Is This the Man Who Killed JonBenét? Magazine Claims that Murder "Has Been Solved"

January 03, 2018
By: Catherine Townsend
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Gary Oliva

Photo by: Boulder Police

Boulder Police

Gary Oliva

A magazine has revealed an alleged “bombshell” confession that could help solve the murder of child beauty pageant princess JonBenét Ramsey — but could it really be true?

Photo by: January 8, 2018 Star magazine cover

January 8, 2018 Star magazine cover

Star reports that convicted child molester and previous JonBenét Ramsey murder suspect Gary Oliva has penned 15 “confession letters,” and sent them, along with pictures of JonBenét nailed to a cross, to his old high school friend Michael Vail. The magazine also claims that an arrest is “imminent.”

Gary’s account of the murder is actually one of the most logical explanations I have heard in 20 plus years,” Vail told Star. But this isn’t the first time that Vail has claimed that his former friend could be involved in JonBenét’s death.

So who is Gary Oliva?

Oliva was a 32-year-old known sex offender in Boulder, Colorado, who lived just one street away from the Ramsey home at the time of JonBenét’s murder in December 1996.

He was arrested after police found a magazine cutout of JonBenét in his backpack when he was apprehended on drug charges in 2000. Though he was released, many people remained suspicious of Oliva.

They included the family’s longtime private investigator, Ollie Gray, who criticized the Boulder PD for failing to consider him as a more credible suspect.

After the arrest, Vail claimed that just six days after the murder, a distraught Oliva had called him on the phone and confessed to his longtime pal that he had “hurt a little girl. I hurt a little girl.”

In 2002, while Oliva was in Boulder jail awaiting extradition to Oregon on a parole violation, he told the Denver Post that he had kept the magazine cutting because “JonBenet’s murder touched me very deeply” and that he “felt the need to build a monument, a shrine, to remember this little girl.”

In March 2017, Vail told InTouch magazine that the knots used to fashion the garrote that strangled JonBenét were similar to those used in an incident where Oliva attempted to choke his mother with telephone cord.

JonBenét Ramsey

Photo by: Wikipedia


JonBenét Ramsey

Oliva aroused suspicion due to his apparent obsession with JonBenét. He also showed up to her memorial in 1997 reportedly wearing Hi-Tec shoes, which were the same type that left a footprint in the basement of the Ramsey family home, and sat in the front row.

He was reportedly cleared by DNA testing, but according to Vail, the testing methods were flawed.

In 2016, 9NEWS and the Boulder Daily Camera reported that Boulder police and prosecutors planned to do new DNA tests on key evidence. These plans came in the wake of a joint 9NEWS/Camera investigation that uncovered serious flaws in the interpretation of previous DNA testing on the panties and long johns that JonBenét was wearing when she was killed.

In 2016, Oliva was charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of a child for possessing child pornography. He pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of sexual exploitive material on March 9, 2017, and is currently behind bars. Oliva has consistently denied any involvement in JonBenét’s murder.

According to Vail, Oliva has maintained his disturbing fascination with JonBenét, and asked that a picture of her be sent to his cell. When Vail said that wouldn’t be allowed, Oliva replied, “I don’t see why not, it’s my freedom of religion.”

To learn more about this case, watch Investigation Discovery’s JonBenét: An American Murder Mystery on ID GO now!

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Read more: Star Magazine, January 8, 2018 issue,, Rolling Stone,