It’s been a while.  I know I have promised some posts and scans and have not delivered.   I will pick it up after this post.  This post references information provided by Larry Wasser at a national polygraph conference held in Las Vegas in July 2006.  I have previous posts describing the Wasser information, which you may have to go back and find if this post doesn’t make sense.   

This past weekend I was in Birmingham, MI, for a class reunion.  It was wonderful.  The past two class reunions I have been reminded in a very profound way that all of us navigated childhood, adolescence and young adulthood together, as well as Tim’s murder.  Tim was murdered three months before we graduated in 1977. 

While I was in Birmingham this past weekend, one of my close high school friends (also my Dad’s attorney in the FOIA case filed against the Oakland County Prosecutor) and I filmed our sections of a DVD my Dad is making to document what we have seen taken place in the investigation since 2006.  A professional company has handled the taping and will produce the DVD.  There will be limited editing (it’s expensive) and it will be very long.  It is not You Tube material.  It will probably be 4-5 hours long, if not more.  My Dad has pulled this together and done the lion’s share, but two attorneys, an ex-law enforcement agent, and I also participate. 

As my Dad said during taping, this is the only way he knows to get our side of the story out.  Law enforcement, the OCP, the lower courts in Oakland County, as well as the Michigan courts of higher jurisdiction, have twisted this investigation beyond belief.  I will say now what I said on tape:  It sickens me that we have to do this.  That we had to live through the experience in 1977; that we had to live through what happened in real time from 2006 to the present; and that we had to relive it on tape, telling our story. 

Here are a few things that were not lost on me during the hours on Saturday that this last portion of taping was taking place.  It is July 2013.  At a polygraph conference in July 2006, Larry Wasser told Patrick Coffey he had conducted a private polygraph on a man later determined to be Chris Busch, who had claimed to be involved in the murder of my brother.  A year later, in July 2007, after all hope had been abandoned that Larry Wasser might do the right thing, I called a detective in the Livonia PD to tell him about this lead and to ask for help.  I knew the MSP would toss this in the circular file.  I finally had found someone who would listen. 

Furthermore, the week of my 30th reunion, in November 2007, Patrick Coffey flew to Detroit on his own dime to testify under oath in the proceedings brought to get Larry Wasser to divulge the name of the man he talked about with Coffey at the polygraph conference.  The Saturday of that reunion weekend, I got dragged to a breakfast with someone from Bham PD my Dad asked me to bring up to speed on the previously secret proceedings to get Wasser to do the right thing.  The response I received damn near ruined my weekend.  

Here it is the 36th reunion, and thank god I had a great time Friday night before I had to sit before a camera Saturday morning and tell this story yet again.  So is this crazy?  I think it just might be.  The weekend of the 40th reunion, I can assure you I am going to sleep in on that Saturday. 

The more important point here is the DVD.  I believe it will be made available to anyone who wants a copy, for an as-yet to be determined donation amount to the Tim King Fund.  The Tim King Fund was established as a trust in April 1977, after our family received an unexpected number of donations in the wake of Tim’s death.  Every year since 1977, funds have been distributed to help abused kids in the area (Care House is one example), to buy playground equipment for area playgrounds, and to the little league baseball organization in Birmingham. 

When the DVD is ready, I will post information here.  My Dad has done an amazing job pulling the information together and presenting it in as coherent a manner as is possible.  The story is complex and convoluted, but it’s definitely worth watching. 

I will close with a quote from a letter I wrote the Livonia detective in September 2007, after he and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office ran with the “Wasser /Chris Busch lead.”  I read parts of this letter on tape.  Just remember this letter was written six years ago, some three months before we ever heard the name Chris Busch:

I will say this, however:  these cases have been in serious need of some sunshine to disinfect the taint around how they have been handled.  If it turns out that this guy is the killer, that he was questioned, polygraphed and cleared by the MSP, they had better go for the straightforward, ‘mistakes were made,’ approach and not try to hide anything or destroy any records.  I am sure if the MSP think about it long enough, they will conclude that people are much more understanding and accepting when they hear this sort of information directly from the police, rather than from a media outlet.

Personally, if this works out, down the road I would want to know who the guy was, who turned him in (when and why), how many times his name was turned in, whether his name was turned into a local police department as well as the task force, when he was questioned, when he was cleared, the last contact they had with him, what other crimes he committed or is alleged to he committed before and after he was cleared, the cars he had access to, where he lived, where he could have kept the kids hostage, where he worked, when and how he died, and whether police believed he acted alone and if not, who else was involved.  This is not because I am transferring some lingering rage about what happened to the MSP.  I just think we deserve to know the truth.  All of it.  I don’t think that is too much to ask.  I would also like for Patrick to review this guy’s MSP polygraph chart and to hear his impressions of the exam results.

And the first names out of Det. Gray’s mouth at any press conference that might take place about this had better be  ‘Detective Sergeant Cory Williams and Assistant Prosecutor Rob Moran.’  My buttons have already been pushed with how people have been treated in the wake of this ‘rejuvenation’ of the task force.  I am hopeful the MSP can modify its approach/demeanor as this thing (hopefully) starts to wind down. 

So, that’s where I am coming from, Cory.  Thank you for listening.  I will gladly answer any questions you have of me after reading this saga.  While I still suffer from some degree of remorse for not waiting until after the recent [2007] polygraph conference to call you and am concerned about what that kook, W, might try to pull with Patrick, I wouldn’t do anything differently.  It just is what it is.

Thank you for having an open mind, for being tenacious and for putting this together and taking a chance.  I realize how much work you have put I so far and have some idea of how much more remains.  I totally appreciate it, and I will always be grateful.

I wrote this letter in JULY 2007.  Six years later, I still maintain we are entitled to the answers to the questions I posed, no matter who the suspects.  Maybe ultimately you can’t fight City Hall.  But you can document your attempt.  If it happened to us, it can happen to you.  That’s the bottom line, and the reason you should watch this DVD. 

9 thoughts on “36th”

  1. Hi Cathy;
    I wish you the best on the video preparation. Anxiously waiting for it to come out. I did come and talk to your father briefly at his press conference in Troy last year between reporters. So many unanswered questions on Busch, other matters and the whole investigation as far that goes.

  2. In light of all of the information about this case that has come to light in the past decade or so–including the FOIA documents–has (or is) anybody attempting to write a serious book about this case? Frankly, if I had both the time and the access to the information, I’d write it myself, but it seems to me that I have heard it mentioned (perhaps somewhere on this blog, perhaps elsewhere) that there is a book already in progress, hopefully not one of these lurid “what-if” fictionalizations, but one attempting to provide a journalistic approach to the facts, along with independent analysis based on those facts.

    Given the odd silence from law enforcement on this case (save for the occasional public outing of a Gunnels or a Sloan), that silence on its own is a story worth reporting, to where I’m surprised that such a book has not yet appeared.

    That said–and this is perhaps is my personal prejudice–one reason I suspect that such a title has never been published is that because these murders happened in the Midwest, away from any major media center, they never really attracted the sort of attention from the publishing industry that they might have gotten had they occurred closer to a major media center such as New York City–the BTK murders in Kansas in the 1970’s, for example, never really received any national attention until that suspect was arrested and convicted in 2005; conversely, the 1970’s “Son Of Sam” attacks in New York City has always received a disproportionate amount of notoriety to where so-called “Son Of Sam” laws were enacted because of speculation that book publishers had considered offering that murderer a lucrative book deal.

    1. Andrew, I know of two books in progress. Serious books. If I had to guess, at least one more will be published by someone involved in the investigation when all is said and done. I agree with your observations; however, I would also add that everybody wants “an ending” and this case doesn’t have the kind publishers “like.” Nobody seems to get that, whether by circumstance or design, this case will probably never have an ending. That is a story in itself. The story is every bit as compelling as true crime stories following the typical script. Back in the day authors wanted to write the next “In Cold Blood,” but gave up when nobody got caught. You have to think outside the box on this one.

  3. That’s just it—a major reason I’d like to see a journalist take a run at this case is that it is no longer just a mere “case” in terms of a crime, a victim, and a guilty party, but almost a…I want to say “community touchstone”, although I really dislike the word touchstone. My only real connection with these murders is that I lived nearby, I remember when they happened, and what motivates me is when I read an interview with your father in one of the local papers, and somebody might comment at the bottom of the page to the effect that these murders happened a long time ago, and why is the Free Press or the News wasting space on this stuff when there are more important things going on today? My most sensible urge is to somehow explain to people who weren’t alive in 1977, or who didn’t live in Oakland County in 1977, the extent to which these murders altered these local communities. Unlike certain recent murder trials that I won’t specify, in which the media has ramped up the drama and the hype in an effort to be able to create more news (incredible live pictures of public reaction to the verdict!) and, let’s face it, to get ratings and sell advertising, the reverberations from these crimes are still being felt by many. These crimes robbed an entire community of its innocence.

    A tidy narrative? A tidy narrative, back when I was a kid, would have been: A boy vanishes while riding his skateboard outside the local candy store. Police believe that he has been kidnapped. His parents plead for him to come home. The police set about the task of finding him. Posters are circulated with a sketch and description of a car. Six days later, we get the Hollywood ending: The police crack the case, the boy is reunited with his parents, and everybody lived happily ever after.

    So any publishers that would prefer to publish true crime books that follow a particular narrative really need to stand in line. Again, my connection with these crimes is only tangential; I was not quite nine years old in March of 1977, but my memory of those six days, lived in real time, with no 24-hour news channels to ramp up the drama—are still quite vivid, particularly the horrifying ending, the polar opposite of what I had been led to expect by such wacky G-rated Disney child-kidnapping flicks as “No Deposit, No Return”.

    But I digress. Obviously these crimes also had a much more profound impact on those individuals directly connected to them. Another reason that it would be nice if a journalist took a serious look at this whole thing (again, hard to call it a mere “case”) is what you, Catherine, have been saying since the start of this blog: What happened with this investigation? Frankly, this is something that I wish the media would do more often, as they are in an ideal position to do so: question law enforcement, rather than just reprinting their press releases. These crimes, and the investigation into these crimes, are two distinct but equal elements of this overall matter, and I’d rather see a journalist handling such an inquiry, as police investigations of the police tend to be both of questionable value and profoundly unproductive.

    Obviously, Catherine, my perspective is quite different from yours. I keep returning to how much has changed since 1977, how it was a much different time in so many ways, and how this investigation has awkwardly attempted to bridge that gap. Many of these shifts, both technological and cultural, have already been discussed in this blog. But at the same time, many of the original locations are gone. Part of me wants to make sure that this stuff is somehow recorded, and available to those who want to learn more about these crimes, and not for the sake of the lurid details. Maybe I can accept not knowing exactly what happened. But I do want to know what there is to know. I would like whatever record that there is to be set straight.

    Believe me, when I’m up late writing like this, the question that recurs to me is simple: what happened to Tim? Trying to comprehend the horror he endured haunts me. But the idea of a writer using such lurid speculation to create a sensational story is also extremely tasteless, to say the absolute least. But this whole thing—this whole case, there I said it—is about so much more than that.

    This case matters, dammit. Somebody needs to write about this case, not to explain what may or may not have happened to these four children, but to explain to those who have never heard about the case why it still matters all these years later.

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