Channel 5 death ruled a suicide |

Channel 5 death ruled a suicide

Geraldine Haldner

Holley, a 23-year-old Avon man who had worked for Vail Valley Community TV Channel 5 for the past two years, was found dead of a gunshot wound to the right temple Dec. 29.

Avon police officers were called to the television station’s Avon studio Sunday afternoon by a coworker, who had found Holley’s body by the studio’s door. A gun was found lying at his feet, according to Avon Police Detective Mike Leake.

Eagle County Deputy Coroner Bruce Campbell said Friday the findings of the autopsy show the cause of death was suicide.

“There was evidence of a close contact wound,” Campbell said.

Leake said it appears Holley specifically purchased a gun to kill himself, but that the gun has not been traced to a specific store. “There was nothing illegal about the purchase of the gun,” he said Friday.

Contrary to other reports, Leake said no suicide note was found at the scene. However, some writings discovered among Holley’s belongings included suicidal references.

Holley’s father, Jim Holley, said Friday that his son’s body has been cremated and a memorial service for the family will be held for in Holley’s hometown of Greenwich, Conn. within the next 10 days.

He said he has suggested to local government officials – whose meetings Holley taped for Channel 5 – that a fund be established to pay for a stone bench or “some other physical object to remember Oliver by in Vail.”

Suzanne Silverthorn, public information officer for the town of Vail, said Friday that several local entities have expressed an interest in contributing to a memorial for Holley.

“The town of Vail definitely wants to do something and ECO (Eagle County Transit Authority) has said they want to contribute,” she said, adding that she is working with station officials to approach other entities for contributions.

Brian Hall, Director of the Board of Trustees for Channel 5, said Friday that his crew took time Thursday to come together and talk about Holley’s death and share memories from Holley’s time at the television station.

“He was just a wonderful kid and a wonderful presence at this station,” said Hall, who founded Channel 5 in 1982 and remembered how quickly he connected with the community just by lugging a camera to council meetings.

“He was everywhere and everybody knew him,” he said of Holley.

Channel 5, Hall said, “is trying to organize some sort of a get-together by the end of next week.”

More information, Hall said, will be made public just as soon as a place and time for a memorial service has been decided on.

Geraldine Haldner covers Vail, Minturn and Red Cliff. She can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 602, or at

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