Detroit Free Press, September 2, 1999: More kids deaths may be linked; Accuracy of warrant debated in ’70s cases, September 2, 1999.

By Hugh McDiarmid, Jr.

Free Press Staff Writer

The suspect in the four Oakland County child killings whose body was exhumed Tuesday in Wyoming may be linked to a fifth murder and a child who has been missing for 20 years.

According to a search warrant unsealed Wednesday in Campbell County, Wyo., Oakland County investigators believe David Norberg was involved in the murder of a Royal Oak girl whose body was found in an Ohio river in 1976, and a Warren girl who disappeared in 1979 and was never found.

The warrant also says Norberg may have possessed three pieces of jewelry similar to those owned by three of the victims, and says Norberg sexually and physically abused his wife and sister–sometimes in ways mimicking the abuse inflicted on some murder victims.

Bone and tissue samples from Norberg were taken during Tuesday’s exhumation in hopes of linking him through DNA testing to a strand of hair found on victim Timothy King.  Two additional pieces of hair were found inside another victim’s mouth, and sperm was recovered from another body, according to the warrant.  But investigators said Wednesday there was no such evidence.

“The warrant may say that, but it’s not correct,” said Berkley Detective Ray Anger, who has led the exhumation and testing.

The warrant says that Jane Louise Allen, 13 at the time, disappeared in August 1976 after leaving her boyfriend’s Pontiac house intending to hitchhike back to Royal Oak.  Her body was found four days later in the Greater Miami River in Ohio.

Her hands were tied behind her back with torn pieces of a T-shirt in a method identical to the way Norberg occasionally bound his wife, Sharon Norberg, the warrant says.

“The T-shirt was torn into strips of cloth tied together to form a rope with knots tied every few inches along its length,” states the warrant.  “Sharon Norberg also said that David Norberg had, on occasion, bound her hands behind her back using a rope with knots tied every few inches.”

Norberg also abused his sister and wife, according to the warrant.  He “would pinch their noses and cover their mouths with his hands until they almost lost consciousness,” states the warrant–a method likely used to kill 10-year-old Kristine Mihelich, one of the child killer’s victims, according to the autopsy report.

Kimberly King, a Warren 12-year-old who disappeared while walking in her neighborhood in September 1979, also could be linked to Norberg, according to the warrant.  Norberg lived two streets from her.

Sharon Norberg also told investigators that Norberg quit driving his blue Opel after investigators questioned him in the child killings.  The Opel, like the blue Gremlin identified by a witness as possibly belonging to the killer, is a compact car.  Norberg resumed driving the Opel after moving to sparsely populated Recluse, Wyo., in 1980.  He was killed in a car wreck less than a year later.

[ .  .  . ]

REFERENCE TO THE SPERM AND ADDITIONAL HAIR SAMPLES IN THE WARRANT CAME DIRECTLY FROM ORIGINAL INVESTIGATIVE DOCUMENTS, SAID JIM HALUSHKA, CHIEF OF WARRANTS FOR THE OAKLAND COUNTY PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE.  HE SAID THAT IF THAT EVIDENCE DOESN’T EXIST–AS ANGER CONTENDS, IT’S NEWS TO HIM.  [No kidding–see FOIA document 02499:  Regarding autopsy of Mark Stebbins, performed by Dr. Patanga at O.C. M.E.’s office, as noted by a Livonia PD synopsis dated 4/1/77, by Det./Sgt. Varajon:  “they obtained semen from anal and oral cavities . . .  Slides of semen obtained from Dr. Patanga to be transported to MSP crime lab in Northville.”]

“EITHER RAY WAS CONFUSED OR IN ERROR WHEN HE TOLD YOU THAT,” HALUSHKA SAID WEDNESDAY.

THE SPERM REFERENCE “WAS DIRECTLY WRITTEN ON THE AUTOPSY REPORT,” AND TRANSFERRED TO THE WARRANT REQUEST THAT ANGER REVIEWED AND APPROVED, HE SAID.  ANGER SAID HE WAS UNAWARE OF ERRORS IN THE WARRANT.

INVESTIGATORS HAVE SAID THE PRESENCE OF SPERM NOTED IN THE ORIGINAL AUTOPSY REPORT ON THE KILLER’S FIRST KNOWN VICTIM, MARK STEBBINS, WAS LATER DETERMINED TO BE INCORRECT.  [So where are those slides?!]

The hairs in Kristine Mihelich’s mouth were eventually identified as her own, and an animal’s, Anger said.

Steven Lorch, laboratory director for the State Police Northville Forensic Laboratory that is preparing the evidence to be sent to the FBI lab in Washington, said he’s unaware of DNA evidence other than the one hair.

“That’s all there is, he said.”

Kind of weird, given what we know now, isn’t it?


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