Here is a redacted email exchange dated February 27, 2011. Here we are almost eight years later.
EIGHT YEARS. But what’s eight when the case is over four decades old, right?
Taking the week away from this blog and case. In honor of Thanksgiving, consider a random act of kindness this week in honor of Mark, Jill, Kristine, Tim and the many other kids who were trafficked and victimized in Oakland and Wayne Counties, indeed–all over the world, then and to the present day. Not much has changed.
Francis (Frank) D. Shelden, geologist, part-time university professor, land developer, philanthropist, owner of N. Fox Island, pedophile, rapist, child pornographer, torturer of boys, and probable purveyor of snuff films, was also a member of the board of directors of the Cranbrook Institute School for Boys when he fled to the Netherlands in late 1976 to evade justice in a child rape case.
A reader asked if I knew who was on the clergy staff at Christ Church Cranbrook, located near the school grounds, from 1975 to 1977. Anyone know?
Check out J. Reuben Appleman’s podcast about the OCCK. https://www.spreaker.com/show/you-know-they-know The podcast is available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Spreaker, Castbox and Podcast Addict.
Yes, we know they know. And by now, they should know we know that they know. Wake up, Oakland County.
Listen to Dr. Micheal Arntfield discuss the OCCK case with J. Reuben Appelman on Appelman’s podcast, You Know They Know:
Appelman is the author of The Kill Jar, Obsession, Descent, and a Hunt for Detroit’s Most Notorious Serial Killer. I discussed Dr. Arntfield’s observations on the OCCK case in a previous post. https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/56938161/posts/2474825260
Listen to what Dr. Arntfield has to say about this case, consider his credentials and expertise (see also, http://michaelarntfield.com/), and ask yourself how you can argue with what he posits. Unless you saw one of these kids while they were in captivity and have absolute direct knowledge, I don’t see how you can argue with this. I’m sure somebody without direct knowledge will try.
You need to hear this. Especially if you live in Oakland County.
Before you spend a lot of time thinking about and drafting a letter to Michigan Governor Whitmer or Michigan Attorney General Nessel about the status of the OCCK case, consider the two emails below.
First, a moving email/letter to Attorney General Nessel (similar messages to the Governor and the Director of the MSP) from a classmate of one of my brothers:
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2019, 02:19:27 PM EDT
Subject: Oakland County Child Killing case
Dear Atty General Nessel,
I’m writing to ask for your help and that of your office to examine the status of the Oakland County Child Killer case from the 1970s. I’m likely not the only person who has asked this of you, but I wanted you to know that I have a tangential relationship with the family of murder victim Timothy King.
I grew up in Birmingham, MI and went to high school with Tim’s brother, Chris. Chris was my science lab partner just prior to Tim’s disappearance and murder. The King and [X] families had many similarities: Our fathers were lawyers. Our mothers worked in the home. Our parents ate out at the same Birmingham restaurants. We kids were allowed to walk by ourselves to our local drug stores. Sadly, while my younger sister was only approached by a man who exposed himself to her and a friend, Tim King was abducted and then killed.
The entire community changed that winter. Fear and apprehension about children and safety took hold and for many people I know now, has never abated. We believed the Oakland County and Michigan State Police officials who told us repeatedly that they were working the case doggedly. And we believed for decades afterward the official theory that the killer acted alone and was likely in jail or dead as he never struck again.
Thanks to efforts of Detroit journalists and the members of the King family, the truth of how the investigation was mishandled from the very beginning is now known.
I’m writing to ask that your office explore whether adequate resources are being used in what is still an open case. Are my tax dollars being used in the most effective way possible to respond to tips and leads (which are still coming in, I understand) as well as access the most advanced DNA testing available.
The Oakland County Child Killings hang over the lives of anyone who lived through them at the time. As a member of that community then and a proud Michigan resident now, I want to see justice prevail for the sake of the victims’ families and for everyone in the state who believes our government is working on our behalf.
This writer, whose identity I concealed to prevent any retaliation, sent me an email describing the response from Governor Whitmer’s office:
So…I got the following voicemail from Governor Whitmer’s office:
‘We did receive your email and shared it with the appropriate people in our office. We also recommend that you reach out directly to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Dept and the MSP Metro North post so it can be related to the appropriate authorities there.’
He did wish me a good day, so there’s that. Sigh.
I’m going to contact both organizations as suggested but since they are the places that screwed it all up in the first place…
Hey, staffer from Governor Whitmer’s office–you might want to spend some time researching this case a little and maybe think about getting out ahead of the shitstorm that might well land on your boss and Michigan when the truth finally outs, one way or the other, in this case. Last time I checked, the MSP ultimately reports to the governor. Telling someone to call Metro North or the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office in this case is like telling someone to call Sheriff Ricky Edwards between 2005 and 2012 if your daughter turned up dead on 1-10 in Jeff-Davis Parish in Louisiana (Murder in the Bayou by Ethan Brown, now a docuseries). Or telling someone to call the Manitowoc (Wisconsin) County Sheriff’s Department or the office of Special Prosecutor Ken Kratz to report exculpatory evidence in Brendan Dassey’s accessory to murder case (Making a Murderer, Documentary).
Or, Governor Whitmer, like telling an MSU student or her parents to call former MSU President Lou Anna Simon to report sexual abuse and rape allegations against MSU gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. Passing the buck is always the first response in state government. But if you are at the top, that buck can find its way back pretty swiftly under the right circumstances.
As Shakespeare wrote, “But in the end truth will out.” That truth won’t come from law enforcement in this case, but it still might out. And long before Shakespeare wrote those words, Chaucer wrote that “murder will out.” Eventually the Universe wants these types of cases solved, or at least some solid answers and exposure. Why? Because if things stand the way they are, these kids don’t matter and they never did. They died in vain and the only people protected were the killers, the killers’ families and the law enforcement who dropped and hid the ball.
The truth will out. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Investigative Report: The Oakland County Child Killer Case, Issued June 2012, The Cold Case Investigative Society, The University of Western Ontario.Posted: November 5, 2019
A reader mentioned that she had contacted Michael Arntfield (To Catch a Killer) about the OCCK case. In addition to hosting and co-creating this true crime mini-series, Dr. Arntfield is an award-winning professor at The University of Western Ontario. He founded The Cold Case Investigative Society at Western Ontario in the fall of 2011 based on the previous success of his course “The Serial Killer in the Media.” Guess what case The Society tackled first? “[A] particularly disturbing and now-largely abandoned investigation: the abduction, sexual abuse, and subsequent murders of a minimum of four children in Oakland County, Michigan.”
Here is the report.
The work Dr. Arntfield’s students was reported in the Detroit area media.
Lest you think this was some little class project, consider Dr. Arntfield’s credentials. He is widely regarded as the leading Canadian authority on cold case murders and serial homicides. He was a police officer in London, Ontario for 15 years prior to becoming a criminologist and university professor. He has authored a number of books and related works, including Murder City, The Untold Story of Canada’s Serial Killer Capital, 1959-1984. (Friesen Press, 2015.)
Wait, you might say–this report came out just before the “magic hairs” press conference where Jessica Cooper tossed the Arch Sloan Bonneville. If you watched the documentary The Children of the Snow (February 2019), you will recall that Dr. Arntfield sits down with J. Reuben Appleman to discuss this case. He discusses the possibility that these murders fall into a ghastly serial killer format known as “group killings.” In other words, multiple participants. Busch and Green aren’t off the game board, but others could easily participated in one or more of the abductions, sexual abuse and murders.
This possibility was raised by a commenter on Topix, back when that site hosted discussions of crimes, including a thread on the OCCK. Check out the comment at the top of this page, posted on May 27, 2011:
While it was most certainly “way overdue” for the four victim’s cases to be investigated on their own, as well as investigations of Cass Corridor, Fox Island, the murder of John McKinney and the “suicide” of Chris Busch in 2011, I can guarantee you none of this will ever happen now.
Read The Society’s report, which concludes “that Busch, even with the assistance of others, was the main architect of these murders.”
“I cannot believe how the adults handled it. Unimaginable. I still remember all of us trying to comfort one another. . . We were 11 and 12. Just unbelievable.”Posted: November 4, 2019
Check out this clipping from The Royal Oak Daily Tribune, dated Thursday, March 17, 1977, the day after my brother was abducted. This newspaper was so much better than the bigger Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. This paper always dug a little deeper and got a lot more important details and a bigger picture. Because it is a poor quality copy, I will quote from the article.
L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Prosecutor at the time, explains that the task force was already working on Tim’s case. Patterson is described as the “chief spokesman for the task force.” He sure didn’t have much to say in the press after Tim wound up dead.
The article describes why Tim’s prior behavior made him unlikely to have run away, and quotes the principal at Tim’s school:
Robert Jones, principal of Adams Elementary School, where Timothy, a sixth grader, described the boy as ‘a fine young fellow, not one we would expect to be truant. The boy is doing well in school and isn’t a loner or experiencing any problems,’ Jones said. ‘He had lots of friends, he was a popular little guy.’
One of Tim’s classmates commented a day ago about the wealth of evidence against Busch and Green. Everyone who views this case as just a fascinating “whodunit” needs to read these comments very carefully. THIS is what happens in the wake of such a horrendous crime. Readers and web sleuths pick the case apart and try to figure it out and people who were directly affected have to spend the rest of their lives picking up the pieces. Be mindful of that when you comment on my blog. You literally have no idea. None.
Wow…just mindblowing. So hard to keep drudging this up (Tim was a classmate of mine and the trauma never goes away), and yet this MUST come out! Sending you continued strength for the energy you put into this each and every day.
Thank you, Beth and I am so sorry. I remember my Mom asking how all Tim’s classmates were supposed to deal with his empty desk in that sixth grade room. And the Birmingham School District, in its wisdom, issued an edict to teachers and counselors (at least at the junior high and high school levels) that they were not supposed to talk about the case. My brothers and I watched as kids who had lost a parent were consoled by teachers and counselors and we were shunned. It was incredibly isolating, painful and confusing. I hope they did a better job at Adams Elementary.
I will say that I can never forget how horribly Adams School handled it. It was gut-wrenching for all of us in his 6th grade class to have that empty desk. To my best recollection, our teacher did not engage in any sort of conversation with us about it. All those days of not knowing, and then knowing and feeling so shocked and scared and heartbroken. I do remember that our art teacher, Mrs. Bell, did talk about it with us and allowed us to express our emotions and fear and confusion. She was the ONLY ONE. I am so sorry to know that you did not receive the support you so deserved.
I will never ever forget Tim and continue to be haunted by this heinous time in our lives and disgusted as I learn more and more as an adult the injustice around the investigation. I have been reading and following everything since the internet became accessible. It always opens the wounds, but I just always hope there will be answers and justice. And my heart goes out to you and your family every time I get your blog or read a book or listen to a podcast….
Blessings and peace to you,
Beth, your pain, agony and fear which I will bet has followed you through adulthood breaks my heart again. Our school system
failed us at every level but as direct classmates you deserved way more than a “Carry On” attitude. You were still children suddenly thrust into a real life horror story. Your class, of all children, deserved and required specific professional attention. You were victims, too.
I cannot believe the way the adults handled it. unimaginable. I still remember all of us trying to comfort one another… we were 11 and 12. Just unbelievable.
This is just utterly heartbreaking. The complete failure of this community to deal with these crimes and the aftermath is what allowed the MSP and Oakland County to fashion an easy way to “put it to bed” and to never deal with it again. And the disservice done to every young person growing up in Oakland County during that time cannot even be quantified. The failures were and continue to be so epic. Unimaginable. Unbelievable. Unforgivable.