In Greek mythology, Daedalus built an elaborate labyrinth to trap and hold the Minotaur, a monster-like creature with the head of a bull and the body of a man. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has an unambiguous route to the center and is generally ultimately not difficult to navigate. It just takes patience. Misfeasance and malfeasance turned the OCCK case into a maze, with many discarded choices of path and direction that were left as dead ends. If this case were ever to be solved, which I don’t believe it ever will be, the path to the Minotaurs in this case would be so obvious. The people who took part in turning this into a maze and obscuring truth—or managing justice in their own way–must have reveled in how they were able to keep a lid on the most heinous unsolved case in America. Yes, most heinous. Kids abducted, kept alive for days or weeks, tortured and raped, then dumped like garbage on roadsides. All kinds of Dirty Harry business to “end the case” and prevent any closure. I defy you to find a Netflix series or something on Amazon that makes this pale in comparison.
I try not to blog very often any more on my brother’s case. It makes my head hurt and reminds me how fruitless an exercise this is. I’ve meant to respond to a number of posts and to address a number of other issues, but it is such a Pandora’s Box. Emails and phone calls always follow and I need to be prepared for that. To those who have sent emails I have not responded to, including Jared K., M.C.P., Jack K., Rita C. and Patrick, C, thank you for your emails and please forgive my long silence. And please, I have a busy day tomorrow, so don’t inundate me. There’s literally nothing I can do except post your comments here. That takes bravery on your part. And thank you to those that do. But me call the cops with your information? Seriously? Ten years of beating my head against a wall convinces me that just getting this stuff out in the open is the only hope. The only hope that this kind of investigation NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN. That four kids, one after another, don’t have to die as people fuck up, and drop the ball, and don’t ask for help from other agencies, and cave to the pressure of wealthy relatives, and kill people they think are involved thinking it is a legitimate “end” to a crime spree, and lie their asses off to victims’ families.
Oakland County had and has a wicked underbelly. Truly. Lie, conceal and destroy files as much as you will, you will never shake this darkness. Especially because you never confronted it. Any time you combine pedophilia, child porn, big wealth/power and suburban police departments/officials, you are going to have a conflagration of sorts that will wipe out all kinds of evidence and all guilt surrounding what took place. Minotaur? What Minotaur?!
First, I have meant to give readers the link to my Dad’s blog he started this year. Many of you have probably already been reading it. I meant to put a post together giving the link and explaining why I don’t blog very often any more. Why I am just trying to play the shitty cards I got dealt the best way I can and often that means not thinking about this stuff very much. Here is the link to my Dad’s blog, and I think it is important work: http://afathersstory-occk.com/chapter-40-prosecutorial-disclosures-marney-keenan/. This link will take you to the most recent blog entry and you can back track to the beginning. Please check it out.
Second, author J. Reuben Appelman has released an excerpt of a book he has written called 37 Winters: A Cold Case Memoir. https://medium.com/@J.Reuben.Appelman/blood-semen-saliva-prints-3fdab84c73d7#.4sgbx90gd. I think it is terribly important that it is a memoir because it captures just how this case impacted people in southeast Michigan who lived through the OCCK reign of terror, especially young people. Please read the excerpt. The author pulls together a lot of complexities and turns the maze into a labyrinth. It’s worth your time. I love how Appelman describes his book as being about an “allegedly” unsolved crime. Yeah, pretty much.
I would also like to emphasize two things addressed in the excerpt. First, the involvement of retired Berkley Police Detective Ray Anger. Apparently there are lots of tears out there about his portrayal in this book. Yeah, I said he was dirty and I meant it. Something is so off about his involvement in this case, then and now. And even if you assume he had the best of intentions, his treatment of the boy, now man, described in the excerpt as Sebastian, is reprehensible. I spoke to “Sebastian” well before the author or my brother ever did. His story remained consistent. I believe every word he said. Long gone are the days where police are able to automatically dismiss the words of a child or even an adult. Nice try. I seriously don’t know how you men live with yourselves, but then again, justification and a badge go well together, don’t they?
The Berkley PD, like many police departments, did whatever they wanted back in the day. I understand the impulse and even the action to clean house—pull a Dirty Harry—but surely this case demonstrates how unjust and terribly misguided this was and how really no justice was served whatsoever. And what the Berkley PD did to Sebastian and to others in Berkley defines them as dirty. I don’t care what they did to “take care of business” in the OCCK case. Read about their fellow officer Chris Flynn and make up your own mind. It’s not 1977 anymore, boys. We know what goes on because we’ve seen it captured on video and audio in a thousand other jurisdictions over the decades. What power you had back then and how much you abused it; it is stunning in it’s egregiousness. You must miss the Good Old Days. The comfort of being able to fuck someone over and smirk and smile with the knowledge you will never get busted and that no one will believe a word the other person says. To put a kid through that is unforgivable.
Second, the book addresses why my brother Chris and I believe the case will never be solved. Chris says it best, so again, please read the excerpt. Basically, it goes something like this—somebody, probably cops, kills the men they think are involved in these brutal crimes. Then, oh shit!!!, Tim King gets abducted. Fuck, we didn’t get everybody! Then in September of 1977, John McKinney gets offed—one more loose end tied up. Whew! Don’t worry about that photo montage in the Birmingham Eccentric in December 1977 where McKinney’s photo is right next to that of a smiling sixth-grader, Tim King, in the “Year’s Stories” segment. Nobody else will die, right? Birmingham is once again safe! Thank god you moved to the suburbs! Others, like John Hastings, flee town. By now he and people like James Vincent Gunnels, Ted Lamborgine and Arch Sloan know to keep their mouths shut. Forever. They would rather rot in prison. They are cowards.
But then the big piece of moneyed shit, pedophile Chris Busch, has to go and wreck everything in his attorney-client privileged pre-polygraph interview and talk about his involvement in the OCCK crimes. Then, go figure, he and Berkley PD officer Chris Flynn wind up dead within days of each other in November 1978. Somebody sets up Busch’s suicide scene to nail him as the OCCK—but oh shit! Turns out we can’t go there because (1) his daddy is a big GM CFO and more importantly, (2) the Michigan State Police polygraphed and cleared him in this case two weeks before Tim King was abducted and good old L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Prosecutor, told the news Busch was in the clear. Task force closes down within a few weeks—sorry, public. We tried and failed. At least no other kids (we know of) have died. Pay your taxes and be glad you don’t live in Detroit, dumbasses. What you don’t know, won’t hurt you.
Do you know that neither L. Brooks Patterson or his #2, Richard Thompson, EVER contacted my parents in the immediate wake of these crimes? Never, not once; not a single update. My Dad did not speak to either of them until after the case was “rejuvenated” (I love that bullshit term) in 2005. Thompson avoided my Dad like the plague. I bet they both took phone calls from H. Lee Busch back in the day. When Patterson says he if he were still prosecutor, he would gladly give my Dad free access to the OCCK files, I just laugh. Right. Those sanitized files contain nothing worthwhile and you know it.
Here is a comment I received today on an earlier post that reminded me I needed to post:
I was a teenager in Detroit at the time and my father had a stamp and coin store at Eastland Shopping Center. One of his customers was E. Harwood Rydholm, a big executive at Chrysler. Mr. Rydholm told my dad that the OCCK was the son of a powerful GM exec and that the police were protecting GM’s reputation so he probably wouldn’t be arrested. Mr. Rydholm passed away in 1987. The ghastly part is that Mr. Rydholm told my father this shortly after Kristine Mihelich went missing.”
So, there you have it. And thank you to the poster for that comment. Police will say: Anybody could say that shit. But you know what? A lot of “anybodys” have said this shit. And the fact that the ball kept getting dropped as each child was abducted, tortured, raped, murdered and dumped on a roadside, gave even more reason to take care of justice on the side and serve up a “too bad, so sad,” ending to this unforgiveable mark on Oakland County. And sadly, we all ate it.
22 thoughts on “The OCCK Labyrinth”
I’ve been following your blog for some time now. My mom and her family knew not only your family (my younger aunts went to Holy Name with your brother and lived in the neighborhood) and my mom was/is good friends since high school with who would have been Kristina Mihelich’s stepsister. True Crime Garage just covered the case last week, and My Favorite Murder has as well. I just remember my grandmother’s watchfulness (I was born in 1980) and how we couldn’t go certain places even in the yard without her knowing where we were. It has been a topic of conversation at family gatherings and ushered me into true crime.
Is there anything I can do to assist? I am a history blogger/book reviewer/romance writer with a rather small following. I would like to see this case solved as well because of how it has affected only the victims’ families and how my family witnessed some of the fallout. I would never, EVER, EVER try to profit over this; this is a soft spot with members of my immediate family, and I just couldn’t take money for it.
I can approach true crime podcasters, but sadly, even M. William Phelps couldn’t get things moving. Still, what can I do on my end to assist you?
Thanks, l. Let me thin on this.
No worries! I can PM you more info (seriously, I am not screwing around here). It’s just upsetting to me that you guys have been given the runaround. And I’m really sorry that there has been no resolution.
Oh, L Brooks …….
You probably know by now that the link to Appelman’s book goes to a page that says “Sorry, nothing here”. I’ve been waiting for his book for years and would love to see something.
Trying to get the full link to the book–here’s try #2:
Why nobody can see the obvious about this atypical serial killer? Do you have a personal email or something like that?
Its the case an open investigation for the public?
Not open; never will be. Officials part with documents in a limited fashion only in limited responses to Freedom of Information Act requests.
Sometimes the killer projects his habilities, job or proffesion on the crime scenes, the Modus operandi or the psychological signature. You need to pay attention towards the details, and you’ll find the truth. The devil it’s on the little details
Appelman’s article, no doubt, is one of the top three UGLIEST passages I have read in my life.
Ms Broad, I too happened upon you and your father’s blogs after being reminded of this festering sore of a case listening to a podcast. I never imagined it was a combination of “Serpico” and “In Cold Blood”. The article convinced me the main perps have been outed and some justice has been done, however naturally. As for the rest, hopefully this blog will flush the sewers so the rats will be expunged.
But questions linger … I can’t help but think others at Generally Mental were in on it. Somehow knowledge of the identity of Christopher Busch had to have reached the boardroom. I wonder if it wasn’t his brother who shot him since the old man was out of town. I wouldn’t be surprised if Busch senior groomed this monster and probably was a member of this ring himself.
As always, follow the money. The cops probably blackmailed these guys for years. There has to be chatter on who exactly was on “The Flood List”.
Great, horrible blog. As I’ve been digesting your posts, I find I have to get up every so often to breathe. As your family believes, I doubt this mess can be totally discovered let alone officially “solved”. But I think the main guys, now dead or in prison, have enough circumstantial evidence to have their names enshrined in the monster hall of shame. As for the cops, yeah, they should die in cold cells too if they went on a posse spree, gave protection or were paid off by these animals.
I’ve got a very bad feeling this sort of activity is worse than ever. Lots of people are disappearing all over the world right under our noses. Whether or not the bad world economy figures highly in this trend I don’t know.
The Busch compound should be raised and a monument to all the children and adults abused and killed in this crime spree should be in its place, standing just as permanent as a war memorial.
Hopefully you will find peace.
Thank you, Mac.
I just found a podcast and thought I’d share in the event that you didn’t know about it .. It’s under kzom radio under Oakland county child killer .. 😊
Thank you, Angela!
And by “never solved,” I mean there will never, ever be an open, public confirmation by law enforcement of what they knew back in the day or what is now known by them. There will never be transparency about what took place in the investigation then or now. They get to keep all of that to themselves, even in a 40-year-old case which was kept “open” so that FOIA requirements can be evaded. It’s sickening.
Hi, I found your blog after reading the excerpt of 37 Winters on Medium. Has the book been published and if so, is it available in electronic format? I live in Indonesia, so it takes too long for items such as books to be shipped here, not to mention the import tax on books is ridiculous. I searched and couldn’t find anything online for the book so thought I’d ask.
Dying to read it.
At least two books in progress or waiting to be published. More will follow, I’m sure, as everyone with a finger on this thing has a story. Books have been written, most of them fictionalized accounts. A relatively recent book which is fact-based but involves some speculation (how can it not, the police have never solved this case) is Portraits in the Snow: The Oakland County Child Killings…Scandals and Small Conspiracies,Jan 4, 2011
by M F Cribari, available on Amazon. See also: The Franklin Scandal, A Story of Powerbrokers, Child Abuse & Betrayal, by Nick Bryant (2009); and The Franklin Cover-Up, Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, by John W. DeCamp (2004/2005 edition, first printing 1992), for factual accounts of involving somewhat similar crimes and cover-ups. Can’t help you with the import issue, but these three books are interesting reads.
every county in michigan is fucked up and corrupt. we have had the most insane shit go down in psych wards and police stations and schools for the mentally disabled and the boys in blue put on a scary face and effectively keep it all hush hush
Cathy, I just had an Uber driver who grew up in Berkley in the 70’s. She was the childhood friend of Officer Flynn’s Daughter. Flynn’s now out-of-State daughter, was to come to town (last November) to be interviewed about her father’s suicide for some program/broadcast. The driver said Officer Flynn at one time went to seminary and had a propensity for having a certain young male over… I found these two points interesting… however (according to Uber driver) he had also just lost custody of the kids in a divorce.
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