Sun Stands Still; Winter Solstice

Forty-two Winter Solstices have passed since the abduction and murder of Mark Stebbins, the first acknowledged victim of the Oakland County child killers, in February 1976.  Forty-one more Christmases have passed since Jill Robinson, the second acknowledged victim of these animals, was abducted and murdered and her body dumped in the early-morning hours of Christmas Day in 1976.   Think about that.  Someone’s son, brother, friend, relative, kept an abducted child captive in the days leading up to Christmas, then murdered her on Christmas.

Winter solstice, when the night is longest and the day shortest.  There has been no daylight in these cases; darkness never seems to give way to light here. We have had only brief glimpses of what we can probably gather are some truths in this case.  As Sir Thomas More said “If honor were profitable, everybody would be honorable.”  But this case was meant to stay in the dark.  Darkness that kept getting other kids abducted, tortured and murdered.  That darkness protected those least entitled to protection, and the list includes more than just the killers.  It includes relatives, friends and acquaintances of the killers, those who chose profit over honor, and those who wanted to save face rather than do the right thing. People who kept their mouths shut and somehow managed to live with themselves for over four decades.  In fairness, some of these people did come forward, only to be shut down by those who had control of the narrative of this crime.

Yet DNA and genetic genealogy made 2018 “the year of the cold case:  ‘Biggest crime-fighting breakthrough in decades.’”  But darkness persists in these cases.   It’s no surprise, really, because back in the day DNA testing did not exist.  It’s no surprise especially because when this investigation got shut down hard by those at the top back in the day, there was no concern for evidence preservation.  The less of that stuff the better; it won’t be needed.

Where did the suitcase full of child pornography found in a search of Busch’s residence in January 1977 go?  Where are the Polaroids of children Greg Green told police about, wrapped in foil and buried in a yard (carefully described in the notes of one of his interrogations in January 1977)?  Why were hairs found on both Mark and Tim found to be from the same source only many decades later?  Did no one think to compare this evidence until after 2014? Why were hairs found on Tim missing for decades, mislabeled as animal hairs?  Why did people like Ray Anger of the Berkley Police Department and life-long, member emeritus of the “task force” continue to maintain for decades that there was no evidence—zero evidence!–in this case?

Why would the actual evidence in these cases be used, as I have been told more than once, in Michigan State Police POST training?  Why is a hair found on Kristine and matched to a teenage male victim of Chris Busch worth nothing, when a hair found in a trunk of convicted pedophile Arch Sloan’s Bonneville allegedly matching hairs found on both Mark and Tim, but thus far matched to no one, worth everything?   In a case like this, the serial abduction, captivity, torture and murder of four children, meticulous evidence preservation would have been called for, even in the dark ages of 1976-1978.  All the many reincarnations of the “task force” over the years—the many hand-offs—why did it take an outside detective to relentlessly and to his detriment force this issue on the MSP after 2005?  Because the idea was that no one was ever going to go there.  Fuck it.  We know how to end this thing.  “No comment; open case.”  Open forever.

The truth would have helped here.  Even a little bit of it.  But it’s too late for that.  Now we need the come-clean kind of truth.   The kind of truth you don’t get in a case like this unless someone comes forward.  Someone from the inside and I mean someone from or close to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s office from back in the day.  Someone who is not afraid of L. Brooks Patterson or Richard Thompson, two now-old men who ultimately screwed over the victims, the families, the communities and every honest cop who ever worked on this case.  Not some shitty, god-awful, cowardly pedophile working in the prison garden and chowing his three prison meals a day.  A whistle-blower.  This case involves one of the biggest cover-ups in history.   If you think this is impossible, or that I am simply paranoid, think again.  This is exactly the kind of case where something like this would happen.  Nobody else died in this case, so who cares, right? No lawsuits are filed, no explanations or apologies are needed.  Ever.  A couple kids were sadly just collateral damage and their families will be too weakened and damaged to question a thing. For the rest, Oakland County was safe once more.

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