The parents of a six-year-old beauty queen found beaten and strangled in the basement of the family home were indicted by a grand jury for their alleged role in her killing, newly released court documents from 1999 have revealed.
John and Patsy Ramsey were never charged over the 1996 death of their daughter JonBenet, after the district attorney announced there was insufficient evidence to proceed and he refused to file charges.
In 2008, a new district attorney said that DNA evidence had cleared the parents, who have always protested their innocence.
The release of the court papers on the orders of a Colorado judge has put the focus back on a lurid murder mystery that shocked the nation.
Under the US legal system, evidence is often brought before a grand jury that sits in private to decide whether the case is strong enough to bring to trial.
It is unusual for a district attorney not to file charges if the jury votes for an indictment, as happened in JonBenet's case.
It was reported earlier this year that the grand jury had issued an indictment, but the documents for the first time reveal details of the allegations made against the Ramseys after 13 months of closed hearings.
The grand jurors indicted both for identical charges of child abuse resulting in death and being an accessory to a crime, including first-degree murder.
They were not directly accused of killing their daughter, but the grand jury indicted them for assisting the unidentified murderer and of delaying or preventing the arrest of that killer. The couple later divorced and Mrs Ramsey died in 2006.
Lawyers for Mr Ramsey tried to block the partial release of the documents, arguing that they should all be made public to indicate why the prosecutors did not bring charges.
At the time, district attorney Alex Hunter said: "We do not have sufficient evidence to warrant the filing of charges against anyone who has been investigated at this time."
The case had returned to the headlines in 2006 after an American teacher working in Thailand claimed that he killed JonBenet.
He was returned to the US but prosecutors established that he had invented his story.