I came home from a trip to beautiful flowers last night, sent by a dear friend last Friday, March 22, which marked the 36th anniversary of Tim’s death.
Yesterday a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Debbie Jarvis, the mother of Kristine Mihelich, who was abducted and murdered in January 1977. The above link does not discuss the particulars and hopefully I can read the judge’s decision to consider her rationale. Among the comments to the link is the ever-present, classic misunderstanding of why these lawsuits get filed: “Hey, how dare you try to cash in on the death of your child?” I no longer respond to comments like this. I know everyone thinks they know what they would do if they found themselves in a similar situation, but trust me–they don’t. Debbie Jarvis isn’t after money. She wants the feds to step in because this thing reeks so badly.
One thing is very obvious here. None of the leads were adequately exhausted. Officials lament the fact that people keep talking about various suspects and theories, in essence saying “get over it; it will never be solved.” That may be, but if that is the case, come clean about what you DO know, tell the communities it was botched so badly that there will never be adequate answers (if any at all), and quit spending money on the charade.
My brothers and I had never been to a funeral before Tim’s funeral on March 25, 1977. A family friend took my brothers to go buy suits for the service. I went by myself to a store in downtown Birmingham to buy something black. I paid for it with a credit card and had to show i.d. The woman helping me was older than I am now–she had gray hair, I remember that. She looked at my license and said in the most unbelievably weird, school teacher-esque voice: “I certainly hope you aren’t related to that little boy who was abducted.” I told her that, yes, Tim was my little brother. She was completely flustered after that. It was the first of many times I would have to navigate inappropriate comments by adults and end up trying to make them feel better after they stepped in it. I was 17 and I remember thinking “wow, that was so out of line.”
A friend of my Dad’s took me shopping that week to buy a light-blue warm up suit for Tim to be buried in. We found all kinds of dark-blue warm up suits, but nothing in light-blue. We went to quite a few stores. The closest we came was at the Varsity Shop where we found a dark-blue warm up suit, but it was too big. Tim was 4′ tall and 63 lbs. The woman waiting on us said that if it was just a little big it would allow for growing room. We politely declined and gave up.
This man drove all over suburban Detroit after he dropped me off until he found a light-blue warm up suit for Tim. It was the right color and the right size. When we saw Tim at the funeral home, he was dressed in the suit this guy found for him. We did not have a wake. It was just us and my Mom’s sister and brother.
This funeral home is no longer in Birmingham, but a neighbor from our old neighborhood was a funeral director there. He had kids younger than Tim. He couldn’t have been kinder or more cool. In hindsight, I don’t know how he did it. Tim looked larger than he was because god knows what they put in someone’s body to make it look “normal” after an autopsy. He had a large bruise on the left side of his forehead, shining through the pancake makeup. He was placed so that his left side was against the wall, away from us. I had never seen or touched a dead body before. His hands were incredibly cold.
A limousine picked us up to take us to Holy Name for the funeral service. First ride in a limo. My Mom told me not to wear mascara and to bring tissues. When we got out of the limo, the sound of cameras buzzing was almost overwhelming. I didn’t realize that when you are “the guests of honor” you walk in after everyone else has been seated–walk past everyone and go to the front row.
The service was in many ways beautiful. It was multi-denominational and there was a priest from Holy Name, a priest from our old parish, St. Alan’s, as well as a rabbi. Some cardinal was there, too–a cardinal who I researched and learned approved the transfer of a pedophile priest turned into the task force as a suspect and cleared, to other parishes where he continued to rape boys.
My Mom told me that the guy playing the organ for the service–Mr. Callaghan–said as they were preparing for the service: “I didn’t know this was going to be a St. Alan’s production,” referring to the fact that the priest from our prior parish would also be officiating. I believe his son, Sean Callaghan, is the FBI S/A who was most recently assigned to this case, and who, in my opinion, has treated my Dad and one of my brothers like shit. I keep telling you this whole thing is so bad it is Karmically appalling.
Undercover officers took photos of as many people as they could at the service. People walking in, people parking nearby, people in the church. We were all asked to look at these photos after the funeral and identify people we knew. Those photos are sitting in some goddamn file somewhere and somebody should be going through them again looking for the creeps whose names have bubbled to the surface since 2005. Plenty of other names have been bandied about since the task force was “rejuvenated” in 2005 in the wake of the arrest and conviction of Richard Lawson (now deceased) and Ted Lamborgine for the rape of many boys in the Detroit area. But the photos from Tim’s funeral, like those of the men who showed up at the crime scenes (body dumps of Kristine and Tim) are apparently not worth perusing. Even though the “conventional wisdom” at the time was that this killer was so, so sick that he would in fact show up at his victim’s funeral.
Along those lines, here’s another thing my Mom told me and her sister after we viewed Tim’s body but before his funeral–that some asshole knocked on the door of the funeral home late at night, told the funeral director that he was a relative of Tim’s and had driven all night for the funeral and could he please see and stand near Tim’s body? God only knows if this was followed up on, but this freak was not one of our relatives.
The headline in the Detroit Free Press on March 26, 1977, the day after Tim’s funeral read: “Someone Protecting Slayer of 4 Children, Police Insist.” Ya think?! A photo shows a young boy looking at Tim’s coffin with the most terrifying look on his face. Tim’s coffin is covered in flowers, and a floral rendition of a big baseball bat and baseball–his favorite sport was baseball. The photo caption reads: “A hockey teammate says goodbye to Timothy King. He is wearing team jacket–the same one worn by Timothy when he was last seen alive and when his body was found Tuesday night.”
“The Back Page” of the Detroit Free Press ran a separate story that day. “Pews Are Filled for Timothy King’s Funeral: Chums Carry Young Victim’s Coffin.” Free Press staff writer Bill MIchelmore wrote:
Sunlight streamed trough the stained-lass window of the suburban church and played tinted patterns across the plain white coffin of the murdered boy. Atop the casket sat flower replicas of the child’s most treasured possessions–his baseball bat and ball.
Once, when he was asked to draw his picture of God, the bright, athletic sixth-grader at Adams Elementary School in Birmingham depicted God as a baseball player. ‘Now that is what I call knowing God. There is nothing complicated about God,’ the Rev. Robert Burke [the priest the old organ player was so bent out of shape about having present] told some 400 people. They were gathered in Holy Name Roman Catholic Church in Birmingham for the funeral of the fourth south Oakland County child to fall victim to a twisted killer.
Timothy King’s still-warm body was found on a gravel road in Livonia in northwestern Oakland County Tuesday night, six days after he disappeared after leaving a Birmingham drugstore where he had gone to buy candy.
An autopsy showed the popular, straight-A student had been smothered only a few hours before his body was found.
Tim’s parents, Marian and Barry King, sat at the front of the church with their other children, Kathy, 17; Christopher, 16, and Mark, 14. The sunlight that illuminated Tim’s casket also touched the family and the two people sitting with them–Barry King’s father and a Birmingham plainclothes policeman who has been living with the family since the boy was found.
A few rows away, the pews were filled by boys in bright red jackets, all members of Tim’s hockey team. The casket, which was carried into the church to the strains of a violin playing Bach’s ‘Be Thou with Them,’ was carried by six friends.
About a dozen other plainclothes policemen were inside the church and a dozen uniformed officers patrolled outside.
The Oakland County Prosecutor recently responded to my Dad’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents provided to two media outlets in response to their FOIA requests (including the FOIA requests themselves). This time she did not object, necessitating yet another trip to court. After all, they provided this information to the media, so there was no way to make a strained argument that the father of a victim could not receive these same documents. Most of them are documents we have already seen in the MSP files, however, the OCP wasn’t as heavy with the black magic marker. They are basically un-redacted. This gets interesting with the report on Vince Gunnels’ second polygraph (another post). For now, consider this supplemental report by Jr. Brandenburg of the Montmorency Sheriff Department dated March 3, 1977. This explains, among other things, why on March 19, 1977, the party store owner up north knew Chris Busch should not have been in the presence of minors, and why she begged police to go check out the cabin at Ess Lake.
Complaint No. 0685-77
Interview with Christopher B. Busch, on 3-3-77 at 2:30 PM. I gave Mr. Busch his Miranda Warnings, I asked him if he would give me a written statement, on the incident at Ess Lake, with James V. Gunnels. Mr. Busch said, I will not give any written statements until I talk to my attorney. All I can say is that I did not use any force on James at the Cabin. Chris stated that he did not have any local boys at Ess Lake at any time. All the boys were from down State. He would not mention any names of them. Busch said he knew Gregory Green, at no time did he bring him to Ess Lake. He said that Green was violent, and had tried to strangle a subj in Flint Michi he believed it was Kenneth Bowman. Busch said the cops have all his movies and photographs, and are holding them. Said he did not have any at the Cabin. Chris stated that his problem started when he was 17 yrs, at a boarding school. His father has had a Cabin on Ess Lake for 12 yrs and he likes it. Chris said he had his first woman at the Cabin two weeks ago.
Here’s how I found out my brother was dead. There were a few people at our house the evening of March 22, 1977. There was a small t.v. placed on a table in our living room at some point during the week. Johnny Carson was on. Black and white t.v. News ticker at the bottom of the screen said: Body of a young boy found on side of Gill Road in Livonia. My Mom and I turned and stared at each other. Somebody–a woman, I can’t remember who, said something like “we haven’t heard anything, don’t jump to conclusions, blah, blah, blah.” A priest from our old parish and the police chief came over a few hours later to “break the news.” It sucked. Two neighbors came over after they heard and sat with us. As the sun started to come up, they said they wanted to leave before my brothers woke up and came downstairs. I remember people discussing who would tell my brothers. Nobody wanted to do it. I volunteered and was quickly given the job. That sucked, too.
Ok, second attempt.
March 20, 1977
The following letter to the public–and to the kidnapper of her 11-year-old son–was given to a Detroit News reporter Saturday by Mrs. Marian [sic] King of Birmingham. Her son, Timothy, has been missing since Wednesday night.
I am expecting at any moment for the side door to bang open and hear Tim say ‘Have we ate yet? I mean, have we had dinner yet?
When that happens, I will run for his favorite Kentucky Fried Chicken and mix his glass of Ovaltine.
Then, when he has had the usual eight Oreos and some plain milk to dunk them, Tim and I will go on our delayed shopping trip. We had planned to buy a much-wanted light blue warmup suit with the money he has saved from his newspaper route.
Wherever Tim is, he is distressed about worrying me. He has always left notes or called to tell me where he is. He is impatient to return to rehearsing for his role as ‘Mike TV’ in the upcoming production of ‘Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ at Adams School.
He is also eager to play on his basketball team, try out for Little League and his new career as a soccer player.
There are no words to express how much we all miss Tim. We can hardly wait to see him, hug him and hear his latest collection of jokes.
It is my hope that Tim is not frightened or hungry and that his cold is not any worse.
I appeal to all of you from the bottom of my heart–help bring him home to us very soon. Do whatever you can to help find him, and call the Birmingham police with any possible information which might be useful.
We are overwhelmed at the outpouring of love and support from neighbors, friends and concerned persons.
The magnificent efforts of the Birmingham police and their associates from all of Michigan are beyond any expectations.
We are eagerly anticipating Tim’s safe arrival. Someone, please, give him all our love until we can do that ourselves.
Tim’s autopsy three days later would reveal that he had eaten chicken shortly before his death. He was buried on March 26 in a light blue warmup suit.
So, when weasels like Charles Busch, Larry Wasser, James Feinberg, Vince Gunnels and others (some in law enforcement) complain bitterly about how hard the past few years have been and how much they have “gone through” since leads in the case have surfaced, I have no sympathy. Even if they think in their heart of hearts that Chris Busch was in no way involved, why did they play unnecessary games? Why didn’t they just man-up? Why did you fuck around in the district court and the court of appeals? And as for those who victimize children and then do whatever they can to hide their sickness, and those who did whatever they could to preserve these animals’ “reputations”–they are the worst kind of cowards. My Mom was a thousand times stronger than any of these people.
I am just going to put this out there. I have been having serious computer troubles since the article about my blog appeared in The Birmingham Eccentric. I just was unable to post an entry I spent a fair amount of time on–and it got lost in the ether instead of going where these mis-fires usually go–to the draft file. These are the kind of computer issues I had a few years ago when I was communicating with an author about the Fox Island pedophile ring. She had worse computer issues during that time on her pc, as did one of her sources. Big Brother and the Thought Police all wrapped into one. These are not typical computer issues, certainly not for a Mac.
My brothers and I often “joke” that there is no need to contact the MSP, the OCP or the FBI about anything since they are already reading our texts and emails. I know this sounds incredibly paranoid. I am also betting monied and “upstanding” men associated with pedophile rings back in the day would not hesitate to retain a hacker.
There are a number of very suspicious suicides associated, at least tangentially, with this case. This has caused my brothers and I, along with members of another victim’s family members to repeat to each other on occasion: “I am not now, nor have I ever been, suicidal. If I die any time soon, run a tox screen and ask a lot of questions.” We laugh about it–but not that hard.
And, I am going to go back in and post the same damn thing that went into the ether a few minutes ago. Give me 30 minutes.
The Detroit Free Press reported the following on the third day my brother was missing:
Officers have received some tips from people who might have seen Timothy after he left the Hunter-Maple Pharmacy and these tips are being checked out. ‘I feel there are people out there who may have seen something but don’t know what they’ve seen,’ said [MSP] Sgt. Krease. ‘If someone in the neighborhood sees an old beat-up car driving down the street they call police. Send the local physician through in his Cadillac and no one thinks anything about it. People saw something and they don’t realize what they have seen. It can be a sophisticated businessman, a physician or the next-door neighbor. We may be talking about a very prominent person, a well-dressed person.
‘Look at your neighbor, your friends, your relatives,’ said [Birmingham Police Chief] Tobin. ‘See if there is any similarity with the profile.’ Tobin said the King family was bearing up exceedingly well during the ordeal. The neighborhood was quiet Friday and Birmingham schools reported normal attendance.
The Detroit News quoted Chief Tobin: “We feel certain that someone knows who abducted Tim. We are hoping that this [$25,000] reward will motivate someone with information to call us.”
Tim would be alive, held captive, for three more days after this. Whoever had that information was silent. The quote often attributed to Edmund Burke (1729-1797) couldn’t be more apt. “All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”