Police commentary as of 3-19-77

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.”


Saturday, March 19, 1977

The headline on the front page of the Detroit Free Press read:  “Man Who Saw Missing Boy Is Sought; They Talked in Birmingham Lot.  The lead headline in The Detroit News read:  “Police certain boy is kidnap victim; Birmingham offers $25,000 reward.”

The Free Press article described the incredibly painful press conference my parents gave at the Birmingham Police Department the day before.  

And Timothy’s father, Barry King, a Detroit lawyer, issued a poignant plea for his son’s return.  ‘We’ve been realistic about the problem (the possibility of abduction) since it happened,’ King said.  ‘I want to say “hi” to Tim.  We love you.  Stay tough.  Say your prayers and we’re with you buddy.’

In a personal plea to the possible abductor at a news conference at the Birmingham police station, King said:  ‘I don’t know if you have children or want them.  Please treat Tim the same way you would your own child.  Talk to him.  He’s a talkative kid.  I don’t know if you have a brother or want one.  But [C]athy, Chris and Mark (Tim’s brothers and sister said to treat Tim just like you would a brother.  But we want him back.  Please send him.’