Since the death of the young pageant girl, the basement where her body was found strangled and duct-taped has been finished, the kitchen where the ransom note was found has been updated, and even the address of this 7,240-square-foot Tudor home was legally changed, yet still the current owners, Tim and Carol Milner who briefly lived in the home with their four children, have been unable to unload the home they purchased for $1.05 million in May 2004.
(Ever wonder if your house was the scene of a grisly crime? This couple found out the hard way.)
The Milners first tried selling the home in 2005 and then again for $2.68 million in July 2008, just as the market was tanking, as well as in 2009.
The current listing agent, Neil Kearney of Metro Brokers, told AOL Real Estate that home prices in the Boulder area have been very stable, even though total number of sales have been down. "The number of sales have been down, but the prices have held very well. We were down maye half a percent." He added that the home, walking distance to the University of Colorado campus, is in a very popular part of town.
Some of the previous listing agents either declined comment or didn't return calls, but See photos of homes for sale in your area and across the country on AOL Real Estate a spokesperson for Re/Max corporate in Denver told AOL Real Estate that when she worked as a reporter for a Denver TV station, and covered the grand jury proceedings for the murder, the house was a gawk fest. "I don't know how many folks drive by now, but there used to be dozens a day, some who would stop and get out to look," said Ronda Scholting.
Although Scholting was not there when the murder case was first under investigation, she said the exterior appearance of the home "looks different now than it does in the crime scene video from that time ... they planted some trees and shrubs out front."
Kearney said the home has been totally updated. The 1,500-square-foot master suite has its own level and the upgrades "combine the old craftsmanship with the new," he said.
Julie Meko of Re/Max Boulder who had the listing in 2009, told the Daily Camera at the time that she didn't think there would be a problem selling the home despite its association with the slaying. "It's a house that's had lots of loving families in it," she said.
The Milners use the home as a second home a few times a year when they come in from Southern California. Carol Milner is the daughter of "Hour of Power" televangelist Robert Schuller, and Tim Milner has worked at the Crystal Cathedral for his father-in-law. They possibly see the home as an investment -- after all, who wants to lose money on real estate?
The 7,240-square-foot home, in a prestigious neighborhood known as University Hill, would be worth a lot more if it weren't for the tarnish on its 84-year-old history. The property is "stigmatized. It's always been stigmatized," Joel Ripmaster, president of Colorado Landmark Realtors, once said. His agency had the listing when the Ramsey's first put the home on the market -- a fact that got Ripmaster booted from the juror pool after his name was pulled for the trial.
The Ramseys purchased the home, then 6,800-square-feet, in 1991 for $500,000. They unloaded it for $650,000 to an investment group named after the Ramsey home address, 755 15th St. LLC. (The home's address was changed to 749 15th St. in June 2001). The investment group's plan was to sell it for a profit with the proceeds going to the JonBenét Ramsey Childrens Foundation, a non-profit set up by her distraught parents.
Tim Milner said in a 2005 news Daily Camera report that every time a television feature or news story on the killing appears, the value of the home drops. "You guys are just creating a circus" by continuing to write about the house and its history," he said.
The Milner's lived in the home during a time period when the family opened up a Boulder church. It is said the curiosity seekers who stopped to have their pictures taken in front of the house, helped drive the family away.
Although the Ramsey's never again slept in the home after the December 26, 1996 murder, the home had been rented out to others, including from 1999 to 2001 to E.J. "Doc" Kreis, a University of Colorado's speed, strength and conditioning coach, who reportedly stayed there until he left the job and moved to California.
Once upon a time, a potential buyer put an offer in on the home in July 2006, only to have the home yanked off the market before the Milners responded, reported Florida Today. The home was removed from the market after American schoolteacher John Mark Karr confessed to the girl's murder upon his arrest in Thailand. He was found not to be the perpetrator and the case remains open.
Mike Hatter, who was living in Florida at the time and looking to relocate to Colorado where he once lived, didn't know the home's history at the time of his offer other than Ripmaster telling him it had "a history." When he found out, Hatter's response was "I don't care about the history. I'm sorry about what happened to the family, but life does go on." He went on to say, "I like the style, I like the trees, I love the yard, the gates, the walls, the two chimneys - I love the house."
Perhaps one day, some other potential buyer will view it the same way. The photos of the home, as seen here in the gallery, show a gorgeous abode. The listing details say it is a "Stunning, updated, classic ... with huge rooms, great light and an over-sized, gated lot on a fine street." It goes on to say it has a high-end kitchen, a large terrace with a view and a master suite, which encompasses the entire upper level. The 90 percent finished basement has high end finishes, a wet bar and a wine cellar. "Too many features to mention ..."
Sheree R. Curry, who has owned three homes, but as far as she knows never a stigmatized property, is a three-time award-winning journalist who has covered real estate for six years. During her 20-year career, her articles have appeared regularly in the Wall Street Journal, TV Week, and Fortune. She's been writing for AOL Real Estate since 2009 from a Minneapolis-area rental. She seeks a book publisher -- or at least a lender who'll give a reasonable mortgage rate to a self-employed mom.
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