(833)784-9425 to report tips in the child killer case

Thank you, Kevin Dietz and Channel 4 Detroit, and thank you to all who participated in creating this series on the child killer case.  Oakland County citizens–demand that these tips be adequately investigated.  Local officials from the prosecutor’s office don’t get to just show their face on film and continue business as usual.  Make sure these tips are investigated, keep the public apprised and don’t use this tip line as a garbage disposal and another reason for “no comment.”

39 Comments on “(833)784-9425 to report tips in the child killer case”

  1. Mark M says:

    I’ve followed this case for decades. Read everything possible over and over.

    I have formulated an opinion that doesn’t rise to the level of a tip but here we go.

    I’d wager a fair amount of money that the perp in this case lived within a 2 mile radius of the Stebbins abduction. The first time he took a kid, this perp was nervous and full of anxiety and would be looking for a quick grab and a fast trip home. No way he wanted to drive a long way with the kid in the car.

    There can’t be too many homes to count within a 2 mile radius. One of those homes is connected.

    • Kay says:

      With all of the evidence and research that’s been done, this sure is a simple theory and requires a lot of assumptions – that the perp was a first time offender with Stebbins, that he/she took the assumed first victim to their home, and that it was a pre-meditated / not impulsive abduction.

      I suppose any theory is worth considering.

      • mike06181 says:

        What is fairly certain is the connection between OCCK and the dark underwold of child love in the metro detroit and detroit area at that time. All mentioned possible OCCK were already involved or suspected to be involved most at low levels of this filth. Murders made to look like suicides or robbery gone bad to cause deadends and not lead back to higher level players and connections to north fox island have happened. Corruption in police force and perceived failures of the task force lead to this as the most likely cause of this case never being closed. It is certain that cases before and after are apart of this. The creaps just tightened up the lose ends and kept going and do so to this day..

        I hope this all ends up coming out and alot go to jail but sadly alot have gotten away with it and some died of old age never to be brought to justice.

    • Paul Jolliffe says:

      Mark M,

      Greg Greene had just arrived back in Michigan after being kicked out of California a few weeks earlier. Busch, I believe, was supposedly running the restaurant in Alma in January of 1976. Both are obvious suspects, and Greene’s attempt to pin the Stebbins on case on Busch was so suspicious that the Flint PD strongly suspected Greene was the killer of Mark Stebbins!

      Now if John Hastings really was present that Sunday at the VFW hall in Ferndale, as author J. Reuben Appelman alleged, then Hastings becomes the number one suspect for kidnapping (but maybe not killing) Stebbins.

      As I have written before, the Stebbins kidnapping had to appear natural to people passing by. Livernois just south of Nine Mile is a major intersection, and the hall was only fifty yards away from a Ferndale Fire Station.
      I just can’t believe that kidnapping involved grabbing a kid, stuffing him violently and silently into the trunk of a vehicle in broad daylight on major streets on a Sunday afternoon – someone would have seen or heard something!

      That’s why I don’t think it went down that way – I think Stebbins was lured into a vehicle by someone with whom he had at least a passing acquaintance or believed he could trust.

      If Hastings was at the VFW hall for the work party ( a big “if”) then he may have been introduced to Stebbins and that could have been all the trust Stebbins needed.

      The ring of OCCK suspects had someone at that hall that day, just by happenstance. That person, whether Hastings or someone else, then passed Stebbins on to others, probably Greene and Busch, one of whom was the actual murderer.

      What is needed is a list of the people who were present at the VFW hall that Sunday. On that list is probably the name of a person connected to the OCCK ring.

      • mike06181 says:

        Greene and busch might have been the disposal team for some sickco who had a violent child fetish. Or like you said one of them might have been the killer(s).

        When it comes to the abductions. I always felt there was a women involved. Also in the keeping of the kids. Some grandmother type. I too like becca was 7-8 years old when this was all over the media.. we were told to run to a house with one of those signs in the window. Looked like a house picture. The media and parents were looking for a man. A kid running to a women and her being the actual kidnapper partner would make it look like the kid belonged with her and why she or he would leave quietly even a block from the fire station or down the street from berkley police station. All those kids were taken from places with street traffic.. this kids were not grabbed but lured away willingly.

      • Mark M says:

        Paul, yeah I agree and also doubt there was a scene at the Stebbins abduction. In fact I doubt there was a scene at any of them, at least not a scene that drew inordinate suspicion. This is one of the most puzzling factors, how does one abduct 4 kids without creating even a minor stir, especially given the circumstances of the times.

        My belief is that this case will eventually be solved and the perp will be found to be someone in the local area, and likely will have lived closest to the VFW hall. This person was going to offend in a known area.

        I think where Timothy King was found is an indication this guy felt the heat and was not going to drop any other kid in the area of the others so he headed west.

        But he will be local to the area. He will have lived very close to where Stebbins was abducted.

        I don’t focus on Busch and Greene and try to figure out how they could have been involved, I think that is dangerously limiting.

      • bitamoney says:

        I live very close to Atlanta but I’m from Detroit and I was 20 when the kids went missing. There is a plant nursery here called Hastings. I’ve been told John Hastings is or was (dead now?) part of the nursery family. Several years ago one of the Atlanta Hastings’ killed another one. Has anybody (LE) looked into this tangled web of Hastingses?

  2. Cecilia Brown says:

    The nationally broadcast productions which we are all about to see are going to move this case forward. We don’t know yet if it will be a little bit or a lot. But I can’t comprehend, just don’t believe, that nothing will result. And please, like Cathy says, if you don’t know anything just keep quiet and watch. Don’t use this time for your 15 minutes of fame.

  3. bitamoney says:

    The nationally broadcast productions which we are all about to see are going to move this case forward. We don’t know yet if it will be a little bit or a lot. But I can’t comprehend, just don’t believe, that nothing will result. And please, like Cathy says, if you don’t know anything just keep quiet and watch. Don’t use this time for your 15 minutes of fame.

  4. Becca says:

    Has anyone in LE or family members aggressively talked with L Brooks Patterson or whomever the DA was at that time? What about the arraignment Magistrate and/or Judge. You’d think LE would have found some suspicious financial trail about Busch’s low bonds and dream plea deals. Sigh … Continued PRAYERS for your’s and all families involved. God Bless your Dad, he is a courageous Hero!

    • cathybroad says:

      Nobody talks aggressively with L Brooks. He just does his t.v. thing and his very practiced dodge and weave. Richard Thompson, his chief deputy at the time, actively ignored my Dad’s requests to speak. A prosecutor from another county who dealt with Busch and is now a judge, refused to respond to my Dad’s requests to talk. I will look for her name. The FBI agent who has been assigned to this case since the Ted Lamborgine/Richard Lawson convictions by Wayne County in the mid-2000’s is just there to protect the MSP and whatever the FBI did back in the day to help make this all go away.

      • Becca says:

        Yes, I guess I can see LBP being a show boating windbag. Thank you for replying, I was 7 when these OCCK happened and will always remember the profound impact Stranger Danger had on our lives, I guess that is why I follow this case. I just finished reading the Kill Jar and could not put it down . I thought it was great and very detailed. I am a retired Civil courtroom clerk & CER {Not OC} and know all about the stonewalling & political B.S., especially in Family Court. Like I said, your Dad is a brave hero for fighting the fight.
        (JC has got be aware we Michiganders can see through her antics, her blatant lack of integrity is a bit surprising though. Perhaps because she’s childless she just doesn’t get it.)
        I took an early retirement to care for my 93 year old Mom who is loving & warm beyond words.
        Jessica Cooper is going be to be elderly one day and need care from warm loving people and ya know, KARMA has a way of catching up.
        Continued PRAYERS for all families involved and LE .

      • Kay says:

        LBP = Jedburgh

      • Becca says:

        Unfortunately, we know that most likely was from the funds of H. Lee. Yeah, I guess I can see LBP being a dodging show boating wind bag. I am an early retired Civil Courtroom Clerk & CER {not in Oakland County} so I know all about the stonewalling and BS. of politics. I was in early elementary school when these events took place and Stranger Danger had such a profound impact on our lives, I guess that’s why I follow this case so intently. I just finished The Kill Jar and thought it was very detailed and well written. Will definitely read Marnie’s book when it comes out. Perhaps it is because Jessica Cooper is childless and just “ doesn’t get it” but she’s got to know we can see right through her antics. Although, her blantant lack of integrity is surprising and good for your Dad for calling her out. I took an early retirement to care for my 93 year old Mom who is so kind, warm & loving. JC is going find out that old age comes quickly and with it, ailing bodies, Her cold behavior won’t be forgotten when she needs elder care and ya know, Karma just has a way…..
        Continued Prayers for peace, strength and stamina. 🙏🏻✝️

  5. Barry King says:

    Shortly after Christopher Busch was identified to me as the principal suspect Brooks Patterson told me that if he was still prosecutor he would appoint me an assistant prosecutor and give full access to the OCCK file. After I received the Michigan State police files on December 15, 2010 I learned Patterson had gone public in the Detroit News and the Daily Tribune in February 1977 to announce Busch was not a suspect because he had passed a polygraph test. The public announcement of polygraph results is a crime in Michigan. What do you think are the odds that his 1977 statement is still in the OCP files?

  6. Jeremy says:

    I think there are just too many things that point to Chris Busch’s involvment in these murders. I strongly believe that Hastings as some involvement as well. I give kudos to WDIV and J.Ruben Appleman for these TV specials books etc. My own opinion is this comes too late 42 years later. Why wasnt these hour long specials with tip lines put together in 1976 and 77 when the murders took place. Mr. King as ive said in the past, you are my hero and wish you and your family all the best and hope that you can get some kind of closure. I was 11/12 years old living in Southfield when these murders took place. Any kid my age will never forget this time period, everything changed. There are parts of this case that i wonder about. It is said that a 72/73 Pontiac LeMans was used for the abductions, why cant the State of Michigan look at registrations in Oakland County for that time period, did busch have access to such a vehicle? WDIV has been showing a composite drawing of a suspect in the case and as i remember there were multiple composites at the time and this one looks alot like pictures of Busch that have been shown. I hope finally after all these years someone comes forward with information. Somehow the FBI or police need to get Busch, Hastings, Gunnels, Sloan and Laborgine to talk while the are still alive.

  7. 788 says:

    I am a current member of local LE who was a teen during the time of the murders. I have maintained an interest in the case my entire life. I work about 100’ from the location where Jill Robinson was found. This case is alive at my workplace. The problem i see is that as long as Cooper & Walton are working for Oakland County, we will see a pushback on any demand for action. This is because the current OC prosecutors have basically given up on the 4+ cases. They have allowed the case and the task force to stagnate. I’m very pleased that WDIV has produced its series. I also believe “Don’t Talk to Strangers” podcast is extremely well done. This new attention will bring this case back to the forefront where it should be. One death is a cold case. This is a serial murderer/s. I believe this case will end up like the Golden State Killer. It’s just how deep we want to dig.

    • cathybroad says:

      Thank you for weighing in. The discussion is imperative.

    • Kay says:

      788, thumbs-up, thx for all you do. Do you think the issue with OCPO is limited to capitulation and stagnation, or do you suspect there is more / something deeper, such as internal obstruction somewhere?

      • 788 says:

        I don’t think it is active obstruction. This case is a black mark on the County for never solving the biggest case in its history. So like a painful scar, they avoid poking it. Every 10 years or so they will parade out all the prosecutors & police chiefs to make it appear that the Task Force is moving forward. In actuality the FBI lab in Quantico is doing all the work. Like any workplace until all the old timers retire, it remains status quo. They must convene a Grand Jury and let the public decide. This will remove it from Cooper’s protective grasp. You must ask what would it hurt?

      • Kay says:

        Thanks, 788. I suppose “Cooper’s protective grasp” is what I’m referring to when I say “obstruction”. I do think to an extent, current LE officials’ hands are tied and there are things that they just can’t know about the killings… that beyond missed opportunities, any obstruction that matters most occurred in ’77-’78. And with that, another case – to investigate LE and it’s handling of the occk case during that period. This may sound naive after all we know the Kings and others have done, but is this something that you think Cooper and LE today is legally capable of probing? And if so, why wouldn’t they?

        I was under the impression the Feds had limited access to this – both the murders and the investigation. I hope I am wrong!

        Thanks again for taking the time and sharing.

    • Judi Coltman says:

      788- I appreciate your candor. When you say “we” as in, “how deep we want to dig,” to whom are you referring? LE or the public ? and how much public pressure will it take for LE to want to dig deep?

    • bitamoney says:

      788 – Hopefully the broadcasts will sting enough LE higher ups that they will cough up some money to do what it takes to find the answer.

      • 788 says:

        It will definitely raise awareness. Money is always nice however many investigations benefit more from new interest. Example the renewed interest in the JFK Assassination when the files were finally released. Thousands of public people poured through the files to find and share all the new information. It does not require a criminal justice degree to find and expose oversights made in the original investigation. It would be nice if this case could have the same result. I would rather see a purge of the files rather than an allocation of money spent on detectives lunches.

  8. Benjamin Wilson says:

    Ok i hope the family reads this. I think all of them should consider 2nd opinions with exhuming of all victims especially Jill who’s murder was most definately different the the other 3. Back then botched autopsys were common in fact look at Christopher Busch’s autopsy which was a obvious botched autopsy. They say they checked all over these bodies but i am not convinced as dna forensics wasn’t not even reconized back then. I think because of the way Jill was killed they should definately check under her fingernails and examine the females more thoroughly because dna may have been left behind in a not a obvious way to mediocre undeveloped police forensics of the 1970s. Her killing seemed very personal. Reading archives she seemed as though she didn’t take crap from no one so she probably gave them a hard time. There have been scenarios where cold cases such as this families of deceased have been able to be exhumed. I understand preaercation of the corpses may be a problem but is not unordinary for corpses to mummify. I think the family should find the exact location busch stayed over seas and post this story over there as well to see if there may even be victims of murder or sexual assault overseas. I think the King family should publish their documentary “Decades of Deceit” on Youtube to build more influence. I also think they should archive all of the FOIA request and all documents they have they should and attempt to form a PDF and make these records available for free to the public in hopes people from this region would read them along with many retired forensic detectives who may be able to help. I would even consider having conversations with accomplish cold case detectives like the golden state killer detective. I doubt law enforcement or Oakland County will help but if there is any if at all unidentified DNA to upload the DNA to ancestry websites. That is the exact way they caught the golden state killer. I know the Busch family particularly the brother of Christopher Busch is alive and lives in Connecticut. It may be a long shot but maybe try talking them even if their story line is extremely vague or bias. I would encourage anyone who was close to Busch or Gunnels to speak up about their relations with these people even if it is not relevant as there may be hidden statements that help so much. The other obvious thing I would like to mention is this killers hours of operation were typically off of 12pm on weekends and for week days was Late afternoon if i remember correctly afternoons around 7:30 and very early mornings. Also the killer abducted 2 of the victims during christams/newyears vacation of 76-77. As for the police saying the suspect had a flexible job with ability to travel may have been inadequate becaude the times of abduction and crimes scenes were typically very early mornings or late afternoons with the exceptiin of weekends and holiday breaks which would show the individual/individuals involved could have easily been preoccupied monday-friday 5am-3pm or 7am to 3pm job/schooling. I also believe that because Tim kings body was still warm when he was found suggests to me he was murdered very close to the crime scene and may have been held captive close to that area so even if Busch did commit the murders he may have used a different location outside of his own to hide the children unless they were killed in his car. I wish this family the best of luck. I know this sounds extremely corrupt but if this were me i couldn’t help but to consider studying the guards who work at that prison Gunnels is at and pay them off to leave a tape recorder outside of or in his cell and have them look the other way while a giant “Bubba” beats the truth out of him and makes sure not to kill him in the process. All of what I am saying is hypotheticals and may cost countless hours of gathering things but at the same time I think in the end I think it would have such a huge reaction.

  9. Jennifer Grinder says:

    Has anyone considered that possible he was like a Ted Bundy very functional possibly lived in Wayne county worked in Oakland county obviously none of the same therios are working with the stupid sex ring trust me someone would of snitched by now this was one man and I know who is

    • cathybroad says:

      The long-running theory has always been that it was one man. That his family may have suspected but kept their mouths shut. I have had at least eight people contact me with suspects who fit the bill. I can’t do anything with the information except pass it on to one cop. Please call the tip line with this information, even if you have spoken with police about this person before. Right now there is momentum and pressure. As it always does in this case, they will subside. There are other documentarians working on this case and I can put you in touch with them as well if you feel you are being ignored. DNA technology is constantly changing. Give police the name and the needle in the haystack DNA result maybe gets just a little easier to find.

  10. Stacy says:

    Does anyone know the status of Hastings right now? Is he alive? Are there any pictures of him outside of the Brother Rice yearbook picture anywhere?

  11. Cynthia A Williamson says:

    I lived in West Bloonfield, MI from 1971 until 1970. I was 10 – 11 years old and just going into Orchard Lake Middle School at the time. I am writing this because I was well aware of what was going on at the time and I was actually followed on more than one occasion by a green Pontiac Bonneville type car – sometimes with friends and sometimes alone. The last time I was followed all the way home. I remember locking myself in the house and calling my mom to come home from work as the car sat out front of the house. I was terrified as this was not the first time that this same car had followed me. Until this day I have no idea why my mom never contacted the police. My dad worked at Goodyear as a tire engineer/account executive. He was actually contacted by the Oakland County Police to look at casts made of tire tracks in the snow where one of the victims was found to try and determine what kind of tires were on the vehicle. I don’t know if any of this matters now or not but I know I will never forget the terror I felt when this car used to follow me.

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