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?

68 thoughts on “Who is James Vincent Gunnels (aside from an habitual liar)?”

  1. Unfortunately, this piece of garbage Gunnels is probably the only living being that knows what truly happened. I am not a attorney but there just has to be some way to make him testify under oath.

    1. i recently heard about this kidnapping/killing spree in michigan and when i read a link to the story i remembered something i saw back in 76 ..i saw busch and who i believe to be gunnels with the mark stebbins kid ..they were on livernois walking the kid in the middle of them…i had no idea at the time i was witnessing a kidnapping happening till just recently when i read the story about it……..i have already contacted the msp and told them what i saw best i could remember…i just taken aback when i read about this so i been researching the case and came across this link doing so…i understand busch died in 78 murdered or suicide i not sure which but i understand this gunnels guy is still a free man ..he needs to be found and taken in for some serious interrogation with the information i have given the police ..hopefully they will force his confession if it’s the right guy but from my recollection he looks to me to be the other guy with busch that cold winter day holding that kid firmly as they walked up livernois…….i lived in pr at the time and was on my way to farmer jack to get some stuff my mom needed …it looked weird to me but the kid didn’t scream out or anything so i assumed it was just perhaps the kids older brother and friend being jerks to the kid at the time ……on the way back from the store i didn’t see them and never thought much about it till about a week ago when a link was posted facebook about it and suddenly that winter day with those men and kid popped into my mind………best wishes to all

  2. “I wasn’t there when it happened” is a damning answer. Not “I have no idea” or even a denial like, “They are trying to railroad me.” He told his sister, someone who I can only guess he feels more at ease talking with, “I wasn’t there when IT happened.”

    Yes, it’s “only” mitochondrial DNA, but it’s his and it was on Kristine’s body. Geez, the guy spends a good deal of time in jail, he isn’t hard to find. Put him under oath, tell him about the miserably failed poly – see what story he tells now. He should NEVER be eliminated as a person of interest.

  3. Has the FBI ever utilized the Behavioral Science Unit to try and create a psychological profile of this killer or killers? Given the very unique M.O. and signature, it seems the OCCK has left so many psychological clues to his identity that he incriminated himself from the very beginning and didn’t even know it. One veteran “profiler” I would highly recommend consulting is retired FBI Agent John E. Douglas. He wrote the book on the psychology and apprehension of serial killers and was one of the founders of the Behavioral Science Unit. For more information on Douglas you can visit his site: http://mindhuntersinc.com/

    1. I don’t know who the FBI used to profile the killer but I do know that there was a list of characteristics compiled in regards to who the killer is/was. As for John Douglas, I don’t know if he is aware if these cases but, there was once a thread about these cases on the forum part of his web site that quickly unraveled and was, I believe, shut down,

      1. I read one of the original profile in Corrigan (1978), but I don’t think it was put together by the FBI. It was done in the 1970s, and certain key points of the profile I believe are based on dated theories and prejudices. Points from this profile found on page 25, I’m very critical of are:

        1. “Homosexual. Plus – other mental problems”
        2. “Different – (strange ranger)”
        3. “Seeing Psychiatrist”

        We now know in 2014 that there is no correlation between an offender’s sexuality and victimology, and that most sexual predators identify as heterosexual. Scholarly literature published from 1977 to present on sociopathy and serial killers consistently emphasize their ability to blend in and be charismatic, very few will stand out as different. Lastly, the “seeing psychiatrist” characteristic, I think is simply reflective of an era where there was a stigma against mental illness and even simply wanting to discuss typical stresses with a counselor or therapist. Psychopath’s like the OCCK almost NEVER seek treatment, because many of them are indifferent to the damage they cause or in some cases see themselves as superior beings.

        Work Cited:

  4. I believe there are others still alive who know what happened, and families who still want their secrets hidden. And I believe there are very important people with a lot of influence who don’t want too much information shared that may implicate them in matters they feel should be kept private. If nothing else, these terrible murders have taught us about evils we never knew existed before. May those responsible for such evil burn is Hell.

    1. I think there were accomplices who helped lure victims to the killer. Based on what I’ve read and watched, it seems these crimes reflected a single and very focused fantasy involving power and control, which would indicate one dominant personality who planned, dictated how the crimes were carried out, and committed most of the abuse. In his eyes, his accomplices were simply expendable pawns that made kidnapping victims easier. I think this killer was very similar to Dean Corll in Houston, Texas, who used Elmer Wayne Hendly and David Brooks as devices for luring victims, while he was the main perpetrator.

  5. One question that has never really been answered in this case is: “Why did the OCCK wash and feed the victims?” No one to my knowledge has attempted to seriously consider why he did this. Many investigators at the time just assumed the killer did this to eliminate evidence. However, that does not explain the feeding, and if he wanted to minimize evidence there are less time consuming ways in which he could have done that. Was he trying to eliminate evidence? Certainly, but I strongly believe that was not the only motivation behind the cleaning ritual, it was far more pathological in nature than that. One thing I can be sure of, is that it had nothing to do with guilt or remorse for his actions. Sociopaths are incapable of feeling guilt for their actions. So what could have been motivating him to do this if it wasn’t remorse or eliminating evidence? I think I know what it was: FEAR. In his mind he was being judged by someone or more specifically something, for the murders he committed, and that something I believe was God. I really believe that this person feared burning in hell in the afterlife and therefore “cared” for his victims by attending to their most basic needs while holding them captive. He rationalized, that by showing “compassion” however false it was, that God would not punish him by sending him to hell, because from his twisted point of view, he was treating the victims humanely by feeding and bathing them. One might ask: “Well how come there was so much overkill present in the Jill Robinson murder? Why would he use a shotgun if he wanted to be “humane” and was “god fearing”?” On the surface that would seem to contradict my hypothesis, however if you really think about it, there is a very logical explanation for that kind of deviation from his M.O.. I believe Jill Robinson was the only one to challenge the Oakland County Child Killer’s power by insulting him, fighting back, or attempting to escape and that enraged him to the point where religion went out the window. He believed that Jill Robinson’s act of defiance against his power and authority made her “deserving” of a cruel death, and therefore inflicted her worst fear upon her, which was being shot. The Oakland County Child Killer may have not left much physical evidence, but his psychological fingerprints were all over the crime scenes. It’s simply a matter of reading and interpreting them correctly, which is easier said than done, but NOT impossible! This case is solvable, and I believe in my heart of hearts it will be solved one day.

    1. I think they were bathed and fed because they we going to be used for the child porn ring or because they wanted to get the kids to trust them.

      I bet on the 2nd reason. They got the kids trust by feeding them. It would have made the kids feel like they might have a chance. That they were kidnapped to be used or sold as opposed to killed. It would have loweres the victoms gaurd some by spending something on them (i.e. Food)

      Bathing would be a counter messure for evidence.

      1. There’s one problem with the first theory: Why would they be redressed and left where they would be found? A criminal organization like you just described would not want to attract attention by committing murders. This was a pathological serial killer with a very focused and sexually perverse fantasy, who used accomplices as pawns to kidnap victims, Dean Corll did this between 1970 – 1973 in Houston, Texas. Corll used two teenage accomplices; Wayne Henley and David Brooks to con and kidnap at least 27 of his victims. The problem with the second theory is that once he/they got the victims to where they were held captive, there would be no need for the killer/killers to use trust to manipulate victims. Rather the offender/offenders would probably shift from gaining trust to using intimidation, threats, and violence to coerce victims.

        1. John, I can’t argue with anything you have said. I don’t know who killed these kids and I don’t have police powers. All I know is that the investigation suffers from serious–perhaps fatal–flaws. And I agree with the people who have posted and said this case will not be solved until certain people in power or with power (financial and otherwise) die. Once the last one of these types does, no amount of groveling from the grave will keep their sick secrets or their negligence from complete scrutiny. We’ve been very patient. And if anything, my blog demonstrates that there are a lot of people out there who still care. We are watching. And those who will come after us, if it takes that long, are watching, too. Your crimes, your omissions, your lies, the looking away–some day sunlight will disinfect all of your sickness. And I mean the sickness of the killer(s) and those who knew and kept their cowardly mouths shut. Again, we are all watching.

    2. i think he was fed to give the kid a sense of being cared for and fill his belly…as well trying to befriend in a sick sort of way… and perhaps to drug them so they wouldn’t be fighting when they were being raped and prolly washed to get rid of evidence and dressed so nothing looked odd when he drove them in the car to dump off their bodies…that gunnels guy should been buried under the jail decades ago imo

    3. I don’t believe the killer washed and dressed the children’s bodies. If the Gunnels was an accomplice/lure, and knowing that he had also been sexually abused himself, I think the killer had a psychological dominance over him. This wouldn’t, by any means, excuse him for any participation in the abductions, but would make it likely that the killer gave him the task of getting rid of the bodies. I see the care taken with the bodies as empathy and remorse, almost a symbolic apology to the victims and their families…twisted as it is. This doesn’t fit with the behaviour of the man who brutalized and killed the children. Just my take and wondered if that had been considered.

      1. One thing I have learned over the past decade is that there was so much misinformation, legend, lore surrounding these murders. I think it goes beyond law enforcement wanting to keep their cards close to the vest. Although the times were very different and there was no 24-hour media then, no DNA testing, I think part of the strategy was to reinforce the idea that these crimes were essentially unsolvable because there simply was no evidence. That is completely false. But the MSP hammered this message every chance they could get–mostly in newspaper and magazine articles back in the day. The kids’ clothing was not laundered, not pressed. Yes, if the situation was as you have described, I can see a 16-year-old who was also a victim of rape by the killer(s), having remorse. Having seen a photograph of the way my brother’s body was dumped–face down and sprawled like he had literally been thrown to the ground, like a piece of garbage, I would disagree with the idea that these pieces of shit were sending any messages of empathy, apology or remorse. Law enforcement (the MSP) controlled the spin: Killer drives a Gremlin. Kids’ bodies and clothing scrubbed clean. Killer sending a message with his made for suburbia body dumps. He’s a “babysitter” because he fed the kids and kept them clean. Nothing to see here, move on, nobody else died. Sometimes cases just don’t get solved. Sorry, man.

        1. Cathy, thanks so much for your reply and for clearing up the misinformation. I grew up in Warren and was 12 while this was happening. Left the US in 1983 and was shocked to see a programme the other night and learn the that your brother and the other victims still haven’t received justice! I have no memory of anyone referring to this sick murderer as the Babysitter Killer & the alleged washing and ironing of clothes was something I’d never heard of before, either. I put it down to being a kid & not taking in all of the details, but now know it’s because it didn’t happen that way. I know it’s not much, but my heart breaks for you, your family and the families of the other children. Nothing will bring them back, but not having the killers brought to justice just adds to your pain. I truly hope that one day you will get the answers you deserve.


    Point By Point Breakdown of the Oakland County Child Killer’s M.O.

    1 The kidnapping
    2. Torture and abuse (the torture was sexually perverse in nature and seemed to be about maximizing psychological terror and emotional suffering.)
    3. Feeding (to keep them alive)
    4. The murder (Satisfies his perverse need for power and control)
    5. Bathing (to remove evidence)
    6. Redressing the body
    7. Leaving the body for discovery (notoriety perhaps)

    2. What was not present is the extreme physical abuse that is commonly associated with sexually sadistic serial killers such as mutilation, dismemberment, or desecration of the body (the exception being Jill Robinson), such as in the cases of Ted Bundy or Rodney Alcala.
    6. Redressing? This increases the risk of leaving evidence, but he did it anyway, because something was psychologically compelling him to do this, and it wasn’t guilt.
    Hypothesis: I believe this killer was deeply religious and feared punishment from God by being sent to hell for his crimes. By showing “compassion” however false and superficial it was, he believed God would forgive him for his crimes.

    Re-Analysis of Points 2,3,5,6, and 7 (From my Hypothetical Viewpoint)

    2. In the killer’s mind he rationalizes that because the abuse did not consist of extreme physical torture that it really doesn’t “qualify” as torture and therefore not being sinful.

    3. While there’s no doubt he wanted to keep the victims alive, I believe it also served the purpose of helping the OCCK justify his actions. From his point of view, he was demonstrating to God that he was capable of being “humane”.

    5. As with point three, this served a dual purpose, one of them was to remove evidence. The other reason was a false demonstration of humanity as in point three. This act provides further reassurance in the OCCK mind that he will be forgiven in the eyes of God.

    6. This is a critical aspect of the OCCK fantasy. He redressed the bodies, in spite of the fact that there was an increased chance of leaving more evidence such as hair and fibers. From the suspect’s depraved perspective, he was showing “respect” for the victims’ bodies in death, by making them look “presentable”. This ritual acted as another self-serving justification for God’s forgiveness.

    7. While he may have loved the notoriety of his crimes, I don’t think that was the primary reason why he left the bodies to be discovered. The OCCK intent was to return his victims back to their families for a proper burial. This action was yet another pitiful and selfish excuse for escaping the consequences of his actions in the afterlife.

    CONCLUSION: So what does all this mean? Who are we looking for? I can’t say with certainty, because no one knows who the OCCK is other than the suspect or the suspect and his accomplices. But from my hypothetical standpoint this killer was deeply religious, so much so that it influenced key aspects of his crimes. This characteristic is an essential clue to his identity! We must ask ourselves what kind of monster during the 1970s would be deeply religious with a sadistic need to torture children?
    One specific kind of offender instantly comes to mind, a predatory priest. This would explain why the murders stopped in 1977, he wasn’t incarcerated or killed; he was moved to another Parish when Church officials realized what kind of maniac they had on their hands! It wouldn’t surprise me if they actually knew that he was a vicious serial killer, and rather than risk the embarrassment of a media frenzy, they would risk the lives of children in other parts of the country or the world by transferring him! This is however pure speculation, he also could’ve been a pastor, minister, or simply a devout churchgoer. However, I strongly believe whatever this sick bastard’s occupation is or was, he used religion to rationalize and justify his actions.

    1. It seems more likely that the children were told to get dressed because “We’re going to take you home now.” If Gunnels was the pitch man and Busch’s bitch, he was probably in the back seat pushing the bodies out of the car for Busch who was driving. There was no psychopathic ritual, no voices whispering in his head, no indication of religion and no fear of God. There was no agonizing, no internal wrestling with himself. He was a wicked man who knew what he wanted. He wanted to use children to gratify his perverted sexual desires. He learned that even though you threaten and traumatize children, some of them will tell somebody so to avoid getting caught, you kill them.

      In my opinion, there is enough circumstantial evidence to find Busch guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. A lot of unanswered questions, yes, but I’m convinced it was Busch and Gunnels.

  7. Cathy, I can’t even imagine the kind of hurt you, your families, and other families have had to endure for almost forty years. In addition the added insult to injury of an incompetent task force and prosecutors office who couldn’t find their own #@$% if they tried! Given these awful circumstances, I can see how easy it could be to become cynical. However, I see not just a glimmer of hope, but a bright shining star of hope! I strongly believe this son of a bitch suffers from what I call “Ted Bundy Syndrome” meaning like Bundy he is highly intelligent and thinks that because of his high IQ and his extensive knowledge of forensic science, that he is invincible. Not true! While he may have a high if not genius level intellect, he cannot hide the psychological evidence. I believe in my heart of hearts that if we know what made or makes the central perpetrator tick, it will lead to his capture. Not one doubt in my mind!

    1. And I appreciate that, John. There is certainly a chance that the perpetrator is still alive. He is clearly someone who is not in the DNA databank and therefore someone who was never caught, and is “above reproach,” as task force officials alluded to back in the day when they asked people to come forward with information on anyone, no matter how “normal” he appeared. If this is the case, his family knows or should have known about all of this and has every interest in keeping the lid on this thing. The lid will blow off, of that I have no doubt. When? Who can say. But whoever is still living and had knowledge, this will bring the taint you already carry to full fruition. Your spinelessness resulted in additional torture/murders. And the psychological torture of generations of kids post-1976/77. You are too spineless to come forward; but I agree that eventually, the world will know of your failures and your lack of integrity and of the sickness of the person(s) directly involved.

  8. A Detailed Portrait of the Oakland County Child Killer
    Age: 30 – 40 years of age in 1976. He demonstrated a frightenly effective ability to plan his crimes, and was strategic in how he carried them out. This shows that he was probably an older offender with a lot of criminal experience.
    Sex: Male
    Physical Size and Appearance: Average Height (5’10” – 6’0”), Slender to Medium Build, he was not physically intimidating at all. He is/was a very neat and good dresser, above-average to very good looking. His clean cut and handsome appearance helped him stay above suspicion. I doubt he looked like a creepy old man
    Race: Caucasian
    Type of Killer: Organized/Power-Control Serial Killer
    Type of Sexual Offender: Mysoped/Sadistic Rapist
    Intelligence: Above Average to Superior Intellect
    Education: At least some college or advanced technical training
    Soci-Economic Background: Middle to Upper Middle Class
    Psychiatric Conditions: Antisocial Personality Disorder, Sadistic Personality Disorder, Sexual Sadism, Pedophilic Disorder (Non-Fixated, psychologically compelled to harm both genders)
    Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual (Unlike what many thought at the time, studies have shown there is no correlation between victimology and an abusers sexual orientation, the majority of abusers identify as straight.)
    Outward Personality: Charismatic, Outgoing, Friendly, and Easygoing to those who thought, or still think they know him. The OCCK is no loner, drifter, or to outward appearances a misfit. He has/had very good social skills and a wide network of friends who thought he was the best thing since sliced bread. He may have had a girlfriend in the 70s, but they probably didn’t live together at the time, because that would have made it difficult for him to commit crimes. On the off chance he was married, or lived with a girlfriend, she would have been very submissive and rarely if ever questioned him.
    Residence: Oakland or Wayne County resident in the mid 1970s
    The suspect was likely born into a religiously conservative middle to upper middle class household in Michigan during the late 1930s to mid 1940s. He was severely abused during his childhood but probably not by any of his immediate family members. I believe the abuse occurred outside the home by an authority figure at a religious elementary school he attended. I believe unlike a lot of victims, he told his parents about the abuse, however they dismissed his claims and told him to “forget about” or “stop making up stories”. It was his parents betrayal which spawned the idea in his head, that as long as he was a believer, not only did he have a cloak of spiritual and legal immunity, but was above suspicion, and did not have to face the consequences for his actions. This also left him with the desire to regain the power and control he lost in his childhood, and instead of resorting to positive and constructive activities to empower himself, he chose to subjugate and control people. This likely began with animal cruelty and/or bullying other children, and he may have dabbled in arson. In his teenage years the Oakland County Child Killer’s crimes had progressed from schoolyard bullying and animal abuse to more serious offenses which were likely perverse in nature such as rape and child molestation. He may have even been caught on one or several occasions’ and let go because no one could believe that such a “nice looking and churchgoing” boy could be responsible for such terrible crimes against women and children. As he reached his late teens to mid twenties, the OCCK killed his first victim and from then on was addicted to serial sexual homicide.

    Other Characteristics:
    1. I believe he stopped for a period of time, until the public’s attention on the OCCK case subsided. I think he then began to prey on different types of victims, who he figured would be just as vulnerable and generate less publicity such as prostitutes (male or female), teenage runaways, the homeless, drug addicts, gay people ostracized from their families, the elderly, and disabled. Serial killers, who have multiple victim types while rare, are much more common than people realize. Andrei Chikatilo killed 56 people in Russia with roughly 65% of the victims being female prostitutes and 35% of the remaining victims being children of both genders. Clifford Olson who killed at least 11 people in Canada murdered people ranging in ages from 9 – 18 of both genders, and Arthur Shawcross in Upstate New York began his killing spree with the murders of a young boy and girl before moving on to brutally slaughtering 11 prostitutes in Rochester, NY.
    2. Jill Robinson likely challenged the suspect’s power by either insulting him, refusing to comply with his demands, or attempted to escape. This enraged him to the point where he felt she didn’t “deserve” a “humane” death.
    3. Has/had an extensive collection of violent and abnormal pornographic material
    4. Kept mementos from every murder he committed
    5. Utilized a variety of ruses to gain trust from each othe victims: impersonating a police officer, feigning an injury, asking for assistance, volunteering assistance, etc.. His non-threatening, clean-cut, professional appearance and polished demeanor gave a false sense of sincerity, and the suspect used this to his advantage. If he had accomplices then they would have probably utilized these ruses.
    6. The suspect is very religious and feared going to hell for his crimes; therefore he rationalized his actions by “caring” for the victims, because he thought God would go easier on him in the afterlife. I would give high priority to suspects who were religious and or came from religious backgrounds. If a suspect who fits this profile was in anyway an acquaintance, friend, or even family member of Christopher Busch, I would place him very high on the suspect list, and if he had any connection to Arch Sloan then this is almost certainly the mastermind of the OCCK.

      1. Your welcome Cathy! Unlike alot of people who know about this case, I was born a considerable time after these tragedies occurred. The way I first heard about the murders was back in the mid 2000s when THS Investigates aired a documentary on serial killers., and it disturbed and baffled me. Several years pass by, and I’m taking an upper division Religion and Philosophy class at the University I attended and just recently graduated from, and it hit me just out of nowhere when the instructor was talking about forgiveness and redemption. I don’t want to come across as being melodramatic or trite but that’s how I made the connection and realized that this is more than just some crazy theory, IT”S QUITE POSSIBLE! Because it explains so much and it all fits. For awhile I doubted myself, because I do have quite an active imagination and not the best social skills in the world. I really thought long and hard about it before finally stating my theory, and I knew deep down that I had to tell someone connected to this case what I strongly and deeply believe, because I would never forgive myself if I didn’t. Therefore I posted my thoughts on your blog.

  9. Cathy, I don’t want to give the wrong impression at all. But before I decided to use your blog to contact you, I originally tried to connect via FB because I didn’t know what your preferred mode of communication was. I wrote you a short letter about myself and sent you a FB friend request, but there was no reply back. I think we would have alot to talk about because I am very passionate about this case being resolved and helping people who are in need in general. Don’t worry, I’m not a stalker like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction or Kathy Bates in Misery. I’m simply an individual who is compelled to help others. Note: John Preston is my pseudonym my first initial is M.

    1. M, John–just know a lot of people call me and make FB requests. I have no idea who they are. Do I really want someone I don’t know looking at photos of my family on FB? Absolutely not. You have no idea of the freaks who contact me, and who, on occasion, make semi-veiled threats when I don’t do what they think I should do. Facebook is for my friends, not for people with information on this case. I get many emails from people who want to talk about the case–let me just tell you this; my family comes first. I spent hundreds of hours on this case and it blew up in my face, hurt my family and hurt me. Yeah, I’m careful. Do you blame me?

      1. Completely understood, no worries. I apologize, I didn’t mean to give you the impression whatsoever.

      2. John,

        You are fairly new to this case. What you don’t know is all the crazies who have tried to input themselves as knowing the killer and downplaying any person who didnt fit thier suspect. Put occk or babysitter in a search engine and careful what you find. The bigger problem is using the name john as your 1st name.. It is a red flag for a certain women who has kidnapped this set of crimes.. Yes i used the work kidnapped and as inapproprate it might seam to use that word. Anyone who has delt with her knows it fits.

        Sorry it that offends anyone, but i understand cathy not acceipting friend request via facebook. Those still involved in keeping this unsolved visit here and there often. They still care about keeping this silient or at least unsolved..

  10. I read every single day! I feel like this case is part of my life. Would love nothing more than to see this solved.

    I’m wondering if a future post could possibly detail the specifics on what convinces Law Enforcement that all 4 homicides are indeed the work of one perp. Is there any fiber or other physical evidence that linked them all? I know there are MO similarities but I’m wondering if there is more scientific evidence linking the cases.

    During the John Norman Collins rampage one murder, that of Jane Mixer, was subsequently pinned on a man named Gary Leiterman. Could any of the 4 OCCK cases be unrelated?

    Keep up the great work Kathy, we stand with you.

  11. I had absolutely no idea that people would be so cruel as to harass and threaten you. I’m so sorry that has happened to you. I didn’t mean to hit a nerve, even with a solid knowledge of psychology, I never knew how low people could sink in terms of how they treat people who are grieving.

  12. I guess I was just naive as to how evil the general public can be. I consider myself a nice, caring, gentle, and empathetic person by nature and the idea that members of the general public, forget the offender, but members of THE PUBLIC would get their kicks from taunting grieving families never crossed my mind. It sickens the hell out of me, that supposedly everyday people would find such joy in emotionally harming the lives of families who need their support the most! All I can say about low-life a..holes who do that kind of evil crap is that they can f..k off! I was bullied relentlessly throughout elementary school because my peers thought it was funny to pick on someone with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. I can understand where you’re coming from, I too THIS DAY do not trust people my age because of the constant torment I received as a kid. The people who I get along with the most are adults 30 and older, because they were the people who were always tolerant and polite to me as a kid.

    1. John,

      You a aspy kid? My son is too. I think i had it to some degree when i was a kid. I can relate to what you say. Kids on the spectruim are very smart and think differently. You can see it in some of my posts.. Some of yours too. Minds like ours will help solve cases like this because we do think differently. Those thought processes will get you far in life. Have a great work ethic and be honest amd true to yourself and you will see lots of success. I wish you luck in whatever you try and want to do.

      1. Woops I sent you a reply, but it didn’t go through, anyway I wanted to thank you for your kind words. Yes, I do have Asperger’s and I was diagnosed in the 1990s when no one knew a damn thing about it. My 4th grade teacher ignored my mother when she tried to explain to her what Asperger’s was. She just thought I was a bad kid, in reality I was a socially awkward and naive little boy who was being bullied by low-lifes who found entertainment in humiliating me and destroying every bit of dignity I had. It is because of these horrible experiences that I want to be a counselor for children and adults with ASD’s. It is also why I have studied people who have no conscience and in extreme cases receive joy from the worst kinds of suffering, because I wanted to know WHY, why did you do they do this to me, and why do some people don’t care or even enjoy committing the worst kinds of abuse and damage? In terms of the name John, I know exactly who you are talking about. The crazy cat lady with no life who thinks this “John” character committed these crimes, when in reality the probability that he did this was 0.0000000000000000000000001%! So astronomically small that only one can conclude that she is f..king delusional, which she is. Unlike the crazies, I don’t claim to know who did this, because I DON’T! I stating the TYPE of person I BELIEVE did this, in other words an educated guess. Big difference between me and crazy lady!

      2. I simply used the name John because it’s a generic name throughout North America, I never would’ve thought someone might misinterpret the name as having some connection to Ms. Dingbat and her small band of equally loony supporters. Rest assured, she has about as much credibility to me as someone who denies the theory of gravity!

    2. It is still shocking to me as a 50 something that people are cruelly standing in any kind of judgement of the victim’s families. I will never understand that. And along that same line, I worked in a school with a strong Autism program and even there the adults had a desire to try to dovetail these kids into one uniform behavior code. We taught basic social interaction, manners etc. along with regular curriculum and I still had to fight to get other teachers to not only accept different learning styles but see the unique beauty of each individual as a gift and not an abnormality. The world would be a much happier place if people were not so wrapped up in their own ideas of right and wrong.

  13. Many good posts but I tend to agree with Cathy and her family that most of the leads point to Chris Busch. The composite pictures from the 70’s look like Busch and Greene. Gunnels hair being found on Kristine and Gunnels being known to hang around Busch. The picture hanging in Busch’s bedroom that looks like Mark Stebbins. The questions that bother me the most are, where were the children held during the abductions? Busch’s family had a maid and im sure someone in the neighborhood where he lived, would have seen something. What is the connection between Arch Sloan and Busch, did they belong to a pedophile ring? I would really love for this case to be solved, I was 12 years old when the OCCK crimes occurred living in Oakland County.. I believe this case can be solved but, for that to happen, it needs more National attention. The FBI needs to get heavily involved and the higher courts need to push Jessica Cooper and Bouchard to come forward with everything they have. Anyone who was a child in Oakland County during the late 70’s will never forget this case. I do truly feel that each day that passes its less likely that it will be solved. Too much time has gone by and not enough action other than by Cathy and her family. You never hear anything from the Stebbins family or the Robinson family and really not much from Kristine’s family either. I remember how frightened my mother was when this was going on. If it was my child, you better believe the police and the media would hear from me constantly, no stone would go un-turned..

  14. One aspect about this case that I think is in need of discussion concerns the killer or killers ability to hold the victims captive for extended periods of time. While I believe it is likely there was more than one killer, I am not completely convinced that it couldn’t have been a single killer. I have heard that some involved with this case believe it would be impossible for one man to hold victims for such long periods of time. It would be more difficult, but not impossible. People who are this maniacal can be terrifyingly innovative when committing their crimes. There are quite a few notorious cases that I’ve heard of about single perpetrators holding people captive, sometimes for years! The most notorious example I can think of is Joseph Fritzl of Austria. This man was so depraved, that he turned his basement into a prison where he held his daughter for twenty-four years! What I don’t doubt for a second is somehow Christopher Busch is connected to this.

    When I say connected, I don’t mean literally involved but knew this person, possibly as an acquaintance, friend, or even a family member. From what I’ve read, Christopher Busch hung out with a lot of frightening people and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he met him or was even related to him. Cathy mentioned that this was someone she believed had never been caught or in her words: “He is clearly someone who is not in the DNA databank and therefore someone who was never caught, and is “above reproach,” as task force officials alluded to back in the day”.

    Hypothetical Situation: Christopher Busch and the Oakland County Child Killer knew each other quite well and were good friends. His “friend” is starting to worry that the police may be on to him. He had a very close call to being discovered and was desperately searching for a way out of his predicament. He knew that the police were desperate to close the case and were looking for anyone to pin this on. That is when he saw his ticket to freedom in the form of a dead Christopher Busch, or more specifically a staged Busch suicide. He knew that Busch would be a perfect scapegoat because he had a record a mile long and fit the profile of who they were looking for.

    Many would argue that the hair from one of Busch’s victims is definite proof of more than one
    person. However when you really think about it, if The OCCK and Busch socialized frequently, there was a good chance that he could have come into contact with hair from the victim through secondary transfer and/or had even assaulted him.

    What obviously cannot be ignored is the consistent deceit by omission from persons of interest and their refusal to cooperate with Michigan authorities. One explanation I have for this in regards to the single killer theory may be far fetched but for the sake of argument I’ll state it. Again Hypothetical Situation: In the wake of Busch’s “suicide”, Busch’s powerful and wealthy father believed his son had been the Oakland County Child Killer, in an effort to save the family name, Busch pays off local officials and intimidates witnesses, not realizing that his son’s death had actually been staged by his friend who was the real killer. In this scenario, Busch would’ve unintentionally aided his son’s murderer and the OCCK, all in his twisted and selfish effort to cover up for his evil loser of a son who hurt so many people.

    I’m not advocating for one theory over another, I personally lean towards that it was more than one person, but I don’t think the possibility of a single killer should be completely eliminated.

      1. Susan I think there were multiple people involved. Busch, his friend Gregory Greene and John Hastings and somehow Arch Sloan as well. I think Gunnels was just a kid at that time so who knows what they made him do.

        1. yes from reading your blogs and other stories on various sites it seems there were multiple networks of child predators….but i can bank the busch guy had the kid and what looked to me to be the gunnels guy who imo looked older than 16 he was taller than i and from what i remember seemed to have a receeding hairline which isn’t something imo a 16 yo kid has but busch was imo younger looking to me cuz his babyface …i think who i believe to be gunnels had a longer coat on as well which also made him look older from my perspective he was a well dressed guy which may led me to believe he was older than he really was……i just can’t understand what they were doing on the other side of 9 mile though if the kid lived on saratoga ?

          1. Hold your horses! Who lived on saratoga and when!

            I ask because i lived on saratoga near lessenger elementry school until 1978-79. I moved to southfield when i was 8.

              1. Wow all this time and i didnt realize i lived on same street but only 5 blocks or so away from him. I was on saratoga near scocia in oak park. No wonder everyone was freeked out. Remember this is a memory from when i was 7-8 years old or younger.

                1. All of Oakland County was terrorized by this, before, during and after the four known OCCK murders. All kinds of stories of freaks flashing (on Mohegan–ring a bell, Charles Busch???; Pembroke Park–cops; just keep your kids away from there), and many near misses and other far worse stories that didn’t result in murder. Hey, you people who kept your mouths shut because you thought this would distance you from your relative who was a criminal of the worst kind? Your silence seals you as a partner in crime. Cowards think that what the rogue family member did somehow is a statement on them, when in reality, it’s these people’s silence that marks them as being cut from the same cloth. They were silent at a time when lives could have been spared. Their silence cost lives. They are pussies and will never come forward.

  15. Cold Case Search Parameters: Linking the OCCK to Previous and Later Crimes

    Gender: Either

    Age: 5 – Adult

    Race: Priority should be given to Caucasian victims because all four cases involved Caucasian victims, however that should not rule out that he killed people from different ethnic groups.

    Dates: 1961 – 1991

    Cause of death: ligature strangulation, suffocation, smothering

    Defining Characteristics:
    1. The victim will probably have been abducted before being killed.
    2. The body will likely have been fully clothed
    3. The victim may have been held captive for an extended period of time.
    4. There will be no signs of extreme physical abuse as with many other sexually sadistic serial killers.
    5. There will likely be signs of sexual abuse prior to death.
    6. The crime scene will reflect an emphasis more on psychological terror, subjugation, power, and control.

    Decomposed, Skeletal, and/or buried remains:
    Cases involving these type remains should not be dismissed. If there are minimal signs of trauma , and evidence of being clothed after death, then this case(s) should be analyzed for commonalities to the original four OCCK cases as well.


    States/Provinces: Priority should first be given to cases in Michigan followed by Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. There is also a chance that the OCCK committed crimes in the province of Ontario, Canada given it’s close proximity to Southeastern Michigan and the lack of communication between law enforcement during that period. Given the geographic locations of the abductions and murders, it appears that the OCCK was/is very comfortable and at ease in the Woodward Corridor/Woodward Ave area. This was his “comfort zone”, where he felt most comfortable carrying out his crimes. Woodward Ave ends, adjacent to where the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel begins. I think it’s quite possible that given the close proximity to his “comfort zone”, and the international boundary which would have created a jurisdictional and communication nightmare between foreign police departments, would have at the very least tempted the OCCK to commit crimes in Ontario.
    The OCCK liked to be in a very geographically restricted comfort zone, he was not a drifter who would drive 400 miles out of the way to commit murder, and then drive another 200 miles to commit another. He may have moved 1,000 miles away shortly after March, 1977, but he would’ve become familiar with his new environment which would have been his next comfort zone, which would have been restricted to that region. This pattern of behavior makes the OCCK much easier to track from a geographic standpoint, because everywhere he goes within a 100-150 mile radius people are murdered in very similar ways. Metaphorically in terms of his movement, he would be like a virus which destroys one cell, and moves on to another.

    Every person of interest and suspects, (even if originally eliminated as a suspect ) movement should be cross checked for a homicide/patterns of homicide with similar or identical characteristics as described in the above search parameters within a 150 mile radius of their every known location/residence between 1961 – 1991.

    1. The canada idea has been thought of before. More likely as a pipeline for pedyphiles to come to detroit for boys and to go back to canada to live and feel they had safety. I would think the occk could have done more crimes in other states if it was just 1 person. But i believe it was done as a part of the north fox island group and as such was a statement done by multiple people or done by one for multiple people. It was a statement “a sign” to keep quiet. To shut people in the know up. Theres still a little black book of very important people that is keeping this unsolved. Chris busch was involved but was a statement murder too.

  16. Why hasn’t the Detroit press or even a major network expose’ program done a big story on the Chris Bush/Fox Island angle?

  17. I think that everything posted was actually very reasonable.
    However, what about this? suppose you were to create a awesome
    post title? I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your blog,
    but what if you added a title that grabbed people’s attention?
    I mean Who is James Vincent Gunnels (aside from an habitual liar)?
    | catherinebroad is kinda boring. You might look at Yahoo’s front page and see how
    they write post headlines to grab people to open the links.
    You might try adding a video or a picture or two to get readers excited about what you’ve
    got to say. Just my opinion, it would bring your blog a little livelier.

    1. Is the reason for this blog to gather more followers? Or is it to unmask the truth about 4 and possibly more victoms and closure for them and their families. I would rather only those who are truly affected and care about these cases read here. Let all those glory hogs and leaches go ruin someone elses site and leave this blog alone! Cathy please dont change a thing!

    2. You’re a Rolex with diamonds. I’m a Garmin Forerunner 110. You look hot in the bars, at work and at the PTA meetings. But, when push comes to shove on the trails, I can kick your ass.

  18. “I wasn’t there when it happened” doesn’t exonerate him or his knowledge of who may have been involved, does it?

    It’s almost as if he knew something about the crime, though not directly involved himself.

    Was he A) a party to the abduction; b) a party to the dumping of the corpse: c) a party to any pornographic/sadistic filming? d) forced to lie for anyone; e) a drug trader;

    If he were really homosexual, why the girls?

  19. Looks like James moved to Florida after the hair was found and he failed the polygraph. Running from the truth James? ://www.findmugshots.com/arrests/james_vincent_gunnels_id_14096844.html

  20. How can he say he was in Busch’s car several times but then claim in his handwritten notes he only had two encounters with him? Am I misreading this?

    1. He told LE that he had been in Busch’s car many times, which I think was his way of saying “that’s how my hair could have been transferred to Kristine.” She was in the same car he had been many times—loose hair of his somehow ends up on the front of Kristine’s jacket. There were two separate criminal cases against Busch where JVG was the victim. This does not mean he was raped or victimized by Busch in only two incidents. Make sense?

  21. What is known about James Vincent Gunnels childhood and family? If the DNA is a match to him or someone in his family, have his family members been looked at as suspects or have any of them been questioned about James? It looks like his mother had more children besides James and Paul, her Social Security claim had her with a plethora of last names and her obit says she had eight children, 17 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.

  22. Cathy I just heard of these horrific crimes last night while watching the ID channel. My heart is heavy for your family and especially your father. What nags at me the most after reading your dads blog today is why would Charles Busch ask the FBI for witness protection for his nephews if Christopher was the murderer and dead? Who was he really scared of? Dad? Why hasn’t this been followed up on? So many Law Enforcement mistakes makes it look like an obvious cover up. Did your dad believe Lawson when he said he brought boys the H.E Busch? So many questions. God Bless you all and hang in there

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