the investigative microscope. burke too placed under the harsh lights of the interrogation room. >> when was the last time you saw jon benet alive? >> reporter: as seen in these fewly discovered tapes of police interviews. included in an a&e documentary, the theory was that burke killed her accidentally and the family was covering up the crime. inside the ramsey home, a flashlight, heavy enough to be a murder weapon. the strangulation device made from the broken handle of patsy's paint brush. the bizarre ransom note was found to have been written on patsy's notepad.
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most important piece of evidence that led the authorities to think it had to be someone in the house. >> i.e., john and patsy? >> who else would have the time, they would say, to write that intricate note and practice it beforehand, other than someone trying to cover up a crime? >> reporter: the police play hardball, bluffing about the evidence they have. >> we have trace evidence that appears to link you to the death of jon benet. what would y t >> reporter: but patsy never wavered, always adamant about their innocence. >> go back to the damn drawing board. i didn't do it. john ramsey didn't do it. we don't have a clue of anybody who did it. >> reporter: house the ramsey home a constant crush of cameras. >> looking back on it, it looks like madness. but at the time we were so crushed by the loss of our child that it didn't matter. >> reporter: john and patsy
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crime but were nonetheless skewered in the court of public opinion. >> this is the first time that you've sat for an extended interview -- >> reporter: they eventually tried to set the record straight with barbara walters. >> mr. ramsey, did you kill jon benet? >> no, i did not. >> mrs. ramsey, did you kill your daughter? >> no, i did not kill my daughter. >> reporter: but if not the ramseys, then who did it? >> jon benet was a pedophile's dream come true. >> reporter: lou smit, the detective bug boulder attorney general's office, believed a sexual predator killed jon benet. >> i believe he brought her into the deepest part of that basement and did very brutal things to her. >> reporter: smit uncovered evidence that had reportedly been overlooked by the boulder police. a broken window where the killer could have entered. a footprint. marks on jon benet indicative of a stun gun. >> that was a little parade -- >> reporter: when i spoke to
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lingering sense of regret. child beauty pageants made him uncomfortable and he told me if he had another chance, he wouldn't let jon benet compete publicly. >> were you naive about letting her compete in pageants? >> yeah, probably. yeah. >> but your lesson was, what if we inadvertently exposed her to the killer? >> obviously you don't want to keep them locked in the house, but it's just an awareness. not everyone around you is a >> reporter: a re-examination of the dna evidence using new technology found an unidentified male's dna on jon benet's underpants. essentially clearing the ramsey family. >> this is the only case where i think i have fundamentally turned as much as i have, thinking, probably. to, no way. over the course of an intense investigation. >> reporter: the new district
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extraordinary step of formally exonerating the ramseys. but vindication didn't come soon enough for the ramseys. patsy died from ovarian cancer in 2006. today, john is remarried and lives a quiet life in michigan. >> i struggled a lot with forgiveness and what that meant. the first phase was, i can't forgive this creature. let me get my hands on him, we bont ne won't need a trial. >> no one would blame you for being angry and bitter. >> i was for a but you can't stay there. because it's damaging to you as a person. it's a gift you give yourself to let it go. >> reporter: as for burke, he's now a software engineer and once again back in the headlines. it's sort of surprising burke gave up his anonymity. >> i think in retrospect it was probably a mistake. i don't think he came across that well. even though he's totally innocent. >> reporter: and yet 20 years later, jon benet's case still an
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the boulder police chief releasing this video statement -- >> we remain focused on this investigation and finding justice for jon benet. >> reporter: her murder remains america's great whodunit mystery still haunting the public imagination. >> the notion that these rich parents might have killed their child was an amazing question/soap opera/mystery. >> and it was a true unsolved mystery. to this day. >> >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm juju chang in new york. >> our thanks to juju for that report. up next, a ground-breaking designer bringing curvy to the catwalk. if you thought the last bondage theme thriller was too lighthearted, don't worry, the new one is "50 shades darker." it was huge for everybody. she just started to decline rapidly.
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they're called plus-size models yet over half american women are looking to them for what to wear. maybe they should be called average-size new york's fashion week, one designer is taking diversity to new proportions. >> reporter: he's a bona fide star in the nas world. christian soriano has dressed everyone from michelle obama at the democratic national convention -- >> thank you all. >> reporter: to celebrities like christina hendricks and jennifer lopez. but at fashion week here in new york, he's the talk of the town for charting a new course down
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daring to break the size 2 mold. casually casting five full-figured models for his runway show this weekend. no fanfare, just fashion. >> mom is a size 16, my sister is a size 0. in my house it was never different to have different women around. same with my office. i can't imagine being a designer saying, the girls i work with every day couldn't find something to wear, that's very strange. >> reporter: we went behind the scenes as he prepa ground-breaking show. in his showroom the team is putting the final touches on the collection. >> it is about 52. look, we usually have three girls on the runway at a time so it still seems like a lot of looks. then the show is literally eight minutes long, it's crazy. it's 10 minutes for the show but the looks and the world of this lasts forever. >> reporter: at the casting call last week, there were models of every shape and size. >> we saw like 450 girls.
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35. so 35, took 40 girls total for 52 looks. >> reporter: sabina carson was one of them. >> as a model, every little opportunity that i get is like an increment of the industry that is changing and just like walking for christian is like -- i mean, it's something you want to do. >> reporter: precious lee also made the cut. backstage they are all excited before the show. >> most of america is a size 14. woman. and it's really important to display that and we should be represented. >> reporter: full-figured models like lee and karlsson are commanding more of the spotlight. plus-sized model ashley graham featured on the cover of the "sports illustrated" swimsuit issue. >> i am so -- i'm shaking, i'm so honored. >> reporter: most top designers still don't make clothes for larger women. stopping their sizes at 12. even though most american women
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>> it's totally ingrained in our culture to dress tall, skinny women. we present this woman, this glamazon, who's 7 feet tall, as being the fashion ideal. well, she's unrealistic. >> reporter: tim gunn, fashion industry icon, has had enough. >> designers maintain women larger than a size 12 can be more challenging to dress. i think it's a lot of poppycock. >> reporter: it can be hard for larger women to find designer clothes. just ask actress and comedienne she tweeted that no designers would help her with a dress for the "ghostbusters" premiere until christian soriano came to her rescue. >> why did you step in to support her if. >> i'm a fan of her, i love her, i wanted to give her a great moment. i think it's way more exciting dressing people like her that are kind of interesting and different, than dressing like a fashion "it" girl. >> reporter: soriano got his first break when at age 22 --
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runway." >> reporter: became the youngest winner of "project runway." that was just the beginning. eight years later, he's an established designer, selling red carpet-ready dresses for thousands of dollars. >> so we're making a really, really beautiful dress for the emmys in this. >> reporter: but it's more than haute couture. he also partners with mass market retailers like payless. >> wear a $1,000 dress with a $20 shoe, i love that idea. >> reporter: and lane bryant, which clothing. why are you so inclusive? why is that so important to you? >> i think you have to celebrate as many people as you can. you never know who your customer's going to be. you never know who's spending the money on the clothes. >> reporter: sales of apparel size 14 or higher rose 17% in 2017 to $20.4 billion. but many retailers don't carry larger sizes. >> i'm willing to even forgive the designers.
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the retailers have such power. they can say to designers, you will do this, you will execute this task, and you will do it well. get on board, people. >> reporter: christian soriano is definitely on board. his message of inclusiveness shining through. >> god, i'm so excited. it's so nice to be able to be in fashion week and have it be a show that's diverse with all sorts of different sizes, all sorts of different girls. yeah, i'm honored and thrilled. >> reporter: for heat li mara schiavocampo in new york. stay right there. the new "50 shades darker" trailer is out. and fans are showering it with praise. hold onto your for. endless shrimp is back at red lobster. that means you get to try as much as you want...
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finally tonight, the latest installment in the "fifty shades of grey" blockbuster series is whipping fans into a frenzy.
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this time it's darker. >> this time, no rules. no punishments. and no more secrets. >> the trailer for the highly anticipated sequel dropping today. but despite "fifty shades of grey's" blockbuster success in 2015, the first film ron five razzies. still, loyal fans of the series already crazy in love with the sneak peek tweeting their excitement. you're lying to yourself if you think "fifty shades darker" doesn't look good. the sexy thriller hits the screen just in time for valentine's day. it was famed moviemaker alfred hitchcock who said, a good film is when the price of the dinner, the theater admission, and the babysit wear worth it. thank you for watching abc news. join us for go"good morning america" tomorrow. as always we're online at abcnews.com and our "nightline" facebook page.
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