“Please continue to have talks with your children about safety and strangers.”

This week a reader sent me a recent stranger-danger alert issued by a Birmingham, MI elementary school.  My brother Tim went to a nearby elementary school until he was abducted and murdered in March 1977.

The principal describes the incident and notes a police report was filed.  Thank god an adult witness intervened.  I have to say that I agree with the reader that, given the dark history in Birmingham surrounding this issue, this was too tame.  I will next post an email alert I received from our school district in Illinois as a contrast. 

I hope the Birmingham PD issued an immediate press release in addition to this school alert.  Did an alert go out for the entire school district, or just this school?  This man will just move to another school to try to lure kids.  The press release I received from our district involved an attempted lure in neighboring district.  Was there a description of a car or a license plate?  Did a police sketch artist sit down with these kids and the adult witness? 

Communities like Birmingham seem so concerned with the bad press they may get by acknowledging the ugly truth about these incidents, that they throw other potential victims under the bus.  If the communities in Oakland County didn’t have this one hammered home in 1976 and 1977, there is almost no hope.  The reason multiple stranger danger incidents occur in a community is because there is no fear of being noticed or caught by the police. What does that tell you?

I think communities like this tend to have a long, sad history of conveniently sweeping realities under the rug.  Crime prevention involves acknowledging problems, healthy awareness, and high-visibility police patrol.  This is the responsibility we bear on behalf of our children. 

One thing that is immediately evident upon looking at the limited case file information obtained via FOIA on the OCCK case (Chris Busch documents) and the limited investigation by the MSP into the Fox Island pedophile/child porn ring (Francis Shelden documents):  Oakland County had more than its share of pedophiles, operating with complete impunity, in the 1970’s.  Have things changed?  How would we ever know?  Maybe long-time Birmingham resident Bill Shaffer (age 71), arrested on federal child porn charges this summer, can comment on that.Image

8 thoughts on ““Please continue to have talks with your children about safety and strangers.””

  1. Another case from the 1970’s, in which a community failed to recognize the danger in their midst, are the Houston, Texas rape-homicides of at least 28 teenage boys by Dean Corll, Wayne Henley and David Brooks. These murders took place over the course of three years, yet police apparently dismissed ALL of the victims as runaways after a cursory investigation into their disappearance–no bodies weren’t discovered until after Henley led police to the them after his arrest for murdering Corll. Henley and Brooks remain jailed to this day.

    I’ll admit that I haven’t been able to read about the Corll case in much detail, in that these were highly disturbing crimes involving rape and torture. Google with caution. As has been suggested in regards to Busch and Greene, these guys in Texas took polaroids of their victims; an extremely sad and upsetting polaroid of one unidentified victim was published last year in an effort to identify him. Again–I’m not kidding–google with caution. These guys were sick, their crimes disturbing.

    Significantly, however, the basic facts of the Corll case do lend significant credence to the possibility/theory that multiple individuals could be directly involved with the murders of these four Oakland County victims, possibly including/involving a younger James Gunnels-type who was initially a victim of an older pedophile.

  2. It’s on letterhead with teddy bears and not on bright-colored fluorescent paper with caution signs? Was this even distributed school-wide? I can’t tell if Jill is a teacher or school principal. I realize the children aren’t tax-generating businesses or buildings that house city employees, but someone needs to install surveillance cameras at the park.

  3. I attended Quarton as a child. My son went there for kindergarten. This is truly frightening. This is the best they can do to protect the children?

  4. The interesting stigma attached to the OCCK are the hairs left on the bodies. One, two perhaps. Never more than that is mentioned. And, the volunteer police officer that also doubled as the media hound Psychiatrist.

    The first- leaving a pool tournament. A letter which mentions “8” two times sent to volunteer mouthpiece for the PD.
    The second-shot in the head. A premonition which had to be resolved by counseling.
    The third-two hairs in the mouth. (Dental records are typically required to identify remains in some cases, which is always a good idea to have a copy around in case you die and someone imitates your dentist).
    The fourth-a spring child-day befour St. Pat’s and found on the 22nd.

    Big bucks go out to find the killer. No one. A suspect commits suicide on yet another holiday.

    1. Your comment is intriguing but I can’t understand most of it. I’ve read a lot about this case but I don’t know what you are referring to (except “the suspect commits suicide on a holiday”). Could you repost with more specifics?

  5. This comment is directed to those readers who have children at this time. Just to reiterate that which is sometimes recommended by LE: Tell your child that if he is grabbed, cornered or taken he/she must FIGHT. NEVER knuckle under to the promise that if they are quiet and cooperative they will be freed. It is essential that they understand that screaming, yelling, punching, doing damage to the eyes and face of the perp, making a car wreck on purpose by yanking the steering wheel. trying to wrest away a knife or gun, causing as much chaos as possible is PREFERABLE to hoping that the perp will be kind. They will NOT let you go. Getting cut, shot or injured is PREFERABLE to trusting such an individual.

  6. What a joke , contact police??? They don’t give a shit.. What a job, Patrolling the Streets Birmingham ? Please have another cup of coffee..

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