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NY Post
New York Post
1 Jul 2023

NextImg:Two key details could tie convicted pedophile to JonBenét Ramsey killing: report

It’s all in the knots.

A Colorado man is convinced the still unsolved 1996 murder of child beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey was committed by a former classmate who was obsessed with knots and art supplies, according to a report.

JonBenét was six years old when she was reported missing by her mother, Patsy Ramsey, from the family’s home in Boulder on the morning of Dec. 26, 1996 — and found hours later, strangled and with a blow to the head, in the basement of the family’s home.

A knotted white rope and a broken paintbrush were found at the scene.

Michael Vail, who went to high school with now convicted pedophile Gary Oliva, believes the knot and the paintbrush point to Oliva as the killer.

“I said to myself, ‘Holy crap — that’s a paintbrush and there’s a knot on the f–king string,'” Vail told The US Sun.

Oliva, once considered a suspect in the case, allegedly confessed to the crime in a series of letters to Vail, and had a fixation with knots and nooses that would appear in his artwork even in high school, Vail told the outlet.

Six-year-old pageant queen JonBenét Ramsey was found murdered in her Colorado home in 1996.
ZUMA Press

“When we were at school, Gary used to creep into homes, buildings, and classrooms and steal art supplies … paintbrushes, glue, paint, things like that,” Vail claimed.

The child was strangled with a rope affixed by a knot to a broken paintbrush handle, according to her autopsy report, published by the Denver Post.

The paintbrush handle is believed to have come from the art collection of Patsy Ramsey, the victim’s mother.

Oliva often visited a church close to the Ramsey home, CBS News reported, and Vail believes he broke into their home more than once.

Gary Oliva, a longtime suspect with ties to the murder of JonBenét Ramsey.
Gary Oliva has been a longtime suspect in the murder of JonBenét Ramsey.
Colorado DOC

Days after the little girl was found beaten, strangled and potentially sexually assaulted, Vail says he received a call from his old classmate.

“He kept moaning, ‘I hurt a little girl. I hurt a little girl,’” Vail told In Touch magazine in 2018.

Authorities initially considered the girl’s parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, as suspects in her death.

They were not officially cleared as suspects until 2008, after DNA from an unknown person was discovered on the girl’s pajamas.

John and Patsy Ramsey hold a poster offering a reward for information on the murder of their six-year-old daughter.
John and Patsy Ramsey, parents of slain six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey, were officially cleared as suspects in 2008.
Denver Post via Getty Images

Oliva is currently serving a 10-year sentence for child pornography.

DNA evidence has failed to link him to the murder and in the past he has denied hurting or killing Ramsey, according to reports.

Meanwhile, Oliva had confessed to killing the girl in letters to Vail for years.

The letters were obtained by The Daily Mail in 2019.

A Boulder police officer sits in a patrol car outside of the Ramsey home.
There have been no charges in the murder case of JonBenét Ramsey, who was found dead in her Colorado home.

Oliva could not be reached for comment.

“I didn’t want to be involved with this sh-t but Gary pulled me in,” Vail said.

“It’s been a really stressful part of my life and it’s really affected me.”

The Boulder Police Department has said little about Oliva beyond a statement in 2019 and did not immediately respond Saturday to a message seeking comment.

“The Boulder Police Department is aware of Gary Oliva and has investigated his potential involvement in this case, including several previous confessions,” the department said in the 2019 statement, according to reports.

“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.”