“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.”

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.


1d ago
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.
Beth Tigay

1d ago
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.

1d ago
Dear Cathy,

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,

1d ago
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.

Judi Coltman

21h ago
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.

13 thoughts on ““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.””

  1. No mention was made over at Seaholm either, at least that I was aware of. My math teacher at the time looked like the police sketch — dark hair, mutton-chop sideburns. I sat in the front row in his class with a pit in my stomach. A few days later he was clean-shaven, but the clench in the gut never really left.

    1. Sara – no, no mention other than hushed whispers between classes and most of that was all of us wondering how the hell we were supposed to carry on. And sadly, if I am correct, that teacher was, in fact, questioned. He was a good teacher and I imagine this damaged him as well, having to face students – friends of Tim’s siblings knowing he resembled the sketch, that his own students may be frightened, having been questioned and he, too, had to maintain the “Carry On” attitude. Thus, as I have said, we are all victims of the monster.

  2. I don’t know if you tried Michael Arntfield {To catch a killer} but I sent a request to him to help you on this cold case we will see if anything comes of it, I am a survivor of an attempted kidnapping in 1977 near the time that your brother was kidnapped this case is very personal to me as you already know, I am still trying everything I can to help get justice and peace for all the families, myself and most importantly Tim, Jill, Mark, and Kristine.

    1. Thank you, OCCK Survivor. Dr. Arntfield is also an award-winning professor at The University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada. He formed the UWO Cold Case Society in the fall of 2011 to investigate cold cases. This was based on the success of a class he taught called “The Serial Killer in the Media.” Guess what case The Society looked at first? The OCCK case. I will post their report, dated June 2012 in my next post.

      1. You are very welcome only trying to help, I found it so interesting it was the first case they studied, and also the whole article was very interesting, too bad no one can solve this dang case, I know you will never stop and neither will I.

  3. I am sorry that things were not handled so well in Tim’s school, I will tell you our Principal made it very clear to be on the look out,
    After my attempted kidnapping walking home from school, and making the police report, my Principal brought the police to the school the next day to talk to all of us about the children that were murdered and how we could protect ourselves against the OCCK.
    I also remember the sadness felt in our school over the loss of the children, and our Principal is commended by me for the way he handled this time of life.
    I was a proud little girl I received an award from the police department for bravery as I broke the kidnappers death grip on us, and he sped away.
    Praise to my Principal as he made us hold hands if we walked to school, and had no problem telling us there was a killer in Oakland County.
    It is a real shame all the classmates of all the children that were murdered did not get the moral support that Lake Orion Pinetree Elementary got, we all remember and grieved together over children we never met or played with .
    Shame to the teachers and Principals who did not comfort the children.

  4. I share some of the feelings of Tim’s classmates because one of my classmates died when I was in the 7th grade. She was fine on Friday and she was dead on Sunday. No one ever explained why. I still have incredibly nagging suspicions and rage. And you know what? I don’t remember any of the names of my classmates, but I remember hers. I’m 68.

  5. This is utterly shameful and such a failure on the part of adults who were supposed to protect children. I grew up in Birmingham, I went to Quarton and I was roughly Tim’s age when he was kidnapped and killed. It was never discussed other than a vague “don’t talk to strangers.” But the lack of resolve to solve this case or to provide answers will reverberate for generations. My kids wondered why I would so completely panic and relentlessly check their phone apps until they read the story about these horrible crimes that no one was held accountable for.

      1. Hello Kathy.

        I just found this blog last night. I reached out to Catherine last night to check on ordering the DVD. I told her in an email today that before cell phones I gave my kids walkie talkies that are good for several miles and made them check in often with me when they were out on their bikes.

        I did not understand for sometime the reason of my over protection,however one day it hit me.

        Like so many others we were all effected by the horrific events of our childhood.
        I remember Tim and for some reason Cynthia cadieux who was abducted and killed early 1976. I remember it like it was yesterday.
        To the King family I hope you have found so peace and the strength of Mr.King to fight on is amazing.

  6. One thing that stands out from the article is that the dad was/is an attorney.

    A person would wonder if there might be some demographic peculiarity to the families. Were they a fair mix of local people? Was there ever any indication that the killings might not have been random?

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