Before I move on to Volume 2 of the FOIA response from the MSP, I wanted you to understand how it came to this. This is just a rough overview with accompanying documents. Many of you have heard this background before. Bear with me as I try to demonstrate how we learned in real time that something was very wrong with this investigation and why the actions of the MSP meant we had to file a FOIA request.
In October 2006 we were all at my Dad’s house to go through the last of my Mom’s belongings after her death in 2004. While there, my Dad showed us a letter with accompanying documents he had received from retired Lieutenant Jack Kalbfleisch about the reactivation of the OCCK task force in 2005. Jack worked on the OCCK task force back in the day and was with Birmingham PD. He worked very hard on Tim’s case as well as the murders of Mark, Jill and Kristine. 2020-03-31_194111
Long story short, Jack reluctantly reached out to my Dad because his attempts to reach out to Det. Ray Anger and Sgt. Garry Gray of the rejuvenated task force were being rebuffed. These guys NEVER went back to talk to cops who actually worked in the trenches when they started up another cold case review of this case. Anger, who had also worked on the initial OCCK task force and was from Berkley PD, blew him off so Kalbfleisch contacted a Detroit News police beat reporter from with a long history with this case (Mike Martindale) to try to get someone to move on the LeMans information. Gray then was forced to respond to Jack and then the reporter. See some of the documents I read that evening in October 2006 below:
I asked my Dad if I could call Jack, and Jack agreed to speak with me and my two brothers via conference call. This letter memorializes the conversation:
This is the letter I sent my Dad subsequent to our discussions. It is heavily redacted, and unfortunately a page went missing and this was a couple of computers ago. You will still get the gist. I had redacted because I shared the letter with a detective from another agency and later a reporter and I was trying not to throw LE outside of the MSP under the bus with them.
Almost a year later (November 2007), the name of Christopher Busch surfaced after investigation of information private polygrapher Larry Wasser gave to polygrapher Patrick Coffey. Damn near a year after that, Busch’s house on Morningview Terrace was searched (October 2008). This was reported in the news. And keep in mind that our family was aware of the Busch lead because I gave the information about Wasser to Det. Williams of Livonia PD. I knew better by then to go to the MSP.
So my Dad starts calling Garry Gray with the MSP to ask for a meeting to discuss the status of the investigation. Here is an email he sent to us about setting up this meeting after a few failed attempts. None of the email addresses are good anymore, so I have left them as is.
I respond to my family.
The meeting keeps getting bounced.
The cops keep blowing my Dad off so he calls an editor at The Detroit News and reporter Marney Keenan blows the lid off of the MSP foot-dragging with an epic news story that October.
In the wake of this, the meeting takes place. The meeting where Tim and Kristine’s relatives sit in a conference room equipped with a listening device for 45 minutes waiting for the meeting. (That is from a very reliable source.)
I “love” that quote from then Captain Harold Love: “We are hoping there will come a point and time to bring this together and have everybody come together and present a conclusion to the public and to everybody else so we can put this thing to bed,” he said. You needed 6 weeks of delay to put that statement together? Eleven years later we are still waiting for bedtime.
In the meantime, reporter Marney Keenan writes this story for the News:
This is an awesome column. She gets it. “[The families] now say they look upon those in charge of delivering justice with grave distrust.”
My Dad sent this letter to Captain Love on January 4, 2010.
Of course there was no reply, no phone call. The FOIA request to the MSP followed within the week.
The cops were all pissed that we went to the media. They have never recovered from that, as far as I can tell. The MSP “doesn’t talk to families,” and the families sure as hell better not go to the press. I guess we were just supposed to eat their bullshit for the rest of our lives. Just like they tried to shut down Jack Kalbfleisch. And all kinds of witnesses who came forward over the years. They were on the verge of losing control of the narrative when Jack Kalbfleisch pushed Gray to release information about the car bumper information at the Mihelich crime scene. They ultimately lost control of the narrative when Larry Wasser spilled about Busch. Because we later learned about the information witness Doug Wilson supplied to the FBI and MSP about a LeMans seen near Tim before he was abducted and that this was also squelched, there was really only one conclusion. Our grave concerns were more than justified. To this day, the MSP continues to keep a lid on this case. Just wait and it will blow over. They know that from the 1977 playbook and I have to say, it’s been very effective.
While I was searching through these documents, I found a document someone sent me in the days leading up to the FOIA request. Not everyone forgot about these crimes and I’m sorry to say, I enjoyed reading this:
Volume 2 starts tomorrow.
If you are looking for a podcast to listen to while on lockdown, Down the Hill: The Delphi Murders, is a really interesting listen. https://www.downthehillpodcast.com/. The podcast is about the unsolved February 2017 murder of two girls, Libby German (age 14) and Abigail Williams (age 13). The girls went on a hike starting at around 1:30 pm. The girls did not show up for their ride home and a search of the area was started early that evening. The next day their bodies were found in the woods near the trail. These two girls, with everything to live for, had the misfortune of crossing paths with a coward/predator. Libby snapped a photo of him with her smartphone and captured some audio of the monster’s voice and somehow did this without the killer’s knowledge. The photo and audio are not completely clear, but both were broadcast to the public. No one has yet been arrested. Law enforcement and the podcasters have concluded that this monster is probably a local who was or is walking among the residents of Delphi, Indiana.
The way law enforcement spoke to and dealt with the press as well as these podcasters was impressive. Episode 9 is particularly poignant. In it, a retired fire chief speaks emotionally about the search for the girls. The superintendent in charge of the murder investigation and the grandfather of Libby German speak candidly, together, about the status of the investigation three years later.
If you want something interesting to read, start here with the FOIA documents provided in this case by the Michigan State Police. You have seen the letter sent by the MSP’s Assistant FOIA Coordinator Linda Ortiz in initial response to my Dad’s FOIA request:
My Dad’s attorney responded to this letter, rejecting Ortiz’s claim that there would be any exempt materials.
To my knowledge, the MSP never identified any documents they considered exempt. The 3,000-plus pages include numerous blank pages. Again, no explanation for blank pages, exemptions or redactions.
The following are from the first volume of the FOIA response. The responsive documents filled six large binders. I am posting these documents in the order they were provided. Sometimes the same documents appear in various volumes. Some of the documents are missing, as evidenced by gaps in the Bates stamp numbering. Where did these go? I can only say that documents were pulled for reporters, authors, podcasters and other media people. Some of the documents never ended up back where they should have been. I would say that approximately 25-plus pages from various volumes are missing. Presumably, they just didn’t get refiled as they should have been. They are floating around out there but are not in these computer files.
Many of the pages from Volume 1 have been previously posted, but I am posting again in order so that you can see how they showed up. Remember that these documents were provided in late spring of 2010 (a decade ago and still no answers) and are the documents selected by the MSP as responsive to a limited FOIA request concerning this case. I’m sure they withheld their little log notations concerning hacking the computers and cellphones of victims’ family members and those communicating with them, and of using a listening device in October 2009 in an MSP waiting room where family members of Kristine Mihelich and Tim King were sent to cool their heels until law enforcement deemed that their bullshit powwow could begin 45 minutes late. I doubt you got an earful that day, but wow, do you suck. Such a complete contrast to Episode 9 in the podcast referenced above.
These documents are very triggering and will challenge your faith in humanity. They raise more questions than they answer. For me, there were numerous themes that ran through these volumes from Hell. You readers are smart people; you can come to your own conclusions. I won’t even ask you to put yourself in the shoes of a victims’ families as you read them the way we did. Post your comments here; my email is so, so full. Will the truth ever prevail here?
If you have read the past few posts about Busch and Hastings, the first 13 or so files here will be redundant for you. Click on Binder 7 then on 8, even though they are on the same line. The last 6 files are new to this blog. Future posts will be shorter. This is Volume/Binder 1 of 6. More later.
Hastings did show up for a polygraph in Georgia as he agreed to do. The interview was August 2009 and the polygraph took place in October 2009. Thank you to a reader who found the relevant pages in the FOIA documents.
The polygraphs were apparently in connection to his possible involvement in the killings of Mark (document says “Douglas,” Mark’s middle name), Jill and Kristine. Because he was polygraphed in 1992 in connection with Tim’s murder (only), they did not polygraph him in 2009 with regard to Tim again.
The questions asked and the results have been redacted. I can only conclude that John Hastings passed these polygraphs in 2009 or that the results were inconclusive. I believe Helen Dagner’s website listed these results as “inconclusive,” but there is no basis I can see in these particular files for that conclusion. If I find other notations to the contrary, I will post.
There is also a notation that John called the Georgia State trooper who polygraphed him saying he wanted to talk again about one of the questions. It seemed to relate to his reading of one of the books about these crimes.
So I don’t know if this series of polygraph questions established whether or not John Hastings knew Chris Busch. It would seem that because the police moved on, they were convinced the two, who lived a short distance from each other, were basically the same age, and were both working in the restaurant industry, did not. It is a good sign for him that he showed up for these polygraphs, as he had agreed to in the police interview. I can’t deny that.
There was an interesting tweet thread today by Xeni Jardin. Jardin is a media commentator, tech culture journalist, and founder/contributor to the website Boing Boing. She also played a major role in “the forefront of investigations into Jeffrey Epstein, the pedophile who famously funded dubious scientific research and died in prison under suspicious circumstances.” https://shows.acast.com/light-culture/episodes/xeni-jardin
Child sex crime money. Transnational organized crime. Yeah. Human trafficking. Did you know that Congress first passed child pornography legislation in 1977? The Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation Act of 1977 made it a crime to knowingly use a minor under 16 years of age in obscene depictions of sexually explicit conduct.
Up until that time, I’m guessing it was a free-for-all. We have a much bigger picture today of how big the problem of pedophelia is and of how the internet has allowed child pornography to flourish. And we have a much better sense of how big the demand was for this shit in and around Oakland County, Michigan. This shit is still happening on a large scale all over the world. History repeated over and over. Silence kept this machine running and kept perpetrators operating in society instead of rotting in jail.
An interesting thing about the tip sheet regarding John Hastings from back in 1977. The tip was from a woman who knew him, knew he had quit his restaurant job some two months prior but that he still always had plenty of money. Turns out Volume 2 of the the FOIA documents is also filled with documents about the investigation into Hastings (name unredacted) and specifically work done by the late Det/Sgt Ray Anger on this lead. Some of those documents are the same ones I posted yesterday, but are better copies and easier to read.
That line about “plenty of money,” seems like a throw-away. Unless you consider that trafficking kids was probably very lucrative in 1976 and 1977. Less dangerous than selling drugs. Drug laws were very harsh back then. Laws protecting kids? Yeah, well up until the summer of 1977, not so much.
“Vengeance is coming. Justice is coming. Sleep tight.”
I hope so.
So on August 10, 2009, Det./Sgt. Cory Williams and MSP Det./Sgt. Garry Gray went to Atlanta, Georgia to meet with John Hastings. He voluntarily provided a DNA sample. It was later determined that there was no match with the hair evidence in the OCCK case. It is helpful to read this part of the FOIA file because it shows law enforcement did follow up on John Hastings. The questions are actually quite pointed at times. Mostly, Hastings denies ever knowing or seeing Chris Busch and complains about the witch hunt against him. Witch hunt. Poor guy.
As part of the interview, Hastings agreed to another polygraph. The three of them discuss what will be involved in that polygraph. I have not found any documentation that this polygraph ever took place. I continue to search the records for this. If he agreed to and then never took the polygraph, there are open questions about him as the investigators make plain in their discussions with him. If I find any documentation that he in fact showed up for this polygraph, I will post on my blog. Here are the FOIA documents covering the 2009 investigation into Hastings.
This first batch of document here begins with information about Vince Gunnels and then starts with Hastings about 12 pages in:
This last section goes into an interview of one of Busch’s nephews, more on that later:
Where I live we are on lock down to try to flatten the curve in the COVID-19 pandemic. Sad to say, I hope you are, too. This is not a drill.
I thought I was above binging on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, but turns out I’m clearly not. These venues are replete with shows about heinous unsolved crimes, some true and some based on true stories. Recurring themes: police don’t take witnesses and family members seriously or are quick to discount people. When the case can’t be quickly or easily solved, police move on to the next crime. Mistakes happen and then get compounded. Cover ups are relatively routine, to cover misfeasance, malfeasance and/or criminals who are “high value” (also read: It can’t be him, he’s a ___!!) in society.
The same names keep cropping up in the OCCK case. That’s because virtually none of the suspects have been fully ruled out. Apparently, no one on the list of 14 or so top tier suspects is a DNA match to the evidence the MSP has. That’s what everyone wants–the needle in the haystack DNA match. This case, which occurred long before the advent of DNA testing, has in essence been elevated to a DNA-only case. Remember when you read the FOIA documents dating back to pre-DNA testing and solid evidence collection days, that this case should have been solved by careful investigation, not dismissing tips out of hand and not giving a pass to people who lived on the right side of the tracks. It’s almost as though because no one could believe this shit was happening in the suburbs, that no one–including police–could believe it was a suburban resident or residents who was/were behind these crimes.
When my Dad filed his FOIA case against the MSP his attorney asked for documents relating to Christopher Brian Busch and Greg Green. I had pushed for a much-wider request, but my position was rejected. And, at a cost of over $11,000 for 3,000-plus documents (not including attorney fees and court costs), it’s easy to see how quickly the tab would have gone up if we had asked for any more. So what we have is the tip of the iceberg. I will reiterate again that never, not once, did any media outlet in the Detroit area make the kind of FOIA request that could have supported real investigative journalism here. Their attorneys are well-versed in FOIA law and would have backed some of those Oakland County judges into their law libraries to actually consider case law and craft a resolution that would have involved some real sunshine. Too costly and not enough interest, I guess. It was left to a murdered kid’s father to make the FOIA request, pony up the dough, and then share the documents with the media. It is totally fucked.
The MSP went for the “open investigation” exception (here, perpetually open)in denying my Dad’s FOIA request. So then he had to file a lawsuit against them, as provided by statute. They eventually relented short of going to trial and sent the response letter telling him that for the low, low price of $11K he could have some documents. I really believe they thought this would make him go away. It didn’t. They provided redacted documents.
Although my Dad did not mention the name “John Hastings” in his FOIA request, or any request regarding potential co-conspirators of Busch and Green, the initial part of the response (the first couple hundred pages) concerned the investigation into Hastings. A reader who is very well versed in the case asked me a few months ago why I thought this was the case. Were they proving a point–that they did investigate Hastings? It is too hard to evaluate the motivation of anything the MSP has or has not done in this case. You can read these documents and see what you think. Again, they were the first stack of documents in the response.
These pages include notes and your guess is as good as mine as to who wrote some of them. All of you who followed Helen’s story will see how her interactions with John resulted in her going to police. I don’t know how anyone could read these pages, especially knowing what we know now, and think for even one minute that John was just a bum who was reeling-in an older woman in to tell her tales so she would buy him coffee and a sandwich here and there.
As of 1992, when there was very little about this case on the internet, you would have to believe that this man was so well-versed in the media coverage of the OCCK case from back in the day that some 15 years later, he was still spouting off chapter and verse about the case. While there are sick people who are like that, isn’t sickness a given part of the deal here? Hasting’s name was not fully redacted in the FOIA documents we received. No way I am going to redact them. As I have always maintained, this man was either involved or a sick fuck. He got re-investigated in 1992 and around 2008 because HE fucked up, not because the woman he told all these “tales” to went to police. Apparently some of the shit he said did not match up with the evidence and he passed a polygraph back in the day. We know how that goes, don’t we?
Why does his name keep cropping up? Read this and you tell me. I can’t answer your questions and the police won’t even try. They have tripled-down on this one. No way they are going to look back at this one.
There is a lot here. A lot. If you are not familiar with the Helen/John story, a lot of this won’t make sense. At a minimum, if this is all a “tall tale,” this is a very sick man. Still alive and in society. Raised in upscale Bloomfield Village, Michigan. Read it and weep.
Two years probation and $800 court costs. That cleaned it up for him.