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Longtime suspect confesses to JonBenét Ramsey murder in letters to high school classmate


The suspect, Gary Oliva, is a convicted pedophile

Image sources: Daily Mail and CNN video screenshots

Gary Oliva, a convicted pedophile who has long been suspected of being involved in the murder of then-six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey, confessed to the murder in letters to a high school classmate, according to the Daily Mail.

Oliva is currently in prison serving a 10-year sentence for child pornography. He said in letters to Michael Vail that he accidentally killed Ramsey.

"I never loved anyone like I did JonBenét and yet I let her slip and her head bashed in half and I watched her die," Oliva wrote in one of the letters. "It was an accident. Please believe me. She was not like the other kids."

Ramsey was found dead in her Boulder, Colorado, home on Dec. 26, 1996. Police believe she was killed the night before by a blow to the head or strangulation. Nobody has ever been charged in the case, which received national attention.

Vail and Oliva's history: Vail said Oliva, a friend from high school, called him on Dec. 26, 1996 crying saying "I hurt a little girl." Vail said he could not get more information from Oliva besides where he was living at the time.

The next day, Vail said he read in the newspaper that a 6-year-old girl had been killed in Boulder, so he called the police and told them what Oliva had said, although police never followed up with him about it.

Vail said he continued to communicate with Oliva despite his criminal history because he hoped Oliva would eventually admit to killing Ramsey.

"JonBenét completely changed me and removed all evil from me," Oliva wrote to Vail in another letter. "Just one look at her beautiful face, her glowing skin, and her divine God-body, I realized I was wrong to kill other kids. Yet by accident she died and it was my fault."

Oliva claimed in his letters that he was a "serial murderer" and that he "told the detectives all the murders I can remember," although he said police were unable to prove any of them.

The letters Oliva sent to Vail have been given to Boulder police, and Vail hopes the information is enough to charge Oliva.

"I am begging Gary to do the right thing and reveal everything he knows," Vail told the Daily Mail. "He may also be able to name people he was possibly involved with when he broke into JonBenét's home. They need to face justice as well."

Oliva's criminal convictions: In addition to child pornography, Oliva has been convicted of sexually molesting a 7-year-old girl and assaulting his mother by strangling her with a telephone cord.

At the time of Ramsey's death, Oliva lived about 10 blocks away from the Ramsey family. Investigators have theorized that Oliva and several other men were involved in breaking in to the Ramsey home. Oliva was a registered sex offender at the time.

Oliva is eligible for parole in October 2020.

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