Social Media and Cold Case Documentaries

The article I posted a link to in my last post alludes to but does not directly address social media in cold cases. In another “coincidence” I received a Google alert about that article yesterday just as I sat down to look through old posts from various cold case and other forums, trying to find a link to a POS who has threatened people over the years related to this case. This man posted under a variety of names in various places over about a decade of online discussion about this case. I have no doubt he reads my blog. And there are others who clearly posted under various names (writing style stays consistent, despite your best efforts) and who continue to on this blog. Topix was the main site where there were no rules and clearly there were participants who seemed concerned about their status as an accessory or an obstructor of justice in this and other cases involving the rape and abuse and murder of children.

But there were many other places where people commented online about these cases. Helen Dagner’s various websites, John Douglas MindHunter Forums, Cold Serial, Click On Detroit (“How has the Oakland County Child Killer Case Impacted Your Life?”(2006)), Gary, Hitch Hiker’s Guide to Reality, The Girl from the Ghetto, The Lisa Life, just to name a few. These sites go back over a decade ago. And of course there is a Facebook page about this case. J. Reuben Appelman’s book, The Kill Jar, and the subsequent documentary Children of the Snow, shook some branches in this ancient cold case.

What’s so interesting about the digital age and about the fact that we have obtained so many FOIA documents in this case, is that it will be relatively easy to do a post-mortem (if you will) on this investigation. Where the ball got dropped. Who went to police and was ignored and forcefully blown off. Who got special dispensation because of their lot in life. Who died after this information should have been acted on. Maybe even who decided to shut this thing down and spend more energy squelching inquiry than finding some sense of justice for the child victims. And let’s not forget, law enforcement has not asked for the public’s help in this case–until they were basically forced to by providing a tip line phone number at the conclusion of Children of the Snow and the series produced locally by WDIV. A tip line that goes to–you guessed it–the Michigan State Police. If the case never gets solved, we can’t go back and evaluate how this happened and how to prevent it in the future. Pretty obvious.

I have asked–begged–law enforcement for a long time to get out ahead of what might be a serious implosion of their ribbon-tied, no conclusions, just more questions, investigation. The fact that they won’t do it is not just bad news–it is starting to border on bad faith. We had enough of that back in the day. You either rise above it, or get tarnished with it. I am still so pissed off about that 11 million number on the DNA noted in my last post. That can be winnowed down significantly as I described. You have the mtDNA sequence from those hairs. DO YOUR JOB and outsource what needs to be outsourced. It is so obvious what is going on here. Obvious and unconscionable at many levels. Yet there is no accounting, no explanation.

While searching for old posts I found this 2009 posting on Delayed Justice. In this writing, the author describes meeting with two newspaper writers and discussing the OCCK case. His post includes a 1997 article written by Pat Shellenbarger in The Grand Rapids Press. If you know even a little about this case I think you will find it fascinating on many levels. The article notes that a made-for-TV movie script was based on the killings, but ABC rejected it because it was “too chilling.” Try living it. It also notes that a book on the case back then “didn’t sell well” because “there’s no ending.” I wonder who kept it that way? And why people back then didn’t realize the reason there is no ending is in many ways THE story?

Check it out (the relevant discussion begins on page 2, followed by the news article):


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