I apologize for the quality of the images of Mr. Gordon’s column. I am not near a scanner and have delayed this post long enough.
A reader, who has actually helped me out a lot over the years, asked about this column and has tried, without success, to access a copy of the show Lou Gordon refers to–apparently airing that night, Sunday, March 27, 1977, where he interviews Dr. Tanay. Does anyone have an idea of how to get access to this archived show?
A couple of of interesting points–many actually. But for starters:
1. Dr. Tanay felt it was the work of a single person.
2. Experts were convinced the assailant “is a homosexual, probably not capable of performing a sexual act himself.”
3. Dr. Tanay warned that the profile picture published in the papers should not be taken too literally.
4. He further opined that the murderer is sadistic and enjoyed torturing the families by keeping the children.
5. He explained that this killer was probably some powerless person who enjoyed the tremendous sense of power over the terrorized communities.
6. Dr. Tanay wisely observed that the phenomena of this type of killer had not been studied “and present attitudes prevailing in our society prevents us from studying them.” As an aside, as late as 2006 a MSP detective working this case clearly did not understand the vast difference between homosexuality and pedophelia.
Lou Gordon’s heartfelt column was very prescient. “Time heals and people are inclined to forget.” Nevertheless, he ended with “Let no one forget these murders!”
Just ponder for a minute over how many must have done just that for this case to swim in case file obscurity for so many decades.
We would love to be able to view Lou’s show from that evening, or hear comments from anyone who remembered watching on March 27, 1977.
9 thoughts on “Lou Gordon Column, March 27, 1977”
Lost page one in an editing fiasco. Will try again. And of course it’s March 27, 1977 not 1978.
Isn’t Dr. Tanay the doctor who received a letter from the purported killer, not identifying himself but in essence complaining that he was stuck with the other killer and couldn’t get out of the situation? “Tanay” rings that bell for me but I could be wrong. I remember the author of this column from way back when I was a teenager in Detroit, but I didn’t see the TV show.
I think Busch fits the bill Tanay is describing re not being able to do the act or feeling unworthy. He was a fat, unattractive failure but his father was a corporate superstar. So he may have been saying in effect “Hey Dad, look what I can do”, by terrorizing Detroit.
Dr. Bruce Danto received the “Allen letter.” Agree with the “look, Dad!” observation.
For what it’s worth Cathy …..
I’ve studied this case for 35 years, in fact I wrote a paper on it back in the 80s for an undergrad psychology class. Wish I could find it.
I’ve also done a fair amount of studying FBI techniques and this is what I think.
1) The FBI distinguishes between organized and unorganized serial killers. The OCCK is definitely the organized variety. The abductions are very quiet, very careful, even though they are opportunistic. The sites where the victims were left were carefully chosen, likely scoped out in advance. There would be a lot of planning and forethought.
2j A slob like Busch and a pervert like Greene don’t fit the organized model. I don’t think they are involved. The OCCK is very put together, may appear to be officious or very charming. This person knows how to disarm folks, so it could be he’s able to gain trust very quickly like a Ted Bundy. Because Tim was a very bright kid, and your father has stated he discussed being vigilant with Tim, there is little chance Tim gets grabbed by someone like Busch without making a commotion. The OCCK is not someone who appears threatening. He may even be known in the area like Wayne Williams in Atlanta.
3) The OCCK lives very close to the abduction and drop site for Mark Stebbins. It’s his area. He’s organized and for this first victim he’s going to be extra careful. And once the abduction occurs he’s going to get Mark back to his place very quickly. And the first drop site will be somewhere he knows very well. As his confidence grows the geography grows.
4) The abductions are so quiet it’s hard to imagine. No one sees anything, even the later abductions when the area is on guard. Why? It’s not a scene anyone would notice, so it’s not recalled. If it was someone in uniform, someone would likely recall seeing that scene. But these scenes blend in to everyday life. It probably looks like a well appointed business man with his kid, nothing to see here.
5) The OCCK likely lives alone, 25-40 years old at the time, and the neighbors would never imagine him being involved because he’s such a normal, friendly guy. He’d never be considered as someone who could do such things.
6) He’s homosexual but the thrill is not the sexual deviance, it’s the control, it’s the captivity, which accounts for the rare instance of victims of different sexes. The captivity and control are his signatures.
7) The shooting of Jill is one more organized factor. The OCCK would have a weapon in case it’s needed, nothing left to chance. Jill likely had some reflex that made him think she was alive and he took extreme measures.
Thank you for these observations. If you ever find the paper you wrote, please contact me.
I respectfully disagree with bitamoney’s comments above. Chris Busch had sex with many boys and was able to “do the act”. I think the profile fits a real sexual weirdo, one who is comfortable with both boys and girls (not Busch or Greene). The “look dad” scenario also fits John Hastings who will be celebrating his 70th birthday next week in an Atlanta suburb. Hastings had menial jobs, no dates and no prospects while pretty much all the kids he grew up with in Birmingham were driving hot cars, and were married or had girlfriends. His father rarely gave him a cent, which he resented and wanted to get back at society.
His parent’s marriage was going thru a tough time. He wanted to save kids from the pain he was feeling so he abducted and killed 2 boys and 2 girls – one for each of his siblings. He also had a rental house all to himself , next door to his parents.
Why LE doesn’t put the screws to Hastings and his family astonishes me. If he didn’t do it why does he know SO much about the case?. What are the odds he lived 0.4 miles from Busch? What are the odds he was at the American Legion Hall at the same time as Mark Stebbins the same time as Mark went missing? What are the odds he bowled and drank at the bar at Hartford Lanes in Berkely where Kristine Mihalich’s mom worked and across the street where Kris was probably abducted at the 7-11″? By the way, John’s sister and owner Linda Hartfield are still friends on Facebook.
Page 40 of J. Reuban Appleman book, “The Kill Jar”, The Internet Sleuth and her Suspect”:
“Inside the American Legion Hall party that twelve-year-old Mark Stebbins had departed minutes before his abduction on February 15, 1976, a twenty-something man named John, dark haired and thin, in attendance at his mother’s work party, had been mingling with guests before leaving hastily. Some say he left to go after the Stebbins boy”.
Too many coincidences for him not to be the killer or deeply involved, IMO.
JOHN HASTINGS. Alive in an Atlanta suburb. So much to say about him and his family. So many “coincidences,” which in an investigation like this, when investigators get shut down on a search avenue or they get played by the suspect/person with information, translates to gaslighting the families and anyone who comes forward with information. This is a mere coincidence, you are crazy, the person who gave us this tip is crazy, we will talk to your employer if you insist on darkening our door with this or try to go to other agencies. Like I said, a lot to say–maybe two hours on a podcast and that would be edited down. My gut, for what it’s worth: He is deeply involved, having knowledge at a minimum. I think men like him–losers in a rich suburb who weren’t off in grad school or starting a career, ran kids for pedophiles and child pornographers. Much more lucrative than selling drugs, and less dangerous. Back in the day a drug conviction could send a person away for decades. But selling kids? Hey, no one would do that, right? Plus, who can believe these kids (if they even come forward)? And certainly no one would do it in Oakland County–Detroit, maybe, but Birmingham/Bloomfield? No way!! John Hastings got a pass and dodged two bullets. While I am quite sure he is an awful human being, he is one lucky man. Bringing a serial killer encyclopedia to his most recent interview with task force members about a decade ago–hey, I just get off on serial murders and like to talk about them–are you kidding me? HE IS STILL ALIVE. His family protects him. At a minimum, in my opinion he is crazy because he did everything he could to convince a woman that he killed the Oakland County kids. Who does that?? The man who overheard a deeply disturbing conversation between Hastings and this woman had nothing to gain by coming forward, and in fact was browbeaten by the MSP after he did come forward. I think the investigation into Hastings in Alpena in 1992 started off well-intentioned but was perhaps derailed by someone much higher up than the investigating officers, because Hastings could expose flaws in the investigation and perhaps others who were involved or had knowledge, if he were to be believed. JOHN HASTINGS. His DNA apparently doesn’t match anything investigators have, so he’s home free. Freak. He apparently drives a limo. Think about being in the same vehicle as a person like this, just a friendly limo driver, wrongly accused by a crazy woman.
I am so glad you said this. The whole John Hastings scenario still has so many loose ends especially when there are “coincidences” all over the whole thing from where he was when the abductions and killings happened, where he lived, where he traveled and when and YES, later convincing a woman he was the killer. His reaction at his”most recent” interview (10 or 11 years ago?) when he is told there is a witness to the conversations he was now denying and still he gets a pass. His DNA didn’t match so the holes in his history aren’t worth diving into. Or, are they trying to plug the holes? Either way, John Hastings is alive and well and living life while his loose ends flutter free. Oh God, it could be a long form series of its own.
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