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.”
31 thoughts on “Investigative Report: The Oakland County Child Killer Case, Issued June 2012, The Cold Case Investigative Society, The University of Western Ontario.”
Arntfield’s book on the murders in London, Ontario is superb. I’m glad you mentioned it. I was the same age as many of the victims, just moving from high school graduation to college and I never heard a SINGLE WORD about these events while I still lived in Detroit.
I did not realize he was in Appelman’s film. I want to see that again.
Cathy, we know that these perps weren’t interested in sex with girls or women and the coroner’s reports say the girls were not raped. What is your opinion on why girls were taken?
The most obvious explanation is that these freaks used girls in their pornography stills and films. Psychiatrists and psychologists at the time opined that the killer would have abducted children of either sex to exert power and control over them and to leave their bodies as a message to society.
or the girls were used as a lure? Just a thought
The problem with that though is the disconnect, or inconsistency, between a) abducting somebody and then killing them directly, and b) not ‘using’ them in some other way.
What is known reliably is that the person was capable of shooting somebody in the head at close range with a shotgun, or strangling them, then handling the body in a careful way. That really eliminates most people. But then the person placed the bodies within sight of houses, a police station etc. Which even more paints them as seeking a thrill. In other words it looks like a scenario designed by a committee, several people with conflicting motives.
The supposed ‘expert theory’ about ‘exerting power, message to society’ etc might fly at a theoretical level, but unless there is at least one example of another killer with such a wide range of behaviors, and that motive, it seems more likely a group of people was involved.
I live right outside of Port Huron. I was doing research and I came across the death record of a Gerald S Richards in the st. Clair County register of deeds. There is a group of us looking into some strange things going on here in this county.
Researcher 1 I would like to hear more. Cathy could you forward them my email address
I’m really new at this, if you go to facebook, justice for O page. Interesting findings. The more we dig, the worse it gets.
I hate to point this out because it is lurid but it seems obvious that the girls could have been abused by being forced to perform oral sex. All that was said re: the girls was that they had not been penetrated – that doesn’t mean they weren’t forced to perform oral sexy& I’m not sure there’d be any evidence of that. My guess is that since gunnels hair was found in Kristine – maybe the girls were procured for some of the teen boys or others who liked girls.
I hesitate to even post this because it is probably so far fetched. When I was doing research for my book about the Fox Islands, I spent a lot of time in the Leelanau County Register of Deeds office. I wish I would have noted the reference but I didn’t. I did think it was interesting that one of the Shelden brothers owned property in the interior of Leelanau County, not just on South Fox Island. Usually, the wealthy in Leelanau buy shoreline property.
It could be that the property was used for an airstrip, but maybe for something more sinister. I don’t know when I will be at the deeds office again, maybe there is some way you could check it out.
Again, I hesitate to mention this because I don’t want to waste your time on a wild goose chase.
My best to you,
I meant to say North Fox Island, not South.
I meant to say North Fox Island, not South.
I’d hit a whole bunch of alphabet agencies with foia requests regarding Shelden.
There’s probably much more to his story than the fables that have been fed to the public.
Absolutely, Walter. A FOIA request to the FBI regarding Shelden and Fox Island resulted in this response many, many months after the request: So sorry, the facility those records were housed in suffered a “catastrophic flood.”
I know this comes across as ‘loony conspiracy theory’, but there are enough unusual coincidences regarding Shelden that it might be wise to look at other agencies.
The specific timeframe in which he got involved with ‘the oil business’, and a few other things point to him being involved with something else.
Even if various agencies are not cooperative in producing paper, their work does reliably leave a trail. In this case, there is a public legend about how Shelden ‘escaped’ and established himself in Europe. That legend is consistent with the crimes, but it may not be entirely accurate.
A place to start the research would be with those agencies in Europe tgat would have had some contact with his post escape persona.
That’s good to have an ‘authoritative’ list of evidence that can be considered accurate.
The one ‘scientific’ advantage today that would seem to make the case solvable is dna, but it’s likely the mitichondrial dna from a single hair is questionable.
The person who took the children had a lot of contact with the clothing, bodies etc. even if he or they wore gloves etc, there would still be a substantial amount of ‘tiny’ bits of residue.
There is no doubt whatsoever that that kind of residue would be enough to solve the crime at some point in science’s development. The question is only whether it’s currently possible.
Instead of spending vast amounts of effort on dubious things like fibers and supposed mitochondrial dna from a single hair, why not gather all of the physical objects that remain in some kind of storage, put them in an absolute sealed environment, then patiently consult experts on what the current probability for extracting evidence might be.
There are many complicated areas of science beyond the few fields that first occur to people. There are probably many nondestructive tests that could examine the clothing beyond what has been done so far.
At any rate, the important thing at this point, obviously, is not so much ‘finding’ the killer or killers, but rather developing the information in a way that is useful i.e., which discourages that kind of crime or provides some insight regarding it,
Hello Ms. Broad,
I think you said the toxicology reports showed there were no drugs in their systems…were these kids force fed alcohol….as this seems to be an impossible way to keep them captive for any length of time, given their ages and athletic abilities (hockey player, bike rider etc…..)? Unless sedated with booze/cough syrup or some OTC drug like benadryl?
Unless they were kept at the more isolated cottage on Ess Lake?
Or someplace less populated?
Do you know the name of the witness that called the police to report CB at the cottage with young boys? Has she ever told her story? Maybe a local up there knows something but due to the lack of a thorough police investigations, it has been forgotten?
I just keep trying to help. To jog a memory perhaps.
Someone knows something. Especially since LBP is not around.
Again I wish you some sort of success.
The witness’ name was “Suzie”, owner of the A Frame Party Store, now deceased, who made the call on March 19, 1977. There was also an anonymous caller who saw Busch with 3 young boys at the IGA also on March 19, 1977.
Thank you. your information draws a horrible picture as to who had Timothy, and how the system failed him and the others. It’s right there…..
I think there is a connection between the Oakland County child killings and Reverend Father John Robert Thwaytes A lifelong criminal paedophile concealed in India but heavily active in the world paedophile network with close friendships including Frank Shelden And Dr Frits Bernard
I have evidence of both of these latter men at the orphanage in Malbazar West Bengal Where Father John effectively ran a sex tourism hostel operation under the cover of the Papal missionary orphanage Boys Town Mal
There are strong rumours of a catholic priest hastily removed out of the USA after the killings period and I have strong suspicion of John. I knew the man personally and I now have very strong evidence that he has killed at least once in this orphanage. He was a very Damaged persona of huge intellect and deep emotional problems. He is a perfect candidate at least for forensic inquiry .
Damaged persona of huge intellect and deep emotional problems. He is a perfect candidate at least for forensic inquiry.
He has direct and strong connection to the exact location of the OCCK case
He entered the Maryglade seminary in 1960 Which is within minutes driving of the various murder scenes. There can be little doubt that this is when he first met Francis Duffield Shelden Who also purchased his child sex crime venue, North Fox Island, in the same period
Why did Shelden abandon his life in USA FOREVER? It could not possibly be accepted that charges in those early days of child sexual abuse, against the wealthy powerful millionaire of old Michigan Respected family, would be enough to drive him away forever. He had the money and the connections to work it out. He was clearly deeply enmeshed in much more than the rape of little boys.
I think strongly that John was involved too
Whether it was OCCK or some other heinous evil something drove Frank Shelden to abandon his prior life – it has to be a murder involved.
Decades later Frank Shelden is merrily coming and going screwing Indian orphans at Boys Town Malbazar and Caesar School Malbazar where John Thwaytes had been funded MILLIONS of dollars to build these institutions
How could Shelden even know of this extremely remote place unless through the connection he made in the 1960s
The orphanage has recorded ongoing funding from Detroit – money from PIME Fathers perhaps but likely also from Shelden buying his screwing rights in Indian orphanage
Two separate witness statements refer to two separate hidden bodies buried secretively in the BTM grounds by the priest
One a child the other a woman Fr John is alleged to have murdered
His DNA MUST BE OBTAINED FROM INDIA AND CHECKED AGAINST ALL OCCK EVIDENCE
I have pics of these paedophiles drinking together in BTM India years after Shelden fled USA
I HAVE PICS OF FRITS BERNARD IN COMPANY OF INDIAN ORPHAN WHO HAS IDENTIFIED THE MAN TO ME
The child (now a man) named in a sex diary of Father John has told me that friends of Father John came 3 or 4 times annually in groups to visit and sexually abuse orphans
It was his information that led me to locate photos I had copied years before from the PC of the priest as I helped him do backups
The orphan man (victim) gave me the names and then identified the photos as those who screwed him as a boy
I found photos of same Frank Shelden in the OCCK media stories
This occurred only about April 22 2019
A lot needs inquiries but I shout into a vacuum if preference for ignorance
There does seem to be a connection between most or all of those people, but the question is if it was a bunch of random people with a shared interest in abusing boys, or if there was some framework, like government, in which they had power and were protected.
From a February 1977 news article
“State police believe they have uncovered evidence that links Leelanau county’s North Fox island to an international network that uses children to produce homosexual pornography”.
Then these hearings were in May and June 1977
So that, by itself, indicates that somebody considered that group of fox island people significant. It wasn’t ‘a group of local perverts’.
But there is also a lot of evidence the media coverage was centrally managed. For example from Dec 16, 1977
“Informed sources say Shelden wrote the youth from Miami…………..Three days after the warrant for Shelden’s arrest and one day before the charges were revealed…….the young man put a rifle in his mouth and pulled the trigger.”
In that same article, these mysterious reliable sources mention that Shelden sent a resignation letter postmarked from Kearney NJ where Starchild et al were located.
Somebody was feeding specific information that guided the public image of Shelden towards him being the leader of a criminal enterprise.
When you read media coverage of him pre scandal, it has the quality of an organized media campaign. It’s one of those things that would not have been visible at the time, but a person today can look at the coverage and see what today would have been called a clumsy media campaign.
I remember in the late 70’s it was common to see ads along the lines of ‘send us $20 and we’ll show you how to bid on federal oil leases.” The pitch was you would enter a lottery style chance to win mineral rights to a lease. If you won then you’d sublease or whatever your rights to an oil company.
This process probably had been going on for decades, but it was the 1973 oil embargo that both skyrocketed oil and made oil development the top national security concern from the mid ’70s forward.
People who were positioned early, ’72 to ’75 roughly, either had inside knowledge or connections or whatever. The earlier a non oil person positioned himself in that field the more scrutiny they should draw with regard to their connections.
Going a step further, you can look further back at incidents that influenced the development of oil as a security priority, like the Boggs / Begich plane crash, and look for fingerprints of the same crew.
There were a number of people in that timeframe who appear to have been part of a very influential effort by some vague government project to organize and expedite oil development, or perhaps more realistically to profit from it. A group of people who largely had immunity from any prosecution for anything, unless some threshold of media interest and private investigation forced accountability.
There was, and is, a broad overlap between a) people with extraordinary ‘national security’ authorities, and b) large criminal organizations, whether drugs, pornography or whatever, and c) corporate interests.
The one name you mentioned Frits Bernard
has a lot of similarities with a group of prominent scientists who were involved in very secret government projects in the 1950s, 60s etc.
The general template repeats again and again, Jeffrey Epstein being a recent example.
Here’s an interesting coincidence.
A Dec 12, 1976 clipping that centers on the article “Lake hideaway suspected as homosexual boys camp”.
If you click on the yellow highlighted part you can look at the whole page.
Doing that, you see the article “Pipeline coverup is charged’.
“Possible collusion between federal agencies and the Alyeska Pipeline Services company involving falsified xrays of defective welds…” etc
Alyeska was one of many companies, like Bill Allen’s VECO, that serviced the building of the pipeline, maintaining infrastructure etc. All of these companies had secretive connections to federal entities that is still not widely public.
You can talk to anybody who worked in that era and they will tell you stories that all boil down to ‘unlimited funding’.
‘Whatever’ or ‘Whoever’ with an unlimited amount if money developed the North Slope and built the pipeline etc with no constraints whatsoever. Call it a mix of Exxon etc i.e., the oil consortium, and another powerful interest.
The article refers to a type of nondestructive testing for welds. The accusation is that a wide group of people conspired to hide defective welds on the pipeline, and a possible implication, aside from the corruption, is that the ‘defective welds’ provided some benefit to the conspirators aside from simply not having to fix them.
In other words there was ‘some group’ that had a blank check mentality and arranged the pipeline in 1974.
They had, under them, a vast second tier which was, basically, the U.S. government and the various resources involved in the pipeline.
This was not just in Alaska though.
One more brief point.
Years ago the clumsy way this coverup was furthered might have had credibility. Nowadays people should be suspicious about the origin of ‘information’ like
“But before his arrest on July 23, 1976, police records say that the former gym teacher managed to call and warn his friend Shelden, who promptly disappeared.”
Hi Catherine, I grew up in Dexter. My sister and I were victims of a sexual abuse and child pornography ring in the late 60’s and the 70’s. Our father was a member of this group. Also, our family were members of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Dexter, although we attended public school and not the St. Joseph school. The documents in your post on Jan.16, 2014 are portion’s of my sister’s interview with the FBI. We are just beginning our own investigation of what happened to us and came across your blog. We are interested in starting a discussion with you to see if we can help each other in any way. I hope to hear from you soon.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Are there two different possible ties to OCCK regarding St. Joseph’s Church in Dexter and St. Joseph’s Scool in Port Huron? I’ve read quite a bit about these cases, and I’ve seen Dexter mentioned, but sm unclearon the connection. Gerald Richards was a Gym Teacher at St. Joseph’s School in Port Huron and was also involved with child pornography, Frank Shelden and North Fox Island. Is there another St. Joseph’s Church in Dexter potentially associated with OCCK?
According to FOIA documents, in 1992 the FBI was investigating a child porn ring operating in Dexter, Michigan in the 1970s. Victims expressed fear of reprisals in this report, even 15 or more years after the fact.
One of the many odd things about this case – when Lorne Doan (not sure if spelling) and the Southfield detectives stormed the Alma restaurant and arrested Busch – he asked to go home and get a toothbrush???wtf??? Of course they let him because it opened them up to be able to search his home where they found the child porn, shotgun & ropes (and to me- THESE ropes are much more important than the ropes found at his ‘suicide’). They asked to look around his home and he said he had ‘nothing to hide’!! Doesn’t almost seem as if Busch almost wanted to get caught? He told them he ‘had nothing to hide’ but they found a crap ton of evidence!
As Lorn Doan and the detectives in the trenches in this case said ‘we were sure we had our guy’!?
It seems to me the detectives did THEIR job then it was out of their hands(?) they were shocked when Busch and Greene ‘ passed’ the polygraph .
So it really seems like the police work and detective work was done – then it was out of their hands and higher ups ‘passed’ B and G on the polygraph snd decided to let them go. And wasn’t it Doan who wrote he thought Greene was also out on bail until his sentencing? Seems to me the actual police were trying to do their job and some others in polygraph and sentencing were undoing it all!!
Yes, I agree. It is hard for me to put an asterisk on everything and everyone in this complex case. Yes, Doan most certainly did his job and so did the late Tom Waldron from Flint PD and so did many cops on the street who were unaware of the machinations that would follow. They assumed everyone above their pay grade or on the “task force” was doing their job and not dirty. At the point of the polygraph, for which Assistant Deputy Prosecutor Richard Thompson travels from Oakland County to Flint to attend that things take a turn. And then the wheels fall off when Busch is found dead in the “I am the child killer diorama.” Even if Busch is not your man, you have to wonder why someone was framing him for it. And even those in LE who “heard” of what went down with Busch but did not participate in any of it or have direct knowledge, were powerless to change things. But staying silent in the face of clear wrongdoing–that is another matter. It’s Busch getting special treatment, Patterson, Thompson, Ralph Cabot’s either incompetent or dirty polygraph, Robert Sillery M.D.’s incompetent and/or dirty office at work on autopsies, including that of Busch, perhaps some judges, perhaps prosecutors in Midland, Montmorency and Oakland Counties, whoever offed Busch, Hojnacki, McKinney and possibly Flynn, whoever cut a deal with the killer’s “representative” at the Birmingham PD, and all the cops present at the Busch “suicide” scene. It’s like M.F. Cribari’s title in the 2011 book, Portraits in the Snow : The Oakland County Child Killings… Scandals and Small Conspiracies. SCANDALS AND SMALL CONSPIRACIES. These weren’t brain surgeons. These were men who wanted their promotions and their pensions.
You think Robert Robertson and Joe Krease at the MSP wanted this failed, fucked up investigation on their “records” while they are in the prime of their careers? You think Cooper and Walton want to get this stink on their office, especially knowing Cooper knew Jane Burgess and Larry Wasser? Not a chance.
I said many years ago that Patterson, Thompson, Robertson and Krease totally fucked over the hardworking cops on this case, too.
Gosh Cathy – I’m so sad for the families- it’s just got to make your blood boil! It’s clear there were judges and that awful polygrapher who ‘ passed’ Busch and Greene – had to be in some type of cover up – for gods sake – did they think no one was going to figure it out??
Yes on Robertson and I would also say the average viewer of Children of the Snow can see that too- for example- my husband knowing very little about the case having not grown up in the area -was totally unimpressed with the interview with the younger Robertson – he said while watching it- ‘that guy seems to think this is all a joke’. So people are seeing through this – I really feel the more we talk about this case and keep it in the public – it’s gathering momentum. I’ve written two letters to Oakland County officials -thi I don’t live in Oakland county but I think Oakland county residents should be beating down their doors. I plan to keep on – next letters to the Governor! And I’d like to know why she didn’t respond to Michael Farquar (i believe he said he wrote to her – bravely telling his story) and never heard back. Well- there is strength in numbers and we should all – as citizens be standing up for justice for these innocent kids.
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