A narrative chronology of the OCCK investigation 1970s–present. This is a work in progress and will be... Show More
A narrative chronology of the OCCK investigation 1970s–present. This is a work in progress and will be periodically updated. Its purpose is not to reach conclusions, examine theories or "solve" the murders but to present a comprehensive (not exhaustive) sequential account of case history. Timeline displays best full-screen (keystroke F11). Legend at bottom right. Where precise dates are not known they are marked "Approx." or given plausible date range. • Sources: Appelman, J. Reuben, "The Kill Jar," Gallery Books (2018); Broad, Cathy King, "What the Hell is the Deal with the OCCK Investigation?" https://catherinebroad.blog/; Catallo, Heather, and others, investigative reports, WXYZ TV (2008–present); Cianci, Julia, "After the Snow: The Oakland County Child Murders and the Search for the Killer," essay (2009); Cribari, M.F., "Portraits in the Snow," Outskirts Press (2011);
Keenan, Marney, "The Snow Killings," Exposit Books (2020); King, Barry, "A Father's Story," http://afathersstory-occk.com/; King family, "Decades of Deceit," video presentation (2013), https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNS4CbUu_ILm5mIa2jBGAXDQS3mhT93pL. Other sources include various websites, and documents provided by investigators. Suggested reading: An authoritative account of the case is found in Keenan's "The Snow Killings": https://expositbooks.com/product/the-snow-killings/
• Created by D. Lightfoot, Feb. 2020 •
Contact: [email protected] Show Less
June 22, 1974 - June 26, 1974
James Davison, 13, was abducted in Allen Park on the south side of Detroit, while riding his bike to a friend’s house. He was missing for several days, strangled and dumped face-down in an alley in Oakland County, MI, and found June 26, wearing the same clothes he had on when abducted. Four days after he disappeared, his bike was found three blocks from his home.
He survived the attack and, while not considered a victim in the series of abduction/murders known as the Oakland County Child Killings, the MO of the killer or killers was remarkably similar.
Davison's story was formerly on the OCCK Wikipedia page but has been removed. Another mention of his name on the internet indicates he may have suffered brain damage from his attack.
August 2, 1974
Gregory Woodward Greene, a Flint, MI, native, moved to California in the early 1970s, where he coached a young boys' baseball team, and molested members of the team. Arrested on numerous charges of criminal sexual conduct (CSC), kidnapping, and attempted murder, Greene would admit to molesting 15 male victims, ages six to 14, a total of more than 200 times through the early to mid-1970s.
Det. Cory Williams' Narrative Report, Summer 2008:
"Greene arrested in Huntington Beach, California for 45 counts of CSC 1 on young boys. Then spends 6 months in the Orange County Jail. Greene choked 2 of his victims, 1 almost to death to keep him quiet after attempting to anally molest the boy. Greene then drove him to the area of the hospital and dumped him off on the grass. Greene thought he had killed this boy and dragged his body through the grass to his car, after burning him with cigarettes in an attempt to get the boy to wake up. The boy survived, that’s how Greene got caught ... Detectives asked Greene if ever had relations or even thought of having relations with a woman. Greene replied that he had tried and thought about it, but he can’t get a 'hard-on' with a woman."
Note: Compare Greene's MO of dumping victim in the open near hospital with the dumping of Jill Robinson near Troy PD station.
January 31, 1975
Greene was sentenced to Patton State Mental Hospital in San Bernardino as a mentally disturbed sex offender, a little over a year before the Oakland County Child Killings began.
According to his hospital case summary, Greene made "made a most unusual effort to gain insight into himself and into his problems" at Patton, eventually "taking a leadership role" in group therapy sessions.
December 28, 1975
A laudatory human interest piece portraying Grosse Pointe real estate developer and child pornographer Francis Duffield Shelden as a charming, eccentric naturalist and reclusive do-gooder, creating an island getaway for errant boys on North Fox Island, off the coast of Michigan's lower peninsula, part of Leelanau County.
Operated as a charitable organization, with the help of government funding, Brother Paul's Children's Mission was in fact a front for a sophisticated and lucrative child exploitation and pornography ring.
January 1, 1976
Christopher Brian Busch, a known pedophile and son of H. Lee Busch—General Motors' Executive Financial Director in Europe and the USA—buys a blue 1975 Chevrolet Vega two-door hatchback (a mini station wagon model sold as a "kammback") with white stripe graphics, from Al Serra Chevrolet in Flint, a vehicle similar in appearance to the blue AMC Gremlin reportedly seen in the parking lot of Hunter-Maple pharmacy at the time of Tim King's (victim #4) abduction.
The blue Gremlin quickly became a focal point in the investigation and the media ran with it. But King's brother Chris, then 16, had returned to the pharmacy later that night to look for Tim and saw a blue Gremlin (and not a lookalike model) still in the parking lot—and reported it to police. This indicates the commonplace possibility that a witness had seen Tim talking to a man near a car that may or may not have been his.
Despite this and later evidence that no Gremlin was involved in the crimes—and that other vehicles were—the infamous blue Gremlin would remain a red herring in the case for the next four decades.
A 2017 WXYZ-TV report by Heather Catallo covers Chris King's recollections, along with forensic evidence developed by former Birmingham PD Det. Jack Kalbfleisch that a 1971 or '72 Pontiac LeMans was involved:
Yet a year later Kalbfliesch's claim turned out to be flawed: in a 2018 interview with author Marney Keenan, citing lost records and a "40-year-old memory of facts," Kalbfliesch confessed he was in error, by five years, about the model-year of the Pontiac he had been urging investigators to follow up on ("The Snow Killings," p. 176).
If all this sounds inconclusive, it is, which underscores a key point regarding vehicles in this case: there are a number mentioned in the record and any evidentiary value they have should be weighed case-by-case. Photos of vehicles are included in the timeline in hopes of jogging someone's memory, and only where they are known or reported to have been owned/driven by suspects or persons of interest in the case, or where evidence/testimony indicates likelihood a vehicle of that type may have been involved.
January 15, 1976 - January 16, 1976
At around 8:30 p.m., Cynthia Rae Cadieux, 16, left a girlfriend’s house to make the 10-minute walk to her home in Roseville. Six hours later, her naked and badly beaten body was found on Franklin Road in Oakland County. She had been raped and sodomized, her skull crushed by a blunt instrument.
Initially thought to be connected to the OCCK crimes, Cadieux's murder was later solved and found to be unrelated. In May of 1979, Robert “Bobby Lee” Anglin, 30, of Roseville was convicted of her murder and sentenced to life in prison.
January 20, 1976
Beginning around 8 p.m., an armed intruder broke into three homes on Villa Street in Birmingham, over the course of about 45 minutes, tying up residents and stealing valuables.
Entering the home where 14-year-old Sheila Srock was babysitting, he raped and sodomized her, and shot her five times in the abdomen with a .38 cal. handgun.
Initially thought to be related to the OCCK crimes, Srock’s murder was later solved. Oliver Rhodes Andrews, 43, from North Carolina, was arrested in June 1978 and sentenced to life in prison in January 1979.
Life sentence notwithstanding, Andrews was released by Michigan DOC Oct. 9, 2020.
January 21, 1976
Ending his one-year stint in-patient at Patton State Hospital, beginning Jan. 1975.
Det. Cory Williams' Narrative Report, Summer 2008:
"7-21-75: California Department of Justice record’s show that Greene was discharged from the mental hospital on this date. Greene tells Cabot, his Probation Officer and the Police in January of 1977, that he was released from the mental hospital 1-15-76. I found that Greene went in front of a judge in Orange County in August of 1975 and was sent back to Patton hospital for several more months until his January 1976 release."
Michigan DOC Parole Officer David Witter says Greene was released Jan. 7 (Pre-Sentencing Investigation Report, p. 8).
January 30, 1976
A Montmorency County warrant issued Mar. 3, 1977, lists date of offense Jan. 30, 1976, in Atlanta, Ess Lake Township—first degree CSC, sexual penetration of a 14-year-old boy, James Vincent "Vince" Gunnels, a victim-turned-cohort of Busch's and Greene's.
This was the first of Busch's two CSC offenses against Gunnels; the second occurred May 7, 1976. Gunnel's father would file charges Feb. 25, 1977.
February 1, 1976
Around this time, Busch leaves the country for a couple of weeks, returning from England on or about Feb. 14 (Det. Williams' Narrative Report, summer 2008, p. 2).
February 11, 1976
According to Michigan DOC Pre-Sentence Investigation Report on Greene, dated June 7, 1977: "On or about February 11, 1976, Greene was taken from [Huntington Beach County Jail] and placed on a plane to Michigan."'
Det. Cory Williams' notes confirm this:
"Greene was ... transported by the Orange County Shrf. to the LA airport, put on a plane and flown directly to Detroit on 2-11-76. His dad and brothers picked him up. Confirmed by the brothers."
February 14, 1976
Date given by Busch for his return from a stay in London. Thought to be possibly falsified by Busch to place himself in MI after Feb. 13, the date initially and incorrectly reported by the press for Mark Stebbins' abduction. However, Busch's Feb. 14 return was confirmed by Det. Cory Williams.
Greene had been back in MI about four days.
It is unclear when Busch and Greene first began their association. According one set of investigative notes, they first "met" at this time, apparently while Busch was (in the act of?) molesting his (Busch's) nephew, who lived in Flint not far from Greene's residence.
Mark Stebbins, the first OCCK victim, was abducted the next day.
A day or less seems an improbably short period for two complete strangers to meet and establish a criminal partnership for the purposes of child murder. Maybe it was just a good fit.
Author J. Reuben Appelman has them perhaps meeting in 1975. This is possible: Greene was released from Patton State Hospital in CA July 11 for "a return to court," went before Judge Kenneth Williams Aug. 20, and was sent back to the hospital for five more months. According to his case summary, he returned with a large collection of psychology and self-help books purchased "with the help of his father." It seems Greene was out long enough for a return to MI, and could have met Busch then.
In a 2019 phone conversation with Birmingham PD Commander Chris Busen, Kenneth Bowman related that a friend of his from Flint had introduced him to Greene after Greene picked the friend up hitchhiking on I-75. Later, Bowman met Chris Busch through Busch's nephews, who also lived in Flint. Bowman said he was the one who introduced Busch to Greene. Busen's notes for this conversation provide no indication when these connections took place.
In a letter to this author, Bowman recalled that Busch and Green met in his driveway on or about July 4, 1976.
February 15, 1976
After lunch that Sunday, Mark Douglas Stebbins, 12, walked home from the American Legion Hall in Ferndale, where his mother, Ruth Stebbins, worked as a bartender. Mark had gone to the hall with his brother, Michael, 15, to watch a pool tournament. At around 1:15 p.m., Mark left to go home—a distance of .75 miles—and watch TV. He never made it.
Ruth Stebbins reported him missing around 11 p.m. A seventh-grader at Lincoln Junior High, Mark was just under 5 feet tall, with strawberry blond hair and blue eyes, last seen wearing a blue hooded parka, maroon sweatshirt, Levi’s jeans and black rubber boots.
February 15, 1976
Phone call made by tow truck driver/mechanic and known pedophile Archibald Edward Sloan, 35, the evening of Mark Stebbin's disappearance, to Southfield PD to inform them he would be working past closing time at McCracken's Service Center, 29420 10 MIle Road, the garage where he was employed. Sloan let them know the light would be on, no need for any patrolmen to stop by and check in (Det. Cory Williams, interview with Marney Keenan, July 2013).
An account of Det. Cory Williams' 2010 interrogation of Sloan regarding this phone call is worth reading ("The Snow Killings," p. 202).
February 19, 1976
At about 11:30 a.m., Mark Boetigheimer left his office at Fairfax Plaza in Southfield—at W. Ten Mile Rd. and Greenfield, 4 miles from where Stebbins disappeared—and found his body lying against a brick wall separating the office parking lot and an adjoining strip mall.
Stebbins was lying face up, hands folded over his chest, wearing the same clothes he had on when he disappeared.
Southfield PD interviewed Mack M. Gallop, who had walked his dog along the edge of the lot around 9:30 a.m. Neither Gallop nor his dog noticed the body at that time. Police concluded the drop-off occurred soon after.
Oakland County Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas J. Petinga determined cause of death was asphyxia. Stebbin's wrists and legs showed abrasions/marks indicating he had been bound. Two small lacerations were on his left rear scalp—cuts/contusions possibly caused by a car trunk latch or (more likely) a shotgun barrel. Blood stains were found in the hood of his jacket, indicating the cuts were antemortem. Stebbins had been repeatedly sodomized—yet case records are unclear on whether semen was found.
The "Babysitter Killer" treatment was largely a myth in this case (in fact it was for all four victims): Stebbins' body was not exceptionally clean. Outer garments were clean but undergarments had been worn for days. Also, a dirty blanket was thrown over him by police on the scene, presumably to hide the body from passersby. A hair found on his body was, decades later, found to be a DNA match for hair collected in Arch Sloan's Bonneville, as well as for two hairs found on Tim King's body:
The AP reported Aug. 2, 1977, "neither the state police nor the sheriff's department crime labs were called when the bodies of Mark Stebbins and Jill Robinson were found, and the bodies were moved and handled in a manner that probably destroyed evidence ... transported to the Southfield Police Department instead of the morgue ... the clothes were taken off at the police department ... Trained morgue specialists are usually called to pick up a body ... being careful not to destroy trace evidence ... Officials from the task force and the Troy and Southfield police departments—who handled [the bodies]—refused to comment."
The day Stebbins' body was found, Arch Sloan’s parole officer was watching the evening news and thought of the repeat offender in his charge who had been violating young boys since he was 13, and who lived and worked near where the body was found. He called Southfield police the next day ("The Snow Killings," 195).
February 19, 1976
Within an hour of Mark Stebbins' body being discovered, Ferndale police had a surveillance team on 24-year-old John Crosbie. Believed to be the last person to see Stebbins alive, Crosbie had offered him a ride home as he was leaving the American Legion Hall.
Southfield PD Officer R. Frank approached Crosbie in his driveway after observing him remove a large cooler from the trunk of his car. Frank spotted “reddish blonde hairs on the hinge of the cooler, which were consistent with the hair type of Mark Stebbins" and asked Crosbie to come to the police station for questioning.
Crosbie, who had two tips called in on him in the OCCK case, lived and worked in Ferndale and was a regular at local watering holes, including the American Legion hall where Ruth Stebbins tended bar. By the time of Mark's death, the Crosbie and Stebbins families had known each other a few years. Mark’s older brother, Mike Stebbins, describes Crosbie as a "scary dude.”
February 22, 1976
Prompted by a call from Sloan's parole officer, Southfield Police interview Sloan, who gave consent to search his 1966 Pontiac Bonneville. Evidence technician Mel Paunovich collected hairs and other debris from the vehicle.
Sloan provided alibis, passed a lie detector test concerning Stebbin's abduction and murder, and was cleared. Test was administered by Ralph Cabot of the MSP, whose polygraphs of Busch and Greene would later be refuted by a panel of independent examiners.
DNA testing in 2010 and in 2012 would find that one hair taken from Sloan's car had a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) profile consistent with with one hair found on Mark Stebbins' clothing, and with one hair found on Tim King’s body (groin area); and that the hairs did not come from Sloan but from some as yet unidentified person.
Sloan also drove a blue 1971 Ford pick-up, and a black 1969 Chevy pick-up, both with camper tops. According to a 1977 Oakland County Sheriff ’s Office report, a pick-up with a camper top was twice reported by witnesses in the OCCK case—at the scene of Kristine Mihelich’s abduction, and where her body was found.
Author's note: Det. Cory Williams told me in conversation (July 2020) he believes Sloan dumped Stebbins' body.
March 1, 1976
Probation Officer David S. Witter reports accepting supervision of Greene on this date, following Greene's recent return to MI from CA.
March 29, 1976
With Counselor Ron Matthews at Genesee County Community Mental Health Services, through Jan. 27, 1977. "Greene was reluctant in participating ... since he thought he was cured" (PO David Witter, Pre-Sentencing Investigation Report, p. 8).
May 7, 1976
The second of Busch's two CSC offenses against Gunnels. Invited for the weekend to ride dirt bikes at Busch's house in Sandford, MI, Gunnels escapes an attempt by Busch to tie him up and anally rape him, and flees.
May 7, 1976
Greene worked as a custodian supervising a crew of three or four, midnight shift at the Belsay Rd. store in Flint.
He was fired for theft Dec. 29, 1976.
He was also coaching little league baseball in Flint during this period.
May 29, 1976
On or about this date, Busch and Greene took Kenneth Bowman, 13, to a wooded rural area off Dixie Hwy., near Mt. Holly in Groveland Twp., driving in Busch’s blue Chevrolet Vega.
Decades later, Bowman told investigators he feared he would be killed that day. Busch had a handgun underneath the seat of the car. Greene—the more violent of the two, according to Bowman—sodomized him. Bowman recalled it was so painful, it broke the blood vessels in his face, and that Greene choked him until he lost consciousness.
Bowman said Greene told him Busch “had killed a kid out in the woods by Chris’ house,” and that Greene once asked Bowman to go to a “Playland” store to help him kidnap and kill a young boy.
Busch and Greene would both be arrested Jan. 28, 1977, on multiple CSC charges brought by Bowman, who said he was also forced to perform fellatio on both men on different occasions—at a drive-in movie theater, behind a high school and behind a roller rink.
July 23, 1976
Gerald Richards, 29, a married father of two, part-time magician, and PE teacher at St Joseph’s Elementary in Port Huron, is arrested for CSC with a minor. A report by MSP Det. Sgt. Joel Gorzen described Richards' "Homosexual activity with a 10 yr old boy." Richards was intimately involved in Francis Shelden's North Fox Island operation and had been producing and selling child porn and sharing boys with Shelden.
Richards gave up Shelden to police and described activities on North Fox Island as part of a plea deal, and named other key players:
• Dyer Grossman, a New York millionaire, science teacher at a boy’s boarding school, and vice president of Brother Paul’s Children’s Mission.
• Adam Aristotle Starchild (real name Malcolm Willis McConahy), a self-described “international financial consultant” (an expert in money laundering, offshore financing, shell companies) who served prison terms for mail fraud and forgery in the U.S. and abroad.
• Rev. Claudius “Bud” Ira Vermilye, pastor of Alto Parish in Tennessee, 1953–1962, later defrocked and imprisoned for running Boys Farm, Inc., which authorities described as “a house of boy prostitution.”
July 25, 1976 - July 31, 1976
During this period, the second of Busch's two CSC offenses with Kenneth Bowman, behind a high school in Mt. Morris, Genesee County.
July 29, 1976
Shortly after midnight—three days after Richards' arrest—MSP officers executing a no-knock warrant broke into Shelden’s Ann Arbor home, but found all file cabinets, closets and drawers had been cleared out. Shelden had absconded: he was tipped off when he happened to phone Richards on the day he was arrested, and Richards' wife told him police had taken Richards into custody.
MSP Det. Sgt. Joel Gorzen Gorzen wrote:
“Shelden [upon] hearing that Richards had been arrested on 7–26–76 [made] the trip to the Ann Arbor area to his residence to remove or destroy any incriminating evidence that might have been there.”
August 1, 1976
From Det. Williams' Narrative Report, Summer 2008:
"Aug–Sept. 1976: Greene tells police, that he purchased a [brown and gold] 1974 Chevrolet van from Al Serra Chevrolet in Flint ... MI Plate # 4185-GG"
According to a Feb. 2009 statement from Bowman, Greene drove a number of vehicles through the late 1970s, including a 1968 Chevy Impala and a Blue and White Chevy Nova.
August 2, 1976
Following Richards' naming of Francis Shelden in connection with child pornography on North Fox Island, and the search of Shelden's home, police sought a warrant for his arrest.
According to MSP case files, the Washtenaw County Prosecutor decided to wait and to see if charges were going to be brought against Shelden in St. Clair County. Meanwhile, the St. Clair County Prosecutor wanted to wait until the investigation into Shelden was completed.
By the time a warrant was issued, Shelden had left the country.
Of note: St. Clair County Prosecutor closed CSC with minors complaints in Port Huron against Shelden and Dyer Grossman “in error,” at some point after July 15, 1976, and as of Oct. 8 was planning to "make attempts" to obtain warrants for both men.
August 7, 1976
Sometime after 12:30 p.m., Jane Louise Allan, 14, left her Royal Oak home to hitchhike the 17 miles to her boyfriend's house in Auburn Heights. According to police reports, the couple had disagreement and she left. She was last seen walking with her thumb out near I-75 and University Drive in Pontiac.
August 11, 1976
Four days after her disappearance, Allan's body was found floating in the Great Miami River in Miamisburg, Ohio—about 220 miles from Detroit—fully clothed, hands tied behind her back with strips torn from a t-shirt. The Ohio coroner’s office determined she was dead before she was tossed in the river, possibly from carbon monoxide poisoning (believed to be caused by riding in the trunk of a car). Decomposition made it impossible to tell whether she had been sexually assaulted.
Initially thought to be connected to the OCCK crimes, Allan's death was later linked to a motorcycle gang in Ohio.
September 13, 1976
At a Dairy Queen on 9 Mile Road in Ferndale, Crosbie stood in line behind the girl and pressed his penis up against her. He did the same to the girl's older sister, who was there with her and confronted him. Crosbie called her a "fucking whore" and left the store.
Of note: Crosbie liked young girls. May have been running with Sloan, who liked young boys.
September 23, 1976
Richards, lacking the wealth and influence of his associates, was the only member of the North Fox Island operation to be convicted and sentenced to prison. Arrested on CSC charges two months earlier, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 2–20 years by Judge Ernest Oppliger. During his stay in prison, he gave several interviews to the media. He was released in 1980.
September 27, 1976
Dyer Grossman, vice president of Brother Paul’s Children’s Mission, spent considerable time in Port Huron with Richards and Shelden and was deeply implicated in the child pornography operation on North Fox Island.
Catherine Broad's blog, Mar 12, 2012:
"A September 27, 1976, entry notes that: “The St. Clair Prosecutor was contacted with request for warrant for [Dyer] Grossman for sex crime last summer. He has not authorized as yet due to work load. If/when warrant is issued, the information will be related to same authority the above info will be referred to.”
October 7, 1976
Pretty good guess for date of Greene's attempted abduction of the creator of this timeline, age 5, at Oakland University, in a lounge on the second floor of the west wing of Vandenberg Hall, daylight hours, a few days before fall semester midterms. The building at the time contained classrooms, faculty and staff offices, with dormitories for 500-plus students on two wings of upper floors.
Greene was neither enrolled nor employed at OU and a university building seems an unlikely spot to randomly troll for children—some association between him and a student or faculty member seems likely to this author. Assuming this, and considering the nature of Greene's known associations, someone at OU during fall/winter semester 1976–77 may be a person of interest.
November 10, 1976
A roll of undeveloped film mailed to Gerald Richards from California turned out to be photos taken at Boys Farm, Inc., in Alto, TN. Ostensibly a church-affiliated organization run by Episcopal priest Rev. Claudius Ira “Bud” Vermilye, Jr., it had in fact operated as front for child exploitation for five years.
Police raided Boys Farm Nov. 10, 1976, and arrested Vermilye on 16 counts of CSC. Investigators found that boys had been sent to the farm from the state corrections system and welfare agencies. They were given liquor and shown pornography before orgies were orchestrated and filmed by hidden camera.
Shelden's name was found on a list of 300-odd sponsors of Boys Farm.
December 1, 1976
Reporter Marilyn Wright of the Traverse City Record-Eagle publishes the first of a series of investigative articles exposing Francis Shelden's "Brother Paul’s Children’s Mission" on North Fox Island as a front for a child pornography network, where children were by turns enticed and coerced into sexual acts, both with paying visitors to the island, and in pornographic films and photos featured in pedophilia magazines.
Christopher Busch's name was mentioned in Wright's coverage, pointing to his likely association/involvement in the production and distribution of child porn.
Some of Wright's coverage through April 4, 1977 though Aug. 23, 1978:
A more recent news feature of interest:
December 17, 1976
MSP sought Shelden for molesting a 10-year-old boy multiple times over the course of a weekend trip to North Fox Island. The victim said he fought off Shelden during one rape attempt.
Another warrant was issued for Shelden this same month, for CSC with a 14-year-old Port Huron boy.
December 22, 1976
Around dinner time, Jill Robinson, 12, had a disagreement with her mother, Karol, and left her Royal Oak home on her bike, presumably heading to her father's house nearby, about a mile away, never to be seen again. A witness reported seeing Jill riding in that direction. Karol Robinson reported Jill missing at 11:30 p.m.
The media's misrepresentation of their flare-up and portrayal of Jill as a "runaway" pained Karol Robinson for decades. (Karol Robinson interview with Marney Keenan, Aug. 27, 2018)
December 26, 1976
Robinson's body was found in the early morning hours on the northbound (east side) shoulder of I-75, just north of Exit 69 at 16 Mile Rd. (W. Big Beaver Rd.) in Troy, MI, within sight of the Troy Police Department.
According to a Jan. 10, 1977, report filed by the Michigan State Police, a passing motorist travelling northbound on the freeway spotted "...a light blue 1967 Pontiac Tempest ... parked on the shoulder of I-75 north of 12 Mile Road. He observed two people in the car, but could give no further description. As he passed the vehicle, it pulled back on to I-75 and continued northbound until just north of Big Beaver Road in the area where the victim was found. The Tempest pulled on to the shoulder of the road and stopped again. The motorist advised that he continued on his way and could give no further information. He did state that he was certain of the year of the car as he had owned one previously and that the paint on the car was faded and the right tail lens was broken in the corner emitting a white light"
Unique among the four victims, Robinson was shot in the face, with a 12 ga. shotgun, having been asphyxiated prior. A couple of theories seek to explain this:
Former Birmingham PD Det. Jack Kalbfleisch theorized trapped air in Jill's lungs may have been expelled when her body was laid down on top of her backpack, causing the killer(s) to believe she was still breathing. However, investigators found only one circuit of footprints in the snow—from the car, to the body, and back. So the shotgun would have been carried along with the body, not retrieved from the car as an afterthought. Still, it's possible Kalbfleisch was right, if such exhalation occurred as Jill was laid inside the car, leading the killer(s) to believe Jill was still living, and to exit the car with both Jill and the gun.
Another theory has it that Robinson had bitten her assailant and he shot her in the face to destroy her dentition as bite-mark evidence.
It's also possible Jill was shot simply to ensure she was dead and would be harder to identify (if Greene was involved, perhaps this was lesson learned from his experience in CA.)
January 2, 1977
Mihelich had walked to the 7-11 store on 12 Mile Rd. in Berkely, MI, a few blocks from her home, to buy a teen magazine. Shortly after 3:00 p.m. she was taken at or near the store. Her mother, Deborah Ashcroft, reported her missing around 6:30.
In a 1977 pre-polygraph interview, Chris Busch named the 7-11 store, along with Hartfield’s bowling alley across the street, as places he sometimes took young boys he met through the Big Brother program.
Three decades later, investigators would uncover some surprising interconnections related to the bowling alley frequented by Busch: Kristine Mihelich's mother worked there. So did the sister of Robert Stevens, an associate of Arch Sloan's. Stevens' nephew was Kristine Mihelich's babysitter.
Neither Steven's nor his nephew were found to be a match for DNA for hairs found in Sloan's car and on the bodies of Mark Stebbins and Tim King.
January 19, 1977
The principal of Donovan North Middle School, at 530 West Pierson Road in Flint, called police after having observed Greg Greene hanging around the school and talking to boys on three occasion.
January 21, 1977
Kristine Mihelich's body was found at 11:45 a.m. in a ditch alongside Bruce Lane., a residential, dead-end street in Franklin, MI. Apart from the houses at the dead end, the street is flanked on either side by woods and fields.
This crime scene provided front and rear bumper impression evidence in snowbanks along the road, developed by Det. Lt. Jack Kalbfleich and FBI SA Mort Nickel, with help from automotive engineers who compared measurements taken from crime scene photos (accurate to within 1/2 inch) to vehicles manufactured with the prior ten years. They found the vehicle was most likely a 1967 Pontiac Tempest or LeMans, or Buick Skylark (all similar GM models) with a single exhaust pipe and a bent trailer hitch.
Kalbfleisch would later claim it was a 1972 or '73 LeMans, but would admit to a faulty memory on the model year—the '72–73 LeMans came only with dual-exhaust V8 engine options.
Note: Despite Kalbfleisch's faulty memory, the fact remains: based on methodical examination of physical evidence, a vehicle that left rear-end impressions in the snow where Mihelich's body was found was determined to be a “a 1964–1967 Pontiac Tempest or [Buick] Skylark," information made public in September 7, 1978, press release by the OCCK Task Force ("The Snow Killings," 174–177).
The location of the bumper impressions suggests the driver stopped and did a two or three-point turn at the point on Bruce Lane where the houses first became visible from the road.
Mihelich's autopsy showed slight carbon monoxide poisoning, possibly caused by being transported, presumably while still breathing, in the trunk of a car.
In 2011, a hair found on Mihelich's clothing was determined to be a mitochondrial DNA match to Vincent Gunnels:
Kristine's clothing gave indications she had been dressed by someone other than herself: her blouse, which had ties, was tied the opposite to the way she normally would have; and her pants were tucked inside her boots, when she habitually wore them untucked.
January 25, 1977
Greene was arrested on felony CSC charge(s) related to his sexual involvement with Kenneth Bowman and other boys in his neighborhood in Flint the previous summer—"bond was not furnished," according to PO David Witter.
Greene tells Flint police Chris Busch killed Mark Stebbins.
January 26, 1977
From Det. Williams' Narrative Report, Summer 2008:
"Detectives searched through Greene’s van at the impound yard in Flint. Detectives were looking for the directions to Busch’s cabin near West Branch and found two Polaroid’s of child victims from the Flint case against Greene and also two pairs of 'child’s panties.' This report does not say if any directions [to Busch's cabin] were found."
Around this time, Busch told investigators he had never invited Greene to the family cabin on Ess Lake because Greene was "too violent."
January 26, 1977
Busch was arrested on the same charges brought by Bowman as Greene, a day later, while working at his restaurant, The Scotsman, in Alma.
January 28, 1977
Interviewed by Task Force detectives about possible involvement in Stebbins' murder, Busch denied it but discussed other pedophilia activity, including his sexual involvement with Kenneth Bowman.
When detectives asked where he would procure his victims, Busch said he was involved in the Big Brother program and listed as pick-up spots—in chronological order—the locations where the first three OCCK victims had been abducted.
Southfield Det. Lourn Doan reported:
"Busch said he picked up a young boy at 9 Mile and Woodward in Ferndale [Mark Stebbins’ abduction site] and that he dropped him off in Royal Oak near 13 Mile Road and Woodward Ave. [Jill Robinson’s abduction site]. He said he also had a little brother in the Big Brother
program that he often took to Hartfield’s bowling alley [where Kristine Mihelich’s mother worked] and also to the 7-11 store [where Kristine was abducted].”
Det. Cory Williams believes Busch did not offer these details as an indirect confession but as an alibi—establishing his occasional presence at these sites in case witnesses had seen him there.
Busch related his and Greene's "split shift" child imprisonment fantasy, wherein one of them would work days, the other nights, so one of them would always be home with the victim.
Oakland County Deputy Prosecutor Dick Thompson travelled by helicopter more than 40 miles through a snowstorm, from to Pontiac to Flint, to observe Busch's polygraph exams. Of the hundreds of polygraphs administered during the OCCK investigations, Busch's was the only one attended by a prosecutor ("The Kill Jar," p. 89).
Busch passed the polygraph, administered by MSP examiner Ralph Cabot (8 p.m.), and was cleared.
In Feb. 2008, review of Cabot's polygraph results by three independent examiners found Busch's chart was perhaps inconclusive, with possible deception indicated on key questions, while Greene was determined to have failed his outright.
January 28, 1977
From Det. Williams' Narrative Report, Summer 2008:
"1-28-77: Detectives conduct a consent search of Busch’s home in Alma, located @ 736 N. State St. Alma, Mi. During this search, Detectives find 2 shotguns (16 gauge & 20 gauge), ½ Lb. – 1 Lb. Of Marijuana, 1 suitcase containing misc. ropes and ligatures and 1 suitcase containing child porn, books, magazines & films. (This was all confiscated as part of the Flint [Bowman] child molestation case against Busch)."
January 31, 1977
Bond for both Busch and Greene in the Bowman case was set at $75,000 (roughly $322,000 in 2020 dollars). But Busch’s bond was later reduced to $1,000—the $75,000 figure crossed out on the court record and $1,000 handwritten in, with no initials or signature indicating who made or authorized the change.
H. Lee Busch posted his son's bail in cash. Greene, facing the same CSC charge brought by the same victim, would get life in prison.
February 1, 1977
Greene was cleared of involvement in Stebbins' murder by polygraph administered by MSP examiner Ralph Cabot.
During the examination, Cabot asked Greene what type of person he thought would have committed the murder. Greene replied, "someone that knew the kid and killed him to keep it quiet ... or it was a one-time thing." Asked what should happen to the person who committed the crime if caught, Greene said, "it depends on the person."
Thus ended the Task Force's one-week investigation into Busch and Greene. Both having been cleared by polygraph, they were eliminated as suspects in the OCCK case. Their names would not resurface in the investigation again until 2007.
In Feb. 2008, review of Cabot's polygraph results by three independent examiners found Greene had failed outright; Busch's chart was found perhaps inconclusive, with possible deception indicated on key questions.
February 3, 1977
In police custody since Jan. 25 according to Genesee County Jail intake card record, with stipulation "Keep secured at all times," and DOC pre-sentencing report on time served.
But a notation in the files of Det. Lorne Doan (Southfield PD) indicates Greene was out on bond until sentencing.
Thus there has been some question whether Greene was free the time of Tim King's abduction, and whether he might be the man in police composite drawings—who resembles Greene—seen talking to King before he disappeared.
Det. William's notes seem to put this question to rest:
3-27-08: I called the records office at the Genesee County Jail today and spoke with Donna Jones about Gregory Greene’s inmate status from his arrest in January of 1977, until he was sentenced to prison in June of 1977. The only record that she could find was the jail index card for Greg Greene, file #3515, Case #77-00589. Donna faxed me a copy of this card. The card had typed notes on it that say the following: 2/3/77 2 charges CSC 1st Elliot-CC rel SMP 6/16/77. I asked Donna if their jail was computerized back then, to which she stated no, indicating that the index cards are what they used back then to track inmates. I asked her to explain what the card said. She stated that the 2-3-77 entry, was when he arrived at the jail, then the charges, then where it says Elliott-CC, was the Circuit Court Judge, indicating that Greene was released [for transfer to Jackson?] after his sentencing on 6-17-1977. She stated that it does not appear as if Greene was ever out of the jail between 2-3-77 & 6-17-77 and the card shows 141 days credit for time served, sentenced to “Life” in prison by Judge Elliott. I asked Donna if it was possible that Greene was out of the jail at any time or bonded out and it just didn’t get put on the card, to which she stated it was possible, indicating that the cards were only as accurate as the people typing the entries on them, but more than likely if he was out or bonded out it would say that on the card."
10-14-08: Today it was determined that Greene was possibly out on bond at the time of King’s abduction. Garry Gray was reviewing some old notes today from Task Force Detective Doan (Southfield PD) and observed where Doan had written the following statement: “Greene was sent to Jackson Prison on 6-17-77. Out on bond till then.” This means that Greene may have posted bond sometime between February of 1977 and when he went to prison in June of 77. King was abducted and killed in March of 1977.
2-4-09: We went through Greg Greene & Chris Busch’s circuit court files today at Genesee County Circuit Court. We were able to determine from their files, that, Chris Busch was in fact out on bond at the time of Timothy King’s abduction. Greg Greene’s file however, showed that he was definitely in custody in the Genesee County Jail at the time of King’s disappearance. The Judge had denied lowering his bond and Greene remained in jail until his sentencing to Jackson Prison. One particular composite drawing of a suspect, seen talking to King at his abduction site, cannot be Greg Greene, even though it matches him perfectly, although there were many composite drawings done of unknown suspects in the OCCK case, at unknown times from unknown witnesses. We were able to copy the documents for our file that show this. We also copied Greene’s pre-sentence investigative report, which contained not only this report, but also a report from his psychiatrist."
Still, it remains noteworthy that while Busch remained free and, in the months before his death, continued to make court appearances on CSC charges not involving murder, the Oakland County Child Killings stopped after Greene pleaded guilty to unrelated CSC charges on March 30, 1977.
In December 2020, one person came forward claiming to have seen Greene in a drug store in Berkley, sometime after March 18–19, 1977, when police composite drawings of King's abductor were made public.
February 18, 1977 - February 27, 1977
From Det. Williams Narrative Report, Summer 2008:
"Two witnesses in the Hillman Michigan area, the area of the Busch cottage, write out statements saying that they saw Chris Busch up there during one of the last weekends in February 1977." (Last two weekends were Feb 18–20 and Feb 25–27)
February 20, 1977
3 Flint men accused of forcing boys into homosexual acts
Special to the The News
FLINT—(AP)—More arrests are expected in an investigation of alleged sexual exploitation of juvenile boys, an assistant Genesee County prosecutor said Saturday.
Three Flint men have been arrested and a fourth is sought on charges that they forced adolescent boys to commit homosexual acts.
Assistant Prosecutor Lenore Ferber said as many as 75 more boys may be questioned as the investigation continues.
The three Flint men are charged with using gifts, threats and physical force to persuade more than 30 boys to engage in sodomy, oral sex and lewd photography sessions.
Earlier, Prosecutor Robert F. Leonard reported there appeared to be no connection between the three Flint men and Francis D. Shelden, the missing Ann Arbor millionaire whose 835-acre Fox Island near Traverse City was linked to magazines depicting homosexual activity involving young boys.
Shelden, missing since last summer, is sought by State Police on criminal sexual conduct charges.
Three of the defendants in the Genesee County case are Christopher Busch, Douglass Bennett and Gregory Greene.
... The men allegedly picked up boys as hitchhikers and by working as counselors in community service groups. One of the defendants worked for a time as the coach of a youth baseball team, a source said.
Leonard said the three arrested men were not part of an organized ring, but he acknowledged that some of the boys had been passed from defendant to defendant.
... Leonard said the inquiry began eight weeks ago [approx. Dec. 26, 1976] after a school principal noticed a man hanging around the school and talking with boys. After seeing one boy leave with the man, the principal contacted police.
February 22, 1977
Oakland County link probed in sexual exploiting of boys
By Richard Willing
News Staff Writer
An investigation into the alleged sexual abuse of young boys, which already has produced three arrests in Flint, will be extended into Oakland County.
Oakland County Prosecutor L. Brooks Patterson confirmed today that information developed in the Flint investigation suggests that some of the victimized boys had been procured in Oakland County.
... Officer Thomas Waldron said it is his understanding that Oakland County is faced with a large number of complaints similar to those made in Flint, where an estimated 30 prepubescent boys were allegedly forced to commit sex acts with men, with each other and before cameras.
But Patterson said he is unaware of any increase in the "usual number of scattered instances" of homosexual complaints in Oakland County.
... Patterson emphasized that the cases are seemingly unrelated to the murder of Mark Stebbins, a 12-year-old Ferndale boy, sexually molested and then killed last year.
Waldron said Oakland County investigators have interviewed two of the men arrested in Flint, have given them lie-detector tests and have concluded the men are not suspects in the Stebbins case.
The three Flint men, Douglas Bennett, 19, Gregory Green [sic], 26, and Christopher Busch, 40 [sic], were ... bound over for trial in the last two weeks on multiple charges of [CSC} ... using gifts, threats and physical force to persuade the boys to engage in sodomy, oral sex and lewd photography sessions.
The boys, who ranged in age from 10 to 14, were discarded as undesirable once they reached puberty, according to a police source.
The men met the boys by picking them up as hitchhikers and by working as counselors in community service groups.
... Green had served time in Orange County, Calif., for a sex offence involving a boy ... and paroled to Flint ... according to the same source.
Genesee County Prosecutor Robert F. Leonard said yesterday the defendants may have passed boys from one to another, and the scheme may have had "nationwide" ties. He said his office is investigating the possibility the defendants may have been linked to Grosse Pointe millionaire Francis D. Shelden, missing since allegations that his youth camp on Lake Michigan near Traverse City was a homosexual haven became public last fall.
Busch is free on $1,000 cash bond, while Bennett and Greene are in Genesee County jail in lieu of $15,000 and $75,000 bonds, respectively.
... Flint police have also obtained a warrant against a fourth man allegedly involved in the scheme ...
In 2009, Det. Cory Williams would locate both Bennett and the “fourth man,” Hiram Becker. Neither was found to have any connection to the case. Bennett claimed the only reason his name was connected to Busch and Greene was because all three men were arrested at the same time.
February 25, 1977
Charges were filed for two CSC offenses against Vince Gunnels: one at Busch's Ess Lake cottage on Jan. 30, 1976; the other at Busch's house in Alpena, MI, during the weekend of May 7, 1976.
According to Gunnels, not long after charges were filed, Busch’s mother, Elsie, attempted to bribe him to drop them. Gunnels was playing basketball in his neighborhood when Elsie Busch rode up in a limousine, showed him a bundle of cash (in another telling it's a checkbook) and said, "I’d like to talk to you about what you’re saying about my son."
March 1, 1977
Charged with two counts CSC for "having sexual relations with a 12-year-old boy" in Groveland Twp., Busch was released on $12,000 bond and ordered by District Judge Jerald McNally to obey a 7 p.m. curfew. Preliminary hearing was set for Mar. 10.
According to a Mar. 9 status report on Busch, from Flint PD Det. Tom Waldron to the Alma PD, Busch used the Big Brother program to gain involvement with the boy in this case.
March 3, 1977
Busch was arrested in Birmingham and transported to Atlanta, MI, on a warrant issued in Montmorency County for the Jan. 30, 1976, CSC offense with Gunnels. Bond set at $10,000 and posted.
Arresting officer Det. Brandenburg reported that Busch said he never brought any local boys to the Ess Lake cottage, only boys "from down state," and that he had never brought Greene to the cottage because he was too violent.
March 4, 1977
For May 7, 1976, assault with intent to commit CSC charge. Surrendered to warrant. Bond set at $10,000 and posted.
March 9, 1977
A letter from Flint PD Det. Waldron to Alma police informed them: "as of this date Chris Busch is free on bond on all charges listed above."
March 12, 1977
An article in the Traverse City Record-Eagle, reporting on the North Fox Island child pornography ring, mentions Chris Busch, whose name appeared on a ledger of North Fox Island clients. The eight rolls of film confiscated from Busch suggested he wasn't just a consumer of Francis Shelden's porn but may have helped produce and distribute it.
March 16, 1977
Probably around 8:30 p.m. at Hunter-Maple pharmacy four blocks from his home in Birmingham, MI.
Witnesses place him in the parking lot of the store, talking with a suspect pictured in several composite sketches, near a blue Gremlin.
One witness, a car designer name Doug Wilson, reported seeing Tim in the presence of two men, one young, one in his 50s or 60s, near a 1973 Oldsmobile Cutlass parked rear against the store. (in 2012, under hypnosis, Wilson, recalled the car was a '73 Pontiac LeMans—the two vehicles are similar in appearance, as were many same-model-year GM cars of that era). Wilson recalled the last three digits of the license plate were 222. Wilson's 2012 account: https://catherinebroad.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/doug-wilson-letter.pdf
Earlier that day, around 4 p.m., Polly Coltman was entering the pharmacy through a back door with a narrow hallway and almost collided with a man who was hurrying to leave the store. She phoned the tip in on March 17 when the news about King broke. The police never followed up with her, and it is believed her tip was among the 300 or so that were somehow misplaced by Birmingham PD. The incident stuck with Coltman for decades (she died in 1998). A family member related the details of her encounter to King's sister, Cathy Broad, in 2006. It would later be determined the man Coltman encountered may have been John Hastings, based on details posted on cloakanddagner.com (see "Helen Dagner begins meeting with John Hastings" Sept. 1, 1991).
Julia Cianci, "After the Snow," chapters one and six: https://scholarworks.uno.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1139&context=td
On March 18, in a drastic and unconstitutional measure indicative of the heightened community-wide panic following the abduction of a fourth child, Oakland County Prosecutor L. Brooks Patterson authorized all local law enforcement to stop and search any vehicle on the streets of Oakland County after midnight.
March 17, 1977 - March 21, 1977
Busch and Greene's victim-turned-companion Kenneth Bowman claimed to have encountered Tim King and been forced to perform sexual acts with him while in the company of Busch and, which if true would have been during this period. Bowman identified King as the boy he encountered when shown a photo of him by Det. Cory Williams in March 2009.
March 17, 1977
With Chris Busch facing CSC charges unrelated to the OCCK case, attorney Jane Burgess is hired by the Busch family to defend him—replacing attorney R. Keith Stark, who according to author Marney Keenan refuses to talk about the case. Burgess was flown around the state in the family's private jet to post several five-figure bonds for Busch in the various Michigan counties where charges had been filed.
Jane Burgess' husband and law partner, Laurence Burgess, acknowledged they were compensated handsomely for representing Busch, but maintained this was "not because [H. Lee and Elsie Busch] cared about their son” but because they “were embarrassed by Chris ... They were only concerned about their reputation in the community. They were very cold people" ("The Snow Killings," p. 115).
March 19, 1977
Susan King, co-owner of the A-Frame Party store in Hillman, called the Montmorency County Sheriff's Dept. to report seeing Busch (his proclivities evidently known by locals) with two adolescent boys, estimated ages 16 and 18, buying beer and candy bars around 3:00 p.m. She urged that someone be sent out to the Ess Lake cottage before it was "too late." Susan King was not Interviewed by MCSO Det. Junior Brandenburg until March 22 (the day Tim King’s body was found downstate).
Brandenburg also interviewed another local couple who said they had seen Busch with three boys on the 19th, estimated ages 13, 14 and 15.
Estimated ages of the boys in both reports suggest Tim King was perhaps not one of the boys seen with Busch. Yet decades later Kenneth Bowman would positively identify King as the boy he encountered while with Busch at Ess Lake.
March 20, 1977
The OCCK Task Force received a second tip on Busch, the first having come in January. The second tip sheet was accompanied by a note stating that Busch was then under indictment for CSC charges with various boys, at different locations around the state. But Busch had been eliminated as a suspect by polygraph later that month, and his tip sheet marked "cleared."
Tim King's body was found two days later.
March 22, 1977
Tim King's body was spotted six days after his abduction, at 11:45 p.m., when two men driving along Gill Road—just inside the Livonia, MI, and Wayne County limits—spotted Tim's bright red hockey jacket in their headlights. His body had been placed in a shallow ditch along the side of the road, his skateboard tossed a few feet away.
Autopsy found his anus dilated and abraded, indicating “sex abuses on numerous occasions,” scrapes around and inside his mouth, and a bite mark on his tongue. The tongue was swollen, consistent with smothering. His forehead was bruised—it was later determined he had been struck shortly after death, perhaps when his body was dumped.
As with the three other victims, King was wearing the same clothes he was last seen in, and they were clean. His body was "extremely clean,” investigators noted, including fingernails and toenails.
The dumping of King's body within Wayne County made the case a murder investigation in both Oakland and Wayne counties, a development that gave root to an adversarial interagency lack of communication and cooperation that hindered the investigation for years.
In 2010, a hair recovered from King's groin was found to be a mtDNA match for both the hair found on Stebbins' body and the hair collected from Sloan's Bonneville.
March 30, 1977
In Genesee County Superior Court, Judge Phillip C. Elliott presiding. Sentencing was scheduled for May 24, 1977, then adjourned to June 14.
April 1, 1977
Probably during the month of April, Busch's attorney Jane Burgess arranged for him to take a privately administered, attorney-client privileged polygraph relating to his outstanding CSC charge against Bowman, date of offence May 29, 1976. Burgess engaged polygrapher Larry Wasser to administer it.
During the initial phase of the exam, when the subject is interviewed to explore sensitive areas of questioning that might trigger a false positive, Busch admitted to murdering (or "doing") Tim King—or so Wasser would exclaim in 2006 (see "Larry Wasser tells Patrick Coffey he polygpraphed King's killer," July 17, 2006).
Also during the pre-test interview, Busch said he had passed a polygraph on the OCCK case in January, administered by Ralph Cabot. Wasser had previously overturned one of Cabot's tests and would have had an impression of him as an unreliable examiner. So by the end of the interview, Wasser would have heard Busch state "I did the boy in Birmingham" (as quoted by Patrick Coffey), and wondered whether Busch should have failed the OCCK exam.
At this moment, Wasser, Burgess, and certainly the Busch family know Chris has admitted he "did" an OCCK victim, and that he was cleared by the Task Force three months prior based on a questionable polygraph.
April 4, 1977 - April 11, 1977
A meeting of county prosecutors and law enforcement officials from around the state, organized by Genesee County Prosecutor Robert F. Leonard, was announced for 2 p.m. Monday, April 11, 1977, at the Genesee County Courthouse, with invitations sent out during the previous week. The purpose of the meeting was to coordinate "effective investigation" of these crimes through "the highest degree of cooperation and information sharing" among the agencies involved (see links in previous entry).
At some point during the days prior, somebody put the kibosh on the meeting—it never took place. This non-event punctuated a noteworthy series of dates:
• End of January: Busch and Green are both arrested on Genesee Co. CSC charges.
• Feb. 20: AP News reports on investigation into these crimes, which may involve 30 or more boys. Busch and Greene are named. Leonard is quoted as saying the defendants were "not part of an organized ring" and "there appeared to be no connection" between them and Francis Shelden or North Fox Island.
• Feb. 22: Detroit News reports the Genesee Co. investigation will be extended into Oakland Co., where Flint PD points to a "large number of complaints" similar to those in Genesee. Two days after the AP story, Leonard is quoted saying the crimes may have "nationwide" ties, and that his office is investigating a link to Francis D. Shelden and North Fox Island. In the same article, Oakland County Prosecutor L. Brooks Patterson claims ignorance of any increase in such crimes in Oakland and emphasizes there is no connection between Busch/Greene and the OCCK case. (We might surmise Leonard began planning his meeting around this time.)
• March 12: Busch's name is again tied to North Fox Island in the Traverse City Record-Eagle. (Leonard is probably well into planning his meeting by now.)
• March 17 (day after Tim King's disappearance): Atty. R. Keith Stark, who was representing Busch from the time of the Flint arrests—and must have known what Busch was up to, and about the Shelden connection—is replaced by Jane Burgess.
• March 22: King found dead.
• First week of April: Leonard's meeting invitations sent out. (Wasser-Burgess polygraph may well have also taken place during this week.)
• April 11: no meeting
According to author Marney Keenan, Leonard claimed to remember nothing about the meeting when asked about it in 2012.
That the fix was in by mid-April 1977 seems more than just armchair-sleuth conspiracy theory: the meeting never happened because it would have quickly revealed that the attendees would be looking at suspects no more than two or three degrees removed from a Francis Shelden or H. Lee Busch.
Leonard was convicted of embezzling public funds in 1979:
April 11, 1977
Genesee County Prosecutor Robert F. Leonard sent out invitations for a meeting of MI prosecutors offices and police agencies to cooperate in "ongoing investigations into the sexual abuse and commercial exploitation of children...acute and widespread," by "organized and interconnected" targets.
A copy of an Apr. 6 invitation to meeting, and agenda, was found in the Genessee Co. criminal file on Busch:
According to former Detroit News reporter and author Marney Keenan, this meeting never happened—at least there is no record of it taking place.
May 27, 1977
Sentenced to 2–10 years for CSC with a minor the previous year, Gerald Richards offered insider testimony about child pornography and exploitation before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency, during hearings held hearings in May and June of 1977, for the “Protection of Children Against Sexual Exploitation.”
Richards' statement, p. 35:
June 14, 1977
Greene was given a life sentence and incarcerated in Jackson State Prison.
According to PO David Witter's pre-sentencing report, Greene has been in jail 141 days as of this date, which counts back to Jan. 25, 1977. This figure was given as time-served with incarceration recommendation. (See "Greene's intake at Genessee County Jail" Feb. 22, 1977)
Greene died in prison Dec. 1995.
July 29, 1977
Two years probation for third degree CSC, from Judge Robert L. Templin.
August 13, 1977
The OCCK Task Force received a third tip on Busch—but again, Busch had been eliminated as a suspect in January.
September 20, 1977
Birmingham art dealer John McKinney, 50, was found dead from a bullet to the head in his art gallery on Haynes Street. Police determined McKinney had shared a glass of wine with his murderer
prior, was pistol whipped, allowed to wash up, then was shot with a .22 cal. weapon.
In addition to running a successful art gallery catering to elite collectors, McKinney moonlighted as a chaplin and a counselor, volunteering at the Bloomfield Hills Nursing Center, and working with "troubled individuals" in Detroit.
Det. Cory Williams described McKinney as "a homicide waiting to happen." His wife, Yvonne, with whom he had two children, claimed to have no idea who would want her husband dead. Yet McKinney was known to be having affairs with both men and women, had a hand in some shady art dealings, and was allegedly involved in drug trafficking.
McKinney was last seen having dinner with an unidentified woman at the Landmark Restaurant in Troy a few hours before he was killed.
He also was only a couple of degrees removed from Tim King—it's possible, even likely he had met him. McKinney was business partners with Patrick Coffey (the elder), neighbor of the King family and uncle of Patrick Coffey (the younger) who was close friends with Tim King.
McKinney had at least one tip called in on him in the OCCK case.
Two authors were convinced enough McKinney was the Oakland County Child Killer to write full-length works about it. M.F. Cribari's nonfiction work "Portraits in the Snow" (2011) builds a case for McKinney, while Michael Parrott's fictionalized account "The Oakland County Child Killer" presents a main character who is a ringer for McKinney.
Yet it should be noted that while McKinney is considered a suspect by many with an interest in the case, the Birmingham PD was apparently never interested in him other than as the victim in an unusual, high-profile homicide in their city. And after cross-referencing McKinney with dozens of other names in the OCCK files, Det. Cory Williams saw "absolutely nothing to suggest that McKinney had any interest in children.”
October 28, 1977
Busch pleaded guilty Oct. 14. Given three years probation from Circuit Court Judge Daniel DeWitt.
April 18, 1978
Five years probation for July 1977 offence against Kenneth Bowman, from Judge Earl E. Borradaile.
May 8, 1978
Sentencing on this charge had been delayed for six months on Nov. 14, 1977. Judge Phillip J. Glennis handed down three years probation.
As of this date and since January 1977, Busch:
• Had bonded out on both the Gunnels and Bowman CSC charges, during the six weeks prior to Tim King's abduction.
• Had listed under police interrogation the abduction sites of the first three OCCK victims in chronological order, as places he sometimes met up with boys he connected with through the Big Brother program.
• Had been fingered by Greene for Stebbins' murder.
• Had his name appear in at least two newspaper reports in connection with potentially dozens of CSC offenses in Genesee and Oakland counties; Francis Shelden's name was mentioned in both reports.
• Was arrested in Oakland County for CSC with a 12-year-old boy two weeks before King's abduction.
• Had his name tied to North Fox Island in the press four days before King's abduction.
• Had been seen in Montmorency County with juveniles at his Ess Lake cabin 4 days before King's body was found.
• Confessed to King's murder in a private polygraph exam.
• Had, in the months following King's death, amassed four convictions for CSC with minors, getting 2–5 years probation in each case.
• Had at least three tips called in on him, two before King's body was found and one after.
Six months later Busch would be found dead.
August 7, 1978
Looking outside the MSP ranks for criminal profilers, the Task Force called in Dr. Nicholas Groth from the Massachusetts Treatment Center for Sexually Deranged Persons. Groth's profile supposed:
The killer was intelligent but with no formal education.
The killer was not of a moneyed background or esteemed social standing.
The killer was not in a position of authority in the workplace.
The killer had a previous record of criminal activity for violence just beneath the degree of violence now perpetrated by him.
The sex of the victims was less relevant to the killer than their age, as his core motivation was to avoid confrontation with adult sexuality.
"The Kill Jar," pp. 245–246.
November 14, 1978
On Nov. 14, Flynn did not report for his midnight shift at the police station. At 12:40 a.m., he was found slumped against the steering wheel of his 1973 Buick Skylark in the parking lot of La Salette Catholic Church in downtown Berkley.
Two guns were found in the car. Flynn was holding a .357 mag. revolver in his right hand. A .44 handgun was found lying upside on the front passenger side of the car, between the seat and the car door. He had been shot in the chest twice. One bullet (.357) was found in the back seat. The second (.44) was recovered from his body during autopsy. The .357 was Flynn’s gun; the .44 belonged to Berkley PD Officer James E. Krussell.
Detectives theorized Flynn shot himself in the chest twice: first with the .357, which “passed right through" and didn't kill him; then with the .44, which tore through multiple organs and lodged in his back. Manner of death was “suicide,” cause of death "multiple gunshot wounds to chest."
"Decedent has been despondent since divorce 2 years ago,” medical examiner Dr. Thomas J. Petinga noted. But there may have something else going on with Flynn. He had two tips called in on him in the OCCK case: one on April 11, 1977; the other May 17, 1979, from a woman inquiring about circumstances of his death.
There was also a report he had been sexually abused by priests as a boy—Flynn had been sent to a Catholic-run orphanage at age 7.
Six days later, Chris Busch would be found dead in another questionable suicide scenario. Busch was believed to have been dead for several days, placing his and Flynn's deaths perhaps just a day or two apart.
November 20, 1978
The Busch family's maid arrived at the Busch home at 8 a.m., as she did every Monday, found the door locked from the inside and called Chris Busch's brother, Charles, who (perhaps oddly) called the Bloomfield Township PD before driving over from his home in Birmingham to unlock the door.
The house's exterior doors were locked from the inside yet the door to the garage stood open.
Busch was found, by his brother, in his bedroom, a .22 cal. bullet hole in hole in his forehead, a rifle in the bed next to him. He had been dead for perhaps four days.
Officially ruled a suicide despite many questionable details:
• Body found wrapped in bedding, with right (dominant) hand pinned beneath his torso.
• .41 % BAC—from alcohol.org: ".04 % ... may put you in a coma or cause sudden death because your heart or breathing will suddenly stop." (Busch would have had to effectively aim and fire a rifle at his forehead, with his nondominant hand, lying down, while drunk enough to be hospitalized.)
• No blood/tissue spatter on gun muzzle
• No gunpowder residue on Busch's hands
• Busch opted to shoot himself with a rifle yet he was known to possess a handgun.
• Four .22 shell casings were found at the scene but only one bullet wound in Busch's body.
• .22 cal. bullet hole in found in a wall in the room
• No suicide note.
Items found at the death scene—described by criminologist Michael Arntfield as "a diorama"—included (seemingly bloody) ligatures in plain sight on a closet floor; a drawing of a screaming child on a wall, thought to closely resemble Mark Stebbins; and a 12 ga. shotgun shell conspicuously balanced atop a Bic cigarette lighter on a desktop. It's hard to dismiss the conclusion scene looked staged to implicate Busch in OCCK. (The ligatures would later be lost from evidence storage.)
Time of death was listed as time of arrival, 9:30 a.m. By 1 p.m. it had already been reported as a suicide. Suicide ruling was made before crime scene lab reports were returned two days later. (If cover-up theories are correct, it's possible this hasty ruling was a move to keep a lid on press coverage, as newspapers don't, as a rule, report on suicides.)
Regarding Busch's possible mental state in the days before his death:
Busch's parents, who were in England, said they had last spoke to him three weeks earlier, but that he did not sound despondent. Det. Jack Kalbfleisch said that Busch was scheduled to start a new job soon (as it happened, on the day his body was found) and had expressed to others he was looking forward to this. However, in a statement given to Bloomfield PD Nov. 28, Busch's probation officer, George Enochs, said Busch may have been despondent over the four cases against him. In another statement dated the same day, a co-worker who was friendly with Busch said he once showed her scars on his wrists from a suicide attempt two years earlier, though he "seemed to be joking" about it.
Bloomfield Township PD’s report:
Crime scene photos:
The first officer on the scene, Bloomfield PD Cpl. Richard McNamee, was also a pedophile who had molested children in the community while on patrol, and was arrested on CSC charges in the early 1980s. (See "Responding officer at Busch 'suicide' was a pedophile" July 25, 2020).
The rifle used in Busch's suicide/murder—a Squires Bingham (K-Mart) Model 20, semiautomatic, serial #23-891528—was returned to H. Lee Busch by police promptly upon his request, with the agreement he would return it if police ever requested it. Note: this breaking of the chain of custody for such a key piece of evidence would make it inadmissible for future prosecution of any criminal case.
The Busch death scene is discussed in detail on J. Reuben Appelman's "You Know They Know" podcast:
Note: as of this date, three Oakland County men who had tips called in on them in the OCCK case were murdered or "committed suicide," under odd or questionable circumstances within a 31-day period, two of them possibly within 24 hours of each other.
The next day the Task Force announced it would be shutting down.
December 12, 1978
Sloan was arrested in Alpena for raping two brothers, ages 12 and 14. Sloan had been the boys’ baseball coach in 1977; the boys were the children of a co-worker of Sloan's. In January 1979, he was convicted of felony CSC, given an 18-month sentence, with thee years probation, credit for 214 days time served on another CSC charge earlier in 1978, in Brighton.
December 15, 1978
Established to solve a series of child murders lasting 13 months, with as many as 200–300 detectives on the task force at one point—no charges were ever filed nor any persons of interest named. Dissolved less than a month after Busch's death, with no apparent further investigation into his possible involvement.
Beginning a full year before the task force was shut down, and through March 1980, task force officials and other investigators spun a theory in the news media that the killer may have been put in a mental institution, perhaps by his wealthy family, and that the case would likely go unsolved (emphases added):
People Magazine, December 1977: “Others believe THE MAN MAY BE IN A MENTAL INSTITUTION…. If it ends here, in all likelihood the Oakland County child killer WILL NEVER BE CAUGHT. ‘Probably not,’ even [Task Force Commander] Lt. Robertson admits.”
Royal Oak Daily Tribune, March 22, 1978: Task Force, MSP Det. Sgt. Joseph Krease “also says some persons believe the KILLER MAY BE IN A MENTAL HOSPITAL committed there by wealthy family members. ‘Perhaps someone knows about it, but feels that because he is being treated, there is no reason to come forward.’”
The Eccentric, June 15, 1978: “The theory is that the KILLER'S FAMILY HAD HIM COMMITTED and never notified authorities because they because they believed THIS WOULD PREVENT HIM FROM KILLING AGAIN.”
Detroit News, December 11, 1978: Lt. Robert Robertson: “[It] is bitterly disappointing to have worked so hard and long without finding the one tip, the one name, the one shred of evidence that would put a maniac in prison ... We didn’t solve these crimes. It’s just that simple ... If I had to pin it down, I WOULD GUESS THAT HE'S IN AN INSTITUTION OR THAT HE'S DEAD ... But I wouldn’t bet 10 cents on it and I can’t support it."
The Investigator, Fall, 1979, “Where is the Oakland County child killer?” by Robert H. Robertson and Jerry J. Tobias: “The feeling here is that THE INDIVIDUAL HAS BEEN PRIVATELY COMMITTED TO A MENTAL FACILITY. The family, somewhere during the abduction periods, became suspicious of their member’s involvement and, being financially able, committed the individual. They rationalized that since THIS WOULD PREVENT HIM FROM KILLING AGAIN, and may in fact change his behavior, it was the right thing to do. Turning him into authorities, according to the family, would prove fruitless and would negate him getting the needed therapy. THEY MAY ALSO HAVE BEEN MOTIVATED TO TAKE THIS STEP TO AVOID EMBARRASSMENT TO THE FAMILY NAME ... [S]ince he posed no threat to society while an inpatient, and although his past deeds were horrifying, they nevertheless were done and couldn’t be changed. Thus, they didn’t feel obligated to share this information with authorities.”
Detroit News, March 16, 1980: “Why hasn’t the killer struck again? Authorities admit that of the dozens of theories one is as good as another. But [newly appointed Task Force Commander MSP Sgt. Joseph] Koenig has a new theory ... ‘What if the killer is from a very wealthy family?’ he said. ‘SUPPOSE THE PARENTS DISCOVER THEIR SON IS THE KILLER AND SEND HIM OFF TO EUROPE FOR PSYCHIATRIC TREATMENT. THE FAMILY NAME IS SPARED, their son is receiving treatment and they are sure NO ONE ELSE WILL BE KILLED. THEY CAN LIVE WITH THAT.’”
(Marney Keenan, "The Snow Killings: Inside the Oakland County Child Killer Investigation," pgs. 41–42)
The Detroit Free Press on Nov. 21, the day after Busch was found dead, reported the imminent shut-down of the Task Force nearly a month ahead of time.
January 1, 1980
Not much is known about Parrott, who was a student at Wayne State University during the time of the OCCK murders. Public records indicate he is still alive and living in Michigan.
Parrott's brief, unadorned fictional narrative draws extensively on what would have been part public, part privvy information about the case. The killer and main character is an art dealer and sometimes priest who owns a gallery and has a passion for photography—a strong resemblance to OCCK person-of-interest John McKinney.
As in Weesner's novel (see "The True Detective" by Theodore Weesner" Jan. 1, 1987) Parrott makes clear references to aspects of prime suspects whose names would not be made public for decades. Hartfield's Bowling Alley features, where police speculate the killer probably bowls.
A scene in Chapter 15—speculating along the lines of theories that Chris Busch was whacked by law enforcement—describes another child killer plied with liquor by detectives before they asphyxiate him in the back of a car with an exhaust hose. After he dies, the two cops have the following exchange:
"What about the Task Force?"
"We go on just as we have been for a month or two. Then one day when everybody starts to forget, and believe me it won't take long, we announce that the Task Force is costing taxpayers too much money. No more kids will be missing. Nobody will care. And that's the end of it."
Also as in Weesner's novel, Parrott's killer commits suicide by jumping off a bridge.
January 15, 1980
Detroit News, Jan. 15, 1980
Police to question man about Oakland child murders
A West Bloomfield Township man who kept a drawer of photographs of sexual activities he engaged in with teen-age boys will be questioned about the unsolved murders three years ago of four Oakland County children.
The suspect, a 35-year-old employee of General Motors Track and Coach Division in Pontiac, had recruited three of the boys five years ago, when they were 10 and 11 years old, said Sheriff Johannes F. Spreen.
Spreen said investigators have not discounted the possibility that the man may have been involved with the unsolved murders attributed to the Oakland County child killer whose victims included two boys and two girls.
"It's definitely an area under investigation," Spreen said. "It amazes me this guy was engaging in the type of activities here was in spite of the intensive...investigation underway at the time."
Spreen said investigators believe at least five more youths have been involved with the man over the five year period. He said the search of the suspect's apartment revealed numerous photographs of the man and youths engaged in sexual activities.
The suspect, who is unmarried, faces arraignment today in 48th District Circuit Court in Bloomfield Hills on the charge of third degree criminal sexual conduct.
January 29, 1985
On October 1, 1983, Sloan, then living in a trailer in the abandoned Packard Plant in Hamtramck, raped a coworker's 10-year-old son. At his January 1985 trial (two counts first degree CSC), a psychiatrist testified Sloan was “only capable of sexual satisfaction with small children.” Judge Michael Talbot sentenced him to life imprisonment without possibility of parole on two counts of 1st degree CSC, saying Sloan “should never be allowed in society again.”
The Detroit PD file on this case revealed Sloan was on the run for some months before his arrest, and may have been assisted by Detroit PD Sgt. Richard Clayton, who possibly hid Sloan at his Montmorency County property, "El Rancho Farm." The farm was also the location where Sloan had raped one of the boy victims of his 1978 CSC charges (Det. Cory Williams' notes).
Sloan is incarcerated at Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian, MI.
October 30, 1986
Pedophile and child murderer Ronald Lloyd Bailey was looked at as an OCCK suspect in 2007. Starting in 1975, he spent two years at Detroit's Northville Regional Psychiatric Hospital—a few miles from where Tim King's body was dumped. Bailey was under the care of Dr. Jose Tombo—himself a disturbed sex offender who drugged and sexually abused his patients. Bailey's offenses against children fit both the time frame and general area of the OCCK crimes (one of his victims was from Ferndale) but he was eliminated as a suspect.
On Aug. 31, 1985, Bailey kidnapped, raped and murdered 13-year-old Shawn Moore in Gladwin County, MI. On September 12, Moore's body was spotted near a fishing cabin belonging to Bailey, near Caseville. Bailey was arrested two weeks later in Florida, where he had fled days before the body was found. He confessed to the murder was sentenced to life without parole Oct. 30, 1989. While awaiting trial for Moore's murder, Bailey also confessed to the July 16, 1984, murder of 14-year-old Kenneth Myers. Bailey strangled Myers after luring him away from a parking lot near his home in Ferndale, and was given a second life sentence Dec. 4, 1986.
Bailey is incarcerated at Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia, MI.
January 1, 1987
A Flint native, author Weesner returned to his hometown to research a nonfiction book covering the OCCK investigation as it was happening. A July 20, 1977, introductory letter from publisher Simon & Schuster verified Weesner was under contract to "write a comprehensive account" of the case and asked that any contacts (investigators, victims' families) "extend to him all possible courtesies and cooperation."
The book was never finished. Weesner would later say it was because "There wasn't an ending" ("The Kill Jar," p. 140). This is plausible: an incomplete manuscript (it purportedly ran to 500 pages) with no satisfactory conclusion is no great prospect for a writer or a publisher.
But if Busch cover-up theories are correct, it's conceivable Weesner was pressured by someone to kill the project. The detective novel Weesner would publish in 1987, drawing partly on his OCCK research, reveals beyond ambiguity he was familiar with both Busch and Greene as suspects years after they had been cleared (or buried) in the case and decades before their names would become infamous. And, in more recent years, Weesner would more than once claim he didn't remember anything about the case he wrote several hundred pages on—again, plausible but perhaps also consistent with coerced forgetfulness.
In "The True Detective" (a page-turner by any standard) the killer, Vernon, is a deeply disturbed university student who kidnaps and rapes a 12-year-old boy—based on Mark Stebbins—and holds him captive for several days before killing him and dumping his body in the snow. Vernon's character and the book's plot are an amalgam of fiction, and details lifted from the investigation. Examples:
• The killer lives near a lake "the shape of a dollar sign," evident reference to Ess Lake.
• A "friendship with a teenager" is mentioned, which seems to hint at a Gunnels-type figure.
• He drives a Pontiac, reference to vehicles believed to be used in dumping Robinson's and Mihelich's bodies.
• He mentions, to his victim, having another car, needing repair, that belongs to a friend, perhaps an oblique reference to a Sloan connection.
• He seeks emotional connection with his victim—according to reports from one of Greene's psychiatrists, his preferred approach with his victims was to develop what he believed to be a level of intimacy with them before raping them.
• He is afraid to urinate in public—another psychiatrist's report reveals one of Green's big hurdles in adapting to penitentiary life was an uneasiness about using the toilet in front of other inmates.
• He commits suicide
Weenser died in 2015.
February 1, 1988
Roughly eight years after his release from prison, Gerald Richards was arrested and charged by the U.S. Postal Inspector for trafficking in child pornography. Richards claimed he was completely reformed, and had been acting alone to gather evidence on a child porn dealer so he could turn him in, and that his arrest was a case of entrapment by the post office.
September 13, 1988
Barry King, along with Birmingham PD detectives Don Studt and Herb Duncan, interviews pedophile Richard Lawson at the Macomb County Jail, where we was awaiting trial on four counts of CSC with minors. Lawson had phoned King from jail and told him he knew who had killed Tim.
Lawson, an informant for the Detroit PD during the 1970s, described how Detroit's Cass Corridor child pornography ring operated, estimating that roughly 140 children were involved. He named Francis Shelden as a financier of child porn films, and said the likely reason Tim was abducted was because he fit the general appearance of a child Shelden was seeking for a film.
Lawson referred to three other suspects by number:
Number One was a gambler who frequented late-night poker games in the Highland Park area, trafficked in cocaine, and procured children for other pedophiles (Number One's identity remains unknown.)
Number Two’s name was "Bob," who made films in an apartment in the Cass Corridor area, his production equipment funded by Shelden. (Number Two was later identified as Bob Moore.)
Number Three was a pedophile who worked for Ford Motor Company and had moved out of Michigan years prior. Lawson said this man was capable of murder. (Number three was later identified as Ted Lamborgine.)
Lawson had asked for immunity in exchange for this information; records show his child molestation case was indeed dismissed.
Lawson's information from this interview—which was apparently not investigated further at the time—was uncovered eighteen years later by FBI Agent John Ouellet, during preparation for Lamborgine’s trial on 14 counts of CSC.
Interviewed by Task Force investigators in the mid-2000s, Lawson claimed that when he was an informant, Detroit police turned a blind eye to his crimes with children in exchange for information leading to the arrests of other sex criminals. Former Detroit PD Chief Ike McKinnon (one-time head of the Sex Crimes Unit and one of Lawson's handlers) repeatedly denied this claim.
June 19, 1989
Richard Lawson, a notorious pedophile and former cab driver for the Detroit Cab Company, murdered his former boss, Exavor Giller, in Livonia. Motive for the murder was robbery—Lawson knew Giller took home large amounts of cash from the cab company. Lawson and his accomplice/victim, Richard Mudica, 16, waited in a car across the street from Giller's residence until they realized he wasn't home, before breaking in and ransacking the house, stealing bags of coins and four handguns. Giller and his wife returned home while Lawson and Mudica were still there. Lawson knocked Mrs. Giller unconscious with the butt of a shotgun and shot Mr. Giller dead in the driveway, then the two absconded.
Giller's murder remained unsolved until 2005, when Livonia PD Det. Cory Williams, investigating the cold case, was tipped off to Lawson's involvement by an informant.
September 1, 1991
Over a nine-month period, Helen Dagner met with self-proclaimed OCCK suspect John Hastings at a Big Boy restaurant in Alpena, MI. Through their series of conversations, Hastings, whom Dagner claimed to have met through a friend, convinced her he was involved in the murders.
Fifteen years after the murders, Hastings—like Chris Busch, a Bloomfield Village resident—had (or appeared to have) intimate knowledge of the crimes, including both publicly-available facts and the sorts of details only the killer might know. He drew maps of the victims' drop-off sites on the backs of place-mats. He claimed the shotgun used to shoot Jill Robinson belonged to his brother and made other incriminating statements.
in 2006, someone claiming to have sat within earshot of Dagner and Hastings at Big Boy during one of these conversations contacted police to corroborate Dagner's story. Described by author J. Reuben Appelman as a "middle-of-the-road conservative ... engineer with no criminal record," the "Alpena Witness" stated he had stumbled upon Dagner's website when his "blood froze." He remembered the night of Dec. 26, 1991, when he had eavesdropped on Hastings discussing in detail a series of child murders—a conversation so bizarre the witness had written it off at the time as a joke or a hoax. The witness had been in Alpena on vacation and hotel records confirmed his stay.
In 1977, a tipster had reported Hastings as a person of interest in the OCCK case. He was questioned and eliminated as a suspect, until Dagner's claims about his admissions put him back on the radar. Hastings passed a polygraph on the case later in 1991.
Still, Dagner—who eventually become one of the internet's early and high-profile cybersleuths—later claimed on her website, cloakanddagner.com, that Hastings was the Oakland County Child Killer and pressured investigators to look into him, corresponding with multiple law enforcement personnel for more than two decades.
A popular misconception about Dagner is that she set out to make a name as a cybersleuth, stirring things up among the online true-crime community that formed on the web in the 1990s. In fact, the OCCK case came to her, beginning with Hastings' unsolicited admissions. In the words of Cathy Broad, "She became a cybersleuth when the pigs blew her off." Dagner took her investigations online because nobody would listen to her, kept interest in the case alive through its coldest years, and dropped the occasional bombshell—for example, posting about Chris Busch weeks before his name first appeared in the media.
Dagner did, however, post much case information on her website that was inaccurate, and later would admit to investigators that one of her key claims about Hastings—that he possessed tape recordings of OCCK victims voices while in captivity—was made up to generate interest in her website.
Reading Dagner's many pages of notes to police regarding Hastings, it's hard to come away with the impression she was merely a credulous dupe, or that Hasting's spent months pranking her just for the laughs and free meals at fast-casual restaurants.
Helen Lillian Dagner, 77, died Nov. 27, 2018, in Cheboygan.
In 2009, following a DNA swab and another polygraph, Hastings would be ruled out as a suspect by investigators—a questionable elimination, in light of the polygrapher's report.
December 29, 1995
Greene, 45, died of a heart attack while watching television
in his cell. Time of death was uncertain—guards found him sitting upright with his eyes open, having died perhaps a few hours earlier.
In March 2008, Det. Cory Williams interviewed Greene's former Jackson cellmate, who said Greene had readily talked about the children he had raped in the past, and once bragged that he had gotten away with murdering four kids. A polygraph later indicated the cellmate was truthfully reporting Green's admissions.
While in prison, Greene had made at least one attempt to contact investigators. Flint PD Det. Tom Waldron would recall that in the early 1980s Greene had contacted him and said had something to tell him. Waldron wanted to follow up but his chief would'nt give him permission, saying “That has nothing to do with us. You’re not going.” Waldron said he always regretted not going on his own dime.
("The Snow Killings," p. 103)
Sitting in prison for 18 years before his death, Greene was never again looked at for the OCCK murders. Author J. Reuben Appelman's explanation for this: "Greene wasn't charged because Busch was involved." ("The Kill Jar," p. 247).
March 2, 1996
Child pornographer Robert “Bob” Moore (a.k.a. "Bad Eyed Bob"), 55, died of a heart attack at his home in Detroit. His body was discovered days later on his kitchen floor, chewed to pieces by his three pit bulls.
Moore lived and worked in Detroit's Cass Corridor, a neighborhood known for child exploitation in the 1970s, where he produced child porn films funded by Francis Shelden.
July 1, 1996
Shelden was reportedly found dead of natural causes in his apartment in Amsterdam, age 68. His attorney, L. Bennett Young from Birmingham, confirmed his death but gave no further comment. Shelden was never extradited to answer for his crimes on North Fox Island 20 years earlier.
September 2, 1999
Berkley PD Det. Ray Anger and Oakland County Medical Examiner L.J. Dragovic exhumed the body of David Norberg, a former Detroit area autoworker who had been interred in Recluse, Wyoming.
Norberg had a history of making sexual advances toward children in his neighborhood and in his own family, drove a small blue car and had tips called in on him in the OCCK case. He left Detroit in 1980 and died in a car accident a year later.
Anger believed a small cross inscribed with the name "Kristine," found among Norberg’s possessions had belonged to Kristine Mihelich. According to Anger, when he showed it to Kristine's aunt, she said it was identical to one she had won at the Romeo Peach Festival. "When I showed it to her, she had a total emotional breakdown for close to an hour," Anger recalled (Detroit Free Press, July 17, 2012).
When Norberg's DNA was compared with a hair found in Tim King's throat it was not a match. Anger was ultimately satisfied Norberg was not involved in the OCCK murders.
January 26, 2005
Following up a lead from an informant, Det. Cory Williams arrested Richard Lawson in San Diego, CA, for the 1989 murder of Exavor Giller, as Lawson was coming in for a scheduled meeting with his probation officer.
Prior to Lawson's arrest, Williams had stumbled upon the biggest break in the OCCK case to date: Looking into Lawson's criminal history, he found a police report from Dormont, PA, where Lawson had been arrested for armed robbery Aug. 1, 1989. Angling for a plea deal, Lawson offered that he had firsthand knowledge of the "snow killings" in Michigan—a reference that meant nothing to Dormont police but was of intense interest to Williams.
During interrogation regarding the OCCK crimes, Lawson revealed his connections to other known pedophiles in Detroit at the time of the murders, and gave Williams the name of Ted Orr—real name Ted Lamborgine. Lawson also offered a lead or profile of the OCCK suspects as two male pedophiles who ran together, one who preferred girls, the other boys.
Lawson died in prison in 2012.
August 24, 2005
When Parma Heights, Ohio, police pulled Theodore Lamborgine over and told him detectives from Michigan were in town and wanted to talk to him, he responded, “I knew my past would catch up to me.”
During a three-hour interrogation with Det. Williams, Lamborgine admitted his involvement in pedophilia in Detroit in the 1970s—including participating in “boys’ night out” forays where he, Lawson, Bob Moore and others would pick up young boys and molest them—but insisted he had nothing to do with the Oakland County Child Killings.
Lamborgine had molested perhaps hundreds of child victims over many years yet had never been arrested. He left Detroit in 1978, not long after the killings stopped.
January 1, 2006
Starting in late 2005, Michigan State Police begin reconstituting OCCK Task Force, announcing the reopening of the case for the 30th anniversary of the crimes (2006).
July 17, 2006
In an remarkable coincidence, Patrick Coffey, a polygrapher and childhood neighbor of the King family, met fellow polygrapher Larry Wasser at a polygraphers conference in Las Vegas. When Coffey read Wasser's business card and saw he was based in Oakland County, he mentioned the OCCK case and his friendship with Tim King. According to Coffey, Wasser's demeanor changed severely as he divulged, "I tested the guy who killed your neighbor boy.”
Apparently an "excited utterance" (see link below) by Wasser—and a violation of professional ethics on his part—it provided, by wild chance, the biggest break in the three-decade-old investigation.
Pressed for details, and evidently realizing he had already said too much, Wasser offered only that both the suspect and his attorney were deceased.
Wasser would later deny making these statements in an interview with author Marney Keenan, calling Pat Coffey’s info “totally bogus” and stating, “I never tested anybody involved in the Oakland County Child Killings" ("The Snow Killings," p, 161).
Coffey related the conversation to the King family, who passed it along to Det. Cory Williams, who now had the lead of: dead suspect, dead attorney. Wasser was later served an investigative subpoena by Williams, and fought giving testimony in court. He then negotiated an agreement with the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office whereby he would help find the subject's name so long as he didn’t have to go under oath.
Excited utterance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excited_utterance
September 6, 2006
Lamborgine definitively failed a polygraph examination about his involvement in the OCCK killings. In the history of the three-decade investigation, more than 300 suspects had been given polygraphs. Lamborgine was the first ever to outright fail (allowing an asterisk for the 2008 overturning of Greene's 1977 polygraph).
Lamborgine could not be arrested on the basis of a failed polygraph. A search warrant executed on his apartment yielded no physical evidence or leads.
September 20, 2006
The brains behind Shelden's operations on North Fox Island, Malcolm McConahy, a.k.a. Adam Aristotle Starchild (his name changed to distance himself from a criminal history of child pornography and CSC with minors) died of tumors.
A MENSA member and preternatural con artist, Starchild's exploits read like a supervillain's curriculum vitae:
• After the fall of Brother Paul's Children's Misson, he stole from Shelden's trust fund, established for Shelden to live off while a fugitive abroad, and entrusted to Starchild to administer.
• He faked his own death
• Once sued President Nixon, and his own mother
• Established "The Minerva Group," an umbrella organization for everything from drug and gun smuggling to stock inflation.
• Published how-to books on setting up non-traceable trusts, establishing dual citizenships and passports, tax-free international living, etc.
Starchild's 2006 demise may have been faked, too: The Minerva Group's vice president, Javier E. Castano, was listed as remaining with the company after Starchild's death. Yet Castano can be found elsewhere as one of Starchild's aliases, and an obituary for Castano has him dying three years earlier ("The Kill Jar," pp. 222–225).
April 20, 2007
Offered an extremely generous plea deal in exchange for telling what he knew about the OCCK crimes—he could have served just 10 years for 14 felony counts of CSC with minors (not related to the case)—Lamborgine chose to keep quiet and plead guilty, and was given three life sentences.
Lamborgine is incarcerated at Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia, MI.
November 30, 2007
Following up the lead provided by the King family, via Patrick Coffey, Det. Cory Williams of Livonia PD and MSP Det. Garry Gray identified Christopher Brian Busch as a strong suspect in the Oakland County Child Killings. This led to the discovery of possible participation by Busch's associates, Gregory Greene and Vince Gunnels.
Polygrapher Larry Wasser was served an investigative subpoena by Williams Aug. 9, 2007, to give the identity of the unnamed test subject who admitted to involvement in OCCK case during the 1977 private polygraph interview conducted by himself and attorney Jane Burgess: all Wasser had to do was confirm that Chris Busch had confessed to three of the murders (which investigators in effect already knew).
Wasser fought the subpoena all the way to the Michigan Court of Appeals, which upheld the lower circuit court's ruling: Wasser had to tell what he knew.
On November 30, 2007, Wasser met with Williams but rather than positively identify Busch by name, filled in a gestural portrait of him with vague "recollections" like: “Something sticks in my mind about Birmingham”; “Did his parents have a home up north?” Then: "Okay … I asked [the suspect] did you ever take a polygraph, he said ‘Yes.’ And I said, ‘Who gave you the test?’ He said ‘Michigan State Police.’ Now, I said, ‘What was it regarding?’ He said, ‘… those missing kids in Oakland County,’ something to that effect.”
Busch was officially named a suspect by the OCCK Task Force following this. Five years later, the Oakland County Prosecutor would inform the King family Busch was no longer a suspect.
Noteworthy regarding Wasser's unwillingness to talk was his relationships with his attorney Larry Feinberg, and attorney Jane Burgess and her husband—all or them friends and/or associates in the Oakland County legal community.
A detailed narrative of the series of events between Wasser's 2006 statement to Coffey and the Task Force's discovery of the Busch lead can be read in Cathy King Broad's Sept. 30, 2010, letter to the editor of Downtown Publications:
February 27, 2008
A review by three independent examiners of Busch's and Greene's polygraphs—both administered by MSP polygrapher Ralph Cabot—that cleared them in 1977 found that Busch's chart was perhaps inconclusive, with possible deception indicated on key questions, while Greene was determined to have failed outright.
July 3, 2008
Months before Busch's name would go public as an OCCK suspect, and about 45 minutes after she had received and email from MSP Det. Garry Gray letting her know John Hastings' DNA was not a match for hair evidence in the case, Dagner sent Gray an email describing a conversation she had with Hastings in 1991.
Dagner had told Hastings her husband committed suicide Nov. 20, 1983. Hastings pointed out this was a strange coincidence—he knew someone who had committed suicide on the very same day five years earlier. According to her email to Gray, Dagner had made note of this at the time but had only rediscovered it a few weeks prior and had been "working day and night on follow-up."
"Anyway," wrote Dagner, "this guy who shared [her husband's] death date ... is Chris Busch who lived right by [Hastings] ... 1 mi. and 467 ft. ... if you take the long way."
In his notes regarding this exchange, Gray acknowledges an "either factual or coincidental connection" between Hastings and Busch (and speculates Dagner may have been getting information from someone close to the investigation).
October 10, 2008
A polygraph exam of Gunnels was inconclusive. Investigators discovered he had thrown the test off by holding his breath—a trick he learned from a cellmate. Interviewed later, the cellmate said Gunnels had told him that the man who had molested him as a teenager had also murdered children.
In a March 2008 interview with investigators, Gunnels denied remembering anyone named Greg Greene, despite their known association, and police reports of Greene having raped Gunnels in 1977. During his Oct. 10 pre-polygraph interview, Gunnels, shown a photo of Greene but not told who it was, shouted at FBI Agent John Oulette: "What are they doing showing me a picture of Greg Greene?"
While it seems impossible Gunnels does not remember Greene at all, it makes sense he would deny remembering him. Something deeply personal happened between Vince and Greg, who himself named Gunnels as someone he would like to see dead.
October 28, 2008
The Busch family home at 3310 Morningview Terrace, Bloomfield Village, was Chris Busch's primary residence during the period of the murders, and possibly a location where OCCK victims were held captive, sexually assaulted or murdered. The warrant authorized the search for human and animal hairs, carpet fibers, blood and DNA evidence that may have be preserved in the house's air ducts, beneath carpet, baseboards and moldings, etc., through the years (the home was no longer owned by the Busch's at the time of the search).
A great deal of physical evidence from this search was logged but apparently never processed.
March 1, 2009
During the first week of March 2009, the FBI’s DNA lab at Quantico returned test results to the MSP Task Force for a hair recovered from Kristine Mihelich’s jacket—it was a positive mtDNA match to Vincent Gunnels.
March 26, 2009
Gunnels, on parole in Butte, Montana, for charges unrelated to the OCCK case, is interviewed by investigators.
Det. William's notes:
"[Began interview by] reading him his rights and explaining that the Task Force is now in possession of [his] DNA that was located on the shirt of Kristine Mihelich. Sgt. Gray tried to show Gunnels a picture of Mihelich while explaining the DNA. Gunnels would not look at the photo and continued to sit back in his chair with his eyes closed, listening. Gunnels did not deny anything, but simply said he wants an attorney and he’s not saying anything without one."
Later, during a phone call between Gunnels and his sister, Karen Zaspel, recorded from the Butte County Jail, Gunnels made what sounded like an indirect admission in explaining how his DNA ended up on Mihelich's body: "I wasn't there when it happened." He also seemed to implicate his brother, Paul, stating: "if it comes down to it he’s gonna have to show his face up in court one day to me."
Oakland County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Paul Walton downplays the evidentiary value of the mtDNA, arguing it represents only a one in 150 likelihood the hair actually came from Gunnels—not a significant enough probability given what was then a metropolitan population of 5 million ("Child Killer," docuseries, WDIV).
Walton does not compute the statistical weight of mtDNA matching the close associate of a pair of convicted pedophiles with strong circumstantial ties to OCCK victims—a population, including other cohorts and victims, of perhaps three to five on a given day. Nor does he acknowledge the gravity of Gunnel's statement that a hair, which he does not attempt to deny is his, must have ended up on Mihelich's body because he, Gunnels, was frequently in Busch's car—an explanation/admission that still connects both Gunnels and Mihelich to Busch and his vehicle.
August 10, 2009
Detectives Cory Williams and Garry Gray interviewed John Hastings—named as the Oakland County Child Killer by Helen Dagner since the 1990s—at a police station in Atlanta. Hastings arrived for this meeting carrying a large book, "The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers," and said he was “fascinated” with cold case murders.
Hastings didn’t deny he had met with Dagner and convinced her of his involvement in the OCCK case, but explained he had lied, stringing her along for fun, and for the free meals she bought him at the restaurant where they met.
Dagner had earlier claimed that Hastings had tape recordings of one or more of the OCCK victims' voices while in captivity. Pressed by Williams prior to interrogating Hastings, Dagner admitted she had made up the story to generate traffic on her website.
Hastings would take a second polygraph on his involvement in the murders (the first administered in 1991) and provide a DNA sample that would later clear him as a possible donor of the hairs found on Mark Stebbins and Tim King. He was ruled out as a suspect ("The Snow Killings," p. 140).
However, Investigator Steve Duncan of the Georgia Highway Patrol's polygraph division, who tested Hastings Oct. 9, reported he had showed up for the examination "very agitated," "made a big deal out of" the test questions, and said Williams and Gray had lied to him. By the end of the exam Duncan had "no question in his mind" Hastings was involved in the OCCK crimes, and that he "absolutely" knew Christopher Busch and Greg Greene.
Note Det. Williams' Jan. 13, 2021, comment on a thread discussing Hasting's "open" status as a suspect:
August 11, 2009
Douglas Eugene Bennett, the "third man" arrested along with Busch and Greene in Jan. 1977 on CSC charges in Flint, was interviewed by MSP Det. Garry Gray in Russellville, AL.
Bennett said he had never met Busch or Greene prior to the arrest, and only met Greene at that time, while in Genesee County Jail with him. Bennett and Greene were later incarcerated together at Jackson. Bennett admitted he "knew of Busch" but only through conversations with Greene in prison.
According to Bennett, Greene was extremely upset he had gotten life on the same charges for which Busch had been given probation. At no time during any of his conversations with Greene, Bennett recalled, did Greene ever mention Busch in connection with anything but CSC offenses with minors—Busch was never characterized as violent or implicated in murder.
Bennett was ruled out as an OCCK suspect after this interview, which so little interested Gray it was not transcribed "due to no credible substantive information."
October 26, 2009
After more than three decades, with no substantive information forthcoming from investigators regarding the unsolved murder of his son, Barry King goes public with what he and his family have learned about Christopher Busch and his associates since Larry Wasser's 2006 revelation to Patrick Coffey, taking his story to the local media (Marney Keenan, “Finding Timmy’s Killer,” The Detroit News, October 26, 2009, A1).
January 8, 2010
On Feb. 26, 2010, Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper would call a meeting of her hand-picked OCCK team at the county offices in Pontiac. About two-dozen officials from MSP, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, the Oakland County Sheriff ’s Office and local police departments met for a PowerPoint presentation by Assistant Prosecutor Paul Walton, detailing the strengths and weaknesses of the investigation. The biggest take-home was: there's no new evidence.
In fact, since January 8 the MSP and OCPO had had DNA testing results on the Stebbin's/King/Sloan hair evidence in hand, from the FBI lab at Quantico, and had not shared the information with the WCPO or other agencies on the Task Force ("The Snow Killings," p. 184–187).
March 10, 2010
Almost five years after OCCK Task Force investigators named Busch as a suspect, Birmingham Police Chief Don Studt calls Barry King, at the request of Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper, to advise him that Christopher Busch, and his associates Greg Greene and Vince Gunnels, are no longer considered suspects by the prosecutor's office. Cooper offers no reasoning for this conclusion. (See "Wasser gives up Busch (kind of)" Nov. 30, 2007)
King commences Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against both the MSP and the Oakland County Prosecutor, seeking access to case documents.
October 1, 2010
Three human hairs, recovered during the initial investigation, were found by the FBI to have the same mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA): one found on Tim King’s groin area; another found on Mark Stebbins’ clothing; the third found by a police search of Arch Sloan’s car shortly after Stebbins was found dead.
This was (is) the strongest physical evidence in the case to date, connecting a convicted pedophile, Sloan, with the first and the last OCCK victims. But comparison with a DNA sample from Sloan established the hairs were not his.
Comparison was also made with a DNA sample from a relative of John Crosbie's, the pedophile and Sloan associate believed to be an occasional driver of Sloan's Pontiac—Crosbie was not a match.
Det. Cory Williams noted that the hair donor/suspect "had access to this vehicle and more than likely knew and/or associated with Sloan and/or Crosbie."
The hundreds of other DNA profiles that have been checked against the hairs and ruled out include: Chris Busch and Greg Greene (by samples from all known family members), as well as all their known associates and victims; Ted Lamborgine; David Norberg; John Hastings; Harrison "Fred" Kenner; Todd Warzecha; Robert DelProposto (by blood relatives), Ronald Johnsonbaugh (by blood relatives); William Yarbrough (by blood relatives).
December 2, 2010
Polygraph found “significant responses to the pertinent test questions indicative of deception.”
Sloan passed his polygraph on Mark Stebbins' murder Feb. 22, 1976—forty years earlier.
December 15, 2010
King's successful Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the MSP resulted the release of more than 3,400 pages of case files on the Christopher Busch investigation. King paid more than $11,000 in clerical costs for the documents.
King lost his FOIA case against the Oakland County Prosecutor when the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld that Cooper's office had no responsibility to provide any information explaining her March 1, 2010, decision that Busch was no longer considered a suspect.
King's blog gives a full account of his legal wrangling with authorities over the release of information on the case: http://afathersstory-occk.com/
January 1, 2011
A somewhat arbitrary date to hang this entry on, but certainly by the beginning of 2011, with his name and the FOIAed details surrounding his death in circulation, various theories about Busch's suspicious demise were being spun in the public imagination (and continue to be). They can generally be summed up under three scenarios:
The police killed him:
Having realized at some point they had had a prime OCCK suspect in their hands and had let him go to kill again, yet being unable to charge him because his family was auto industry royalty, a small cabal of police plotted to extrajudicially execute Busch. The plausibility of this theory is tempting: if Busch was simply hands-off to the cops, it's not hard to imagine a few conscientious, perhaps pride-stung officers (maybe from Birmingham PD or the Task Force) making sure he didn't get away with it, and that he would commit no more crimes in their jurisdiction(s). They went to his house one night, plied him with liquor, shot him with his own rifle and staged the "suicide" scene as if to say "this was the guy."
His family killed him:
H. Lee and Elsie Busch had a lot to lose. More than just their rarefied position in the community, their wealth was at stake. Their son was raping kids all over the state, making or distributing child porn from a secret pedophile island, and costing them a fortune in legal fees. More than that: while they no doubt had strings to pull among officialdom to keep Chris out of court, out of prison, out of the headlines, they would have been hard-pressed to stop a civil suit if any victims' families learned he was party to serial kidnapping and child murder. The standard and burden of proof is lower in a civil case versus a criminal case—they stood to lose millions. Regardless whether Chris ended up in court again in a civil suit or just a continuing string of CSC indictments, the family name would continue appearing in headlines, H. Lee could lose his lofty position at GM. Following the April 1977 Wasser-Burgess polygraph, they knew Chris was culpable/liable in the OCCK case. So they arranged to have him killed, or one of the family members did it (Chris had been molesting his nephews for years, adding another layer of motive to this theory.) The problem with this theory is the scene staging—if Chris' family killed him, they would have disposed of incriminating evidence, not left it lying on the floor or taped to the wall.
His crew killed him:
The Michigan pedophile mafia, let's call it, saw Chris as a weak link and a dangerous loose end. He's in and out of court on multiple CSC charges. He's been connected in the press to child pornography operations both on North Fox Island and in Oakland County. His associates know he's criminally culpable in the OCCK murders, and if indicted could implicate any number of others involved. So they have him whacked. They may have used somebody close to him, perhaps Gunnels, to do the job—blankets on the floor of the room indicated someone had possibly slept there, which if true would have been someone Busch was comfortable letting crash at his house.
Note that these theories are elastic in ways that allow overlap. To give just one example, supposing theories about a pedophile ring in top GM management are true, it's not hard to sketch H. Lee Busch into a pedophile syndicate execution scenario with family endorsement.
July 17, 2012
In a surprise press conference—and in an sharp departure from protocol regarding confidentiality in on-going investigations—Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper announced the “tremendous breakthrough” of DNA evidence in the case, linking an as-yet-unidentified suspect to the crimes. Cooper offered a seemingly reasonable explanation for this annoucement: “There are times when investigators need the assistance of the public ... Release of information may spark a memory or encourage someone to come forward.”
She went on to explain that hairs found on the bodies Mark Stebbins and Tim King, and in Arch Sloan's Bonneville, were a genetic match. Then she added: "testing, however, revealed that the hairs do not come from the driver of the vehicle. He is not the donor of either the hair found in the Bonneville or the hairs found on the boys.”
Cooper's statement that the hairs linking two of the victims to Sloan's car were not, in fact, his own—a fact which Sloan would not have known but for this public announcement—destroyed any leverage the evidence might have given investigators to pressure Sloan into talking.
July 1, 2015
Beginning around this time and in the years since, people began to come forward claiming to have been victims of organized pedophilia in the Detroit area from the mid-1970s and into the 1980s. Some of these stories allege a ring of pedophiles within General Motors' executive management at the time.
One woman said she had been sexually abused for years by her father—who held a low-level management position at GM—and then by his associates, at pedophile parties held at private homes in upscale Detroit suburbs like Palmer Park and Bloomfield Hills. Her father was quickly promoted after he started bringing her to these orgies; her family moved into increasingly nicer homes and neighborhoods. After her father was long dead, she still feared telling her story might put her family in danger.
This letter, sent to Barry King in Feb. 2014 by someone "very close" to the woman above, corroborates her allegations with mention of a private investigation:
Another woman, whose mother worked as a "personal assistant" to GM executives, claimed she was passed around to various "babysitters" whose job it was to prepare children for appearances in child porn films. She recalled that filming took place in a large storage shed; the movies were transported in “Scooby Doo” VHS cases (Keenan, "The Snow Killings," pp. 172–173).
May 1, 2018
When mtDNA haplogroup codes developed from the hairs found on Stebbins' and King's bodies, and in Sloan's Bonneville, were entered into a genealogy website, the database showed 11 world regions consistent with the profile, nine of which were European countries—indicating a high probability the donor of the hairs was a white male. With such a broad genetic profile, it is impossible to do any meaningful genealogical searches through online databases, as was done in the Golden State Killer case:
February 28, 2019
In a Feb. 28, 2019, phone interview with Birmingham PD Commander Chris Busen, Kenneth Bowman provided a number of details about his time with Chris Busch, Greg Greene and Vince Gunnels in the late 1970s, including:
• One day Greene drove Bowman out to Grand Lodge, MI, and choked him unconscious while forcing Bowman to fellate him. Bowman came to to find Greene holding a cigarette lighter to his face to see if he was still alive.
• Greene and Busch once took Bowman out to a "run-down house" in Fenton or Livingston County. An older white male came out. Busch waited in the car while Greene "did all the talking." The man took a look at Bowman and pronounced him "too old."
• Describing Busch's personality, Bowman said he was "a fun guy to be around" and wasn't violent. Green was violent, scary, physically imposing.
• Busch and Greene used Bowman as bait to pick up other kids.
• Bowman has grown up in Flint with Gunnels and described him as "a little slow" and a "follower" who would do anything on a dare and was easily manipulated.
• Bowman believed Greene had "made" Gunnels murder Busch, but gave no details (see "Busch' murder theories," Jan. 1, 2011).
Bowman is currently incarcerated at Parnall Correction Facility in Jackson, MI:
July 25, 2020
A tip from a reader of Marney Keenan's "The Snow Killings," published in June 2020, led to the discovery that the first responding officer to the scene of Busch's death, Bloomfield PD Cpl. Richard McNamee, was a pedophile who had molested children (including the tipster) in Bloomfield Township while on patrol in the community in the 1970s.
McNamee arrived to “check on the welfare” of Busch at 8:37 a.m. Nov. 20, 1978, and was the only officer on the scene for perhaps as long as half an hour.
McNamee was arrested on CSC charges in the early 1980s.
October 5, 2020
James Vincent Gunnels absconded from parole in Kalamazoo County, MI, on a three to 23-year sentence for selling methamphetamine. Still at large as of this writing (1/17/20). Gunnels had earlier absconded Dec. 16, 2019.
November 19, 2020
Barry King, 89, died at his home of a degenerative motor neuron disease, having spent more than four decades seeking justice for his murdered son, and accountability from law enforcement agencies investigating the crime.
The video presentation "Decades of Deceit" (2020) covers King's and his family's years-long battle with local and state law enforcement, in court and in the media.