The Boulder home where the body of six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey was found on December 26, 1996, is for sale again.
The former Ramsey family residence, on the 700 block of 15th Street in Boulder, was put up for sale in 2008, 2009 and again in 2011, when the price was set at $2.3 million. Three years later, in early 2014, the home wound up on the block again at a lower price, $1.95 million, but no transaction went through — and it was de-listed that July. It's now listed at $7 million.
Carol Schuller Milner and her husband, Timothy, who bought the house in 2004, have put it back on the market, after living there during two separate stints. We caught up with Carol in 2019, after the couple had moved back in; here's what she told us then:
"The house is not vacant," Carol says: "We actually had offers on it — decent offers. But we didn't take any of them, more out of our attachment to the house. It's our home, and we really, really love it."
Robert Schuller, whose Hour of Power program was nationally syndicated for forty years, from 1970 until his retirement in 2010. Beginning in 1981, the Hour was broadcast from the spectacular Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, which Schuller founded.
Although she spent her early years in California, Carol notes, "I moved to Colorado when I was sixteen to be on a ski team. I was a competitive ski racer."
Her skills on the slope were remarkable given that three years earlier, she'd lost one of her legs in a particularly gruesome way.
"I'm an amputee because of an accident, a motorcycle accident," she reveals. "I was thirteen years old and my parents were out of the country. I was by myself. I got seventeen pints of blood in 24 hours, and I was bleeding to death. My leg was just hamburger meat, and after it was amputated, I was in the hospital, in isolation, for eight months."
Years later, in the early 2000s, Carol and Tim were self-funding a ministry in Boulder that included work with students at the University of Colorado — so many that their modest home at the time seemed cramped during meetings. They needed more space, so Carol says they were interested when "some of the friends who'd bought the house from the Ramseys told us they liked what we were doing and were interested in selling it to us."
Problem was, the Milners' resources were limited. "We didn't want to be unfair to them," Carol recalls. "So we told them that what we could sell the house we were in for was basically what we could afford. And they said that would work."
When it came to touring the 15th Street home, however, Carol admits to some trepidation.
For one thing, she continues, "I was stunned at how beautiful the home was. Not the dressings, which were a bit dated and not my style. But I'm used to seeing past that stuff — and I saw that there was a lot of history before the Ramseys lived there. It was built in 1926. There was a French-café kind of garden room with lattice wallpaper covered in pink roses and pink striped awnings that came into the room, so they really obstructed the whole window. So I peaked under that window awning and there were these beautiful, original leaded windows. My husband and I had custom-designed a home in California where we put in leaded windows, so we knew what they cost. As we walked around the home, I could tell it was really finely made — a well-built house from the ’20s. And it had large rooms that would be great for meetings and enough space on the first floor that we could put a master bedroom there, since I'm disabled."
Just as important for Carol was the vibe she got from the home. "This is all speculative, but based on the feelings we got from being there, we never felt the Ramseys were involved" in JonBenét's death. "My husband is a marriage-and-family therapist, so we understand a little about dysfunctional families. And if that stuff had been going on behind the scenes, I don't think we would have felt that way in the home."
Still, Carol and Tim understood that the decision about moving into the house wouldn't only affect them, since they had four kids.
The Milner clan took up residence in the house in the middle of 2004 and quickly made it their own. But in the years that immediately followed, a big project of Carol's was greenlighted, and it required her to spend so much time in California that commuting back and forth to Colorado became impractical.
Even after settling in Cali, though, Carol says they were reluctant to give up the house in Boulder. In her words, "It was like, 'Let's try to hold on to it, because we may come back some day.' But we don't have pockets that deep. We couldn't afford to have a second home. And I knew that if I left again, it would break my mom's heart. That's when we realized that we'd better put it on the market."
Hence the aforementioned efforts to sell the home, which never came to closure. Yet coming back to Colorado was not yet an option.
In early 2014, Carol's mother died, with her father following a little over a year later. A few weeks later, Carol remembers saying to Tim, "'Let's get back to Boulder.' We didn't really have any projects I couldn't fly home for."
Most of the kids are grown up now, but Carol and Tim have a twelve-year-old for whom the house on 15th Street is home. "He's a Coloradan," she says. "We live in the house full-time now, Christmas lights and all."
That's not the only holiday the Milners have marked at the house lately. This past Thanksgiving, all the kids and their significant others returned to Boulder for family time. "I just love the thing where guys like to cook now," she marvels. "Everyone was helping me in the kitchen. I was like, 'This is great.' It was the first Thanksgiving where I didn't have a ton of dishes to clean up."
Carol urges people considering buying a house with horrifying history to keep an open mind. "People either have the ability to live bigger or they don't," she maintains. "Some people let the imagery in their brain and all that stuff to just kind of control their decisions. But I don't think that's the way to live. You can't be captive to the past, and you can't let your brain think like that. You've got to tutor it and bring it under submission and bring it to something bigger than you."
At the same time, she goes on, "when you walk in, you'll either love it or you won't. It just depends on how it fits what you're looking for. But I don't believe in letting the negative stuff rule. If you're a negative person, it's like a mirror; it bounces off and magnifies. But if someone has sown a positive, faith-based type of thinking into their being, it just eventually pushes out the negativity. So I don't see why someone who has a strong personhood and is bent on good wouldn't consider the house if it has all the things they need: a good area, good schools, the functionality you want for your family."
As for her own Boulder home — the one so many people familiar with the tragedy of JonBenét can't imagine living in — Carol cherishes her time there.
"I'm someone who wakes up in the middle of the night a lot to work," she says. "With kids, that was the time when I could be quiet and connect; it was kind of a carryover from my accident, when I was awake in the hospital. I have spaces in the house where I love to go and sit at night and see the full moon and the tops of the Flatirons dusted with snow — and I see a shooting star now and then."