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Convicted Pedophile Allegedly Confesses To JonBenét Ramsey's Murder, But Police Appear Unconvinced
“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," Gary Oliva wrote in a prison letter, but authorities have been aware of him for years.
An imprisoned pedophile allegedly confessed in a letter that he killed JonBenét Ramsey but police in Colorado don't appear to be giving that claim much weight.
Gary Oliva, who is currently serving a decade behind bars in Colorado for two counts of sexual exploitation of a child, allegedly sent letters from prison to a high school friend detailing how he killed the 6-year-old child beauty pageant star, who was found strangled to death in her family's Boulder home in 1996.
“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. It was an accident. Please believe me. She was not like the other kids,” reads one excerpt published by British tabloid The Daily Mail.
Oliva, 54, has been looked at as a possible suspect Ramsey's murder before. During a 2000 arrest, law enforcement found him carrying a photo of the slain child in addition to a poem he wrote entitled "Ode to JonBenet," according to the Boulder publication Daily Camera. He was also carrying a stun gun.
Boulder Police referenced Oliva’s previous ties to the case, and earlier confessions, in their reaction to the newly published letters.
“The Boulder Police Department is aware of Gary Oliva and has investigated his potential involvement in this case, including several previous confessions,” police wrote on Thursday. “The department routinely receives information on this investigation. Information provided to the police department is reviewed along with the many tips and theories we receive. There are no new updates in this investigation and the department will not comment further."
Before Ramsey was found dead the day after Christmas in 1996, a lengthy hand-written was found in the home claiming that she had been kidnapped and demanding $118,000 in ransom. Her body was found in the house's basement eight hours later. The murder of the 6-year-old, who won several pageant titles including America's Royale Miss and Little Miss Colorado, became a national story and the subject of frequent speculative theories.
Her family was previously eyed in the case, and a grand jury even voted to indict the parents in 1999, CNN reported in 2013 after previously sealed court documents were made public. However, the district attorney decided not to go ahead with charges against John and Patsy Ramsey, citing a lack of evidence. Patsy Ramsey eventually died of cancer in 2006.
In 2008, Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy, who used to run the county's sexual assault unit, cleared the family in a letter after examining DNA evidence. However, Stan Garnett, her successor as DA, said in 2016 that the letter is not binding. The case is still open.
Throughout the history of the investigation, police have dealt with false confessions. John Mark Karr was arrested in 2006 after confessing to killing Ramsey, but DNA evidence failed to link him to the murder.
After Oliva was arrested on child pornography charges in 2016, Boulder Police were circumspect about his alleged connection to Ramsey.
“Over the history of this case, there have been a variety of people we have looked at for potential connections. Mr. Oliva is one of those people,” they said, according to a 2016 Daily Camera report. “But we’re currently not comfortable ruling anybody out as a suspect, or ruling anybody in as a suspect in the Ramsey case.”
[Photo: Boulder Police Department]