Already Gone is a true crime podcast hosted by Nina Innsted, a life-long Detroiter who aptly describes herself as a connector of dots. She shares “stories of the missing, the lost, the mysterious and the murdered.” Episodes 34 and 35 discuss the Oakland County Child Killer case. I ran across the podcast in the iTunes store, while looking for a different podcast. You should listen to both episodes if you have any interest in this case.
Innsted begins both episodes by strongly advising “listener discretion,” which is well-warranted. This is a ready-made horror show; a story no one could make up. It is an easy mark for a true crime podcast or a fiction book. Every single possible element of depravity and injustice is present and begging for resolution of some sort. Begging at the very least for some kind of explanation of how there are somehow no answers in this heinous case. No answers or explanations of any kind after 40-plus years and hundreds of thousands of dollars.
I have listened to other podcasts about these murders. They have been disturbing, but tired recitations of information that was contained in news and magazine articles back in the day. Some of this information we now know is erroneous and its repetition is maddening. I have to commend Innsted for her research, for reading between the lines and the courage to connect up some dots. This is made more difficult because of the refusal of Oakland County officials and the Michigan State Police to come clean and tell the public where all the money went, why the investigation ended in failure, why we should not suspect a cover up, and how they will prevent such egregious actions and errors in future investigations. It would be crazy to expect the FBI to weigh in on their involvement. All these particular agencies do is double-down in their shameful refusal to advance the case or close it and tell the public what they do know. No, these agencies much prefer the limbo that keeps any true inquiry or revelation at bay.
Innsted did a great job reading between the lines on L. Brooks Patterson and then Oakland County Medical Examiner Sillery. And no, James Vincent Gunnel’s younger brother, who Gunnels wanted “to keep out of it,” was never questioned. She focuses on the LeMans–with it’s detailed description that should have been given to the public early and often. Also, good observation about the $600,000 in federal grant money awarded to keep the task force open in 1978. If only we could get that money back and give it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Of note is the fact that, despite task force representatives saying publicly for years that there was absolutely no evidence in these cases (such a smart, fiendish killer!), a human hair was found on Mark Stebbins. DNA tests decades later (at the strong insistence of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office) showed a match between this hair and a hair found in pedophile Arch Sloan’s 1966 Pontiac Bonneville soon after the murder of Mark Stebbins. These hairs also matched a a human hair found on Tim King’s body 13 months later. (See, among other articles, “Is a political battle brewing in the Oakland County Child Killer case?,” by Heather Catallo at WXYZ Detroit, dated July 19, 2012.)
Innsted says at the conclusion of the second podcast: “Covering a story like this one, with such a significant impact on the community, came with a great deal of pressure. I wanted very much to do this case justice. I hope that I did right by these four children, Mark Stebbins, Jill Robinson, Kristine Mihelich, and Timothy King. They certainly deserve it.”
YOU DID. Thank you.