Who is James Vincent Gunnels (aside from an habitual liar)?

This post is based on a memorandum prepared by my Dad.  FYI, Gunnels was rearrested on July 30, 2013 in Kalamazoo for “Obstructing by Disguise.”  Pretty obscure-looking statute, which apparently is most often used when a person is trying to evade law enforcement by way of a disguise:

750.217 Disguising with intent to intimidate.

Sec. 217.

Any person who in any manner disguises himself or herself with intent to obstruct the due execution of the law, or with intent to intimidate, hinder or interrupt any officer or any other person in the legal performance of his or her duty, or the exercise of his or her rights under the constitution and laws of this state, whether such intent be effected or not, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00.

History: 1931, Act 328, Eff. Sept. 18, 1931 ;– CL 1948, 750.217 ;– Am. 2002, Act 672, Eff. Mar. 31, 2003
Former Law: See section 19 of Ch. 156 of R.S. 1846, being CL 1857, § 5838; CL 1871, § 7671; How., § 9253; CL 1897, § 11323; CL 1915, § 14990; and CL 1929, § 16581.

An experienced criminal, JVG knows how to work the system once he is behind bars.  Just like old Arch Sloan.  Mouth shut, do your time, work in the prison garden, don’t know nothing, man.   All they’ve got on JVG is a mtDNA match to a hair found on Kristine Mihelich.  LE calls it a very, very weak match because it is mitochondrial and because it is based on degraded evidence.  And, of course, the entire hair was extinguished in running this DNA test, as is apparently often the case in cold cases.  There just wasn’t much there to work with.  But JVG had an explanation for that hair being on Kristine nevertheless.  Here’s my version of his explanation:  Hey, it must have transferred from Busch’s car (which I was in many times) to Kristine when she was in the car, not because I carried her body slung over my shoulder when I helped dump her body on Bruce Lane.  Thank god people kept their mouths shut and the MSP did a poor job of retaining the evidence in the most notorious unsolved serial murder case in Michigan history, right Vince/Jimmy?  He’s not going to talk about anything he might know about the child murders.  And he’s not going to talk about being a lure for Chris Busch and Greg Green.  It’s all water under the bridge.  He was born in October 1961, so he was 15, 16 in 1976 and 1977.  Pretty young; probably incredibly fearful before years in the prison system hardened his heart completely.  His entire adult life turned into an obstruction by disguise, like the rest of the people who knew about pedophile rings and murder and never spoke up.  Anyway, here’s the memo prepared by my Dad:


FROM:     Barry L. King

DATE:      February 21, 2014

RE:          Oakland County Child Killer (“OCCK”)


1.  I first heard the name “James Vincent Gunnels” at the October 27, 2009 meeting with the Oakland County Task Force.  None of my questions were answered at this meeting.  Erica McAvoy, the sister of Kristine Mihelich, then asked about a DNA match between Gunnels and a hair found on her sister’s jacket.  Paul Walton, Chief Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor, answered that it was mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited from your mother, and is not as reliable as nuclear DNA.  At the time, I knew nothing specific about DNA and have only educated myself since that date.  To my knowledge, this is the only DNA match between any of the victims and any identified suspect.

2.  Some time later, I learned that Gunnels was the victim in the criminal cases against Christopher Busch in Midland and Montmorency Counties.  During our search for the truth, my family ascertained that Gunnels was also a companion of Busch after these initial encounters.

3.  Gunnels called me in the Fall of 2012 and asked if he could meet with me in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  My son, Chris, and I visited with him in October 2012 at the home of his Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor in Kalamazoo.  At this meeting, Gunnels read to us his handwritten notes on the two encounters with Busch in Midland and Montmorency Counties.  He told us those were the only times that he had visited with Busch.

4.  In July 2012, Walton delivered to attorney Lisa Milton, Chris and me the transcript of the preliminary examination in the Oakland County criminal case against Busch involving another child.  The child’s mother testified her child left the house on the afternoon of the “encounter” in a Pontiac car occupied by Busch, Gregory Green, Brent Busch (a nephew of Busch and a friend of Gunnels) and Gunnels.

5.  The Michigan State Police reports indicate that Gunnels told inconsistent stories about his relationship with Busch.  At one point in a recorded conversation between Gunnels and his sister while he was in prison, she asked him about the hair found on Kristine.  His answer:  “I wasn’t there when it happened.”

6.  I made a third FOIA request for the files of the Oakland County Prosecutor on Gunnels.  The response contained the unredacted results of a Gunnels polygraph which read in part as follows:


Other than the control questions, Gunnels was asked three specific questions regarding the Child Killing Investigation.  Due to his DNA, hair, being discovered on Kristine Mihelich, he was asked the following:

1.  Did you participate in any way in the killing of Kristine Mihelich?

2.  Do you know for sure who killed Kristine Mihelich?

3.  Did you have any physical contact with Kristine Mihelich?

(See attached Exam report for all questions asked)

Lt. Dykstra after reviewing the three separate charts involved in the polygraph of James Vincent Gunnels, concluded that Mr. Gunnels, ‘Completely’ failed all aspects of said examination.  DPD officer Dan who is a polygraph trainee of Dykstra also concurred with the findings.

7.  Gunnels had a younger brother, Paul Gunnels, who was in the Busch cottage in Montmorency Co. when Gunnels was abused.  As brothers, they would have the same mtDNA.  It is my understanding that no statement or testimony has ever been taken from Paul Gunnels.

8.  Busch passed a polygraph test and was released on a ridiculously low bond in January 1977.  Gunnels failed a polygraph test on July 21, 2009.  Despite a mtDNA match, a failed polygraph exam, and inconsistent oral statements, Gunnels has not testified under oath and is no longer considered a suspect or a person of interest with information.  WHY?

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