Black and White.Posted: April 12, 2020
Reading these documents you get some sense of how crazy-making this case is. There it is in black and white. Nobody really believes a family member of a victim when s/he says something is very wrong here. Like the FBI agent who spoke with my brother Mark, many assume we just want vengeance or revenge. No, we want answers. Even if the answer is “we understand your frustration, here is what we know, here is where things may have gone wrong, here is why we can’t tell you more, here is our game plan for DNA testing, here is how we are manning the tip line and following up on leads that surfaced after Children of the Snow aired in February 2019.” We even understand that active cases need your attention first. I wouldn’t want to have to defend the MSP investigation prior to 2006 (and probably not even after). But this failure was compounded by the loss of control when Wasser spilled about Busch and we went public and then they doubled-down. Cops seem to be good at that, doubling-down. So the FOIA request followed. Now you see how it’s done and it is not reassuring.
Google “Oakland County Child Killer tip line” and see what you get. Do you get a press release from the Michigan State Police or Oakland County? No you do not. You get Wikipedia, my blog and other crime websites. The tip line number was given out in Children of the Snow. Had the producers not forced the issue, there would not have been a tip line (such as it is). Umm, four unsolved murders of children and no place for the public to call in if they know something? Yeah. Should have thought of that, right?
The FOIA documents demonstrate that when my brother and my Dad went to the rejuvenated task force, Garry Gray’s message always contained “don’t go to the press,” “I don’t want to deal with the press,” or some such version. In Decades of Deceit my Dad describes one meeting where apparently he asked one question too many and Garry Gray prefaced his response with the fact that he considered himself on the OBD program. What’s that you ask? Gray explained “one bad day and I’m out of here.” My feeling was–hey, that was your bad day, now get the fuck out.
Now that you have read some of the MSP file (and again, this is the tip of the iceberg), you know why they have been so silent. Here are some observations from readers. I have a small group of readers who are helpful and very observant. You wouldn’t have believed these observations had you not read the documents for yourself. Here’s what they said:
The documents prior to Volume 5 reflect complete disorganization. It seems like quite a bit of evidence was collected and even prepared for testing. Yet it sat for decades, it looks like with the MSP.
When polygrapher Wasser slipped and revealed information leading to Chris Busch, it was like a volcanic eruption of so much concealed evidence that should have been shared first with the families, then to pursue any suspicious people and activities connected to the cars and the suspects. Then they should have asked for the public’s help.
If your father had not pursued the FOIA requests, at a cost of almost $12,000, we would all still be in the dark.
Regarding evidence storage and testing: the documents say evidence from all four crimes went to the MSP/state lab. They could not find some evidence and then they did. Documents state that the state lab said evidence needed to be retrieved because they do not store it. The FBI stated that the evidence they tested needed to be refrigerated or frozen for preservation. Was there proper follow up? And the evidence sitting at the MSP Oak Park post is still not catalogued after some 40 years.
Names from the documents indicate other suspects besides Busch–Todd Warzecha, Richard Lawson, Clark Lankey and Michael Grant.
Over 500 OCCK case polygraphs??! And the polygraph records were found at two different locations. No secure, centralized record-keeping system.
Over 20,000 tips called in during the early part of the investigation. How many tips are ignored today?
It looks like the overall treatment received by the OCCK families since the flood gates opened up after the Wasser disclosure by LE and the judicial system has been COMBATIVE. And these public employees work for the taxpayers.
I really feel this disorganization and hack job of criminal evidence retention and testing is grounds for the involvement of the DOJ Inspector Generals Office. Many key pieces of evidence came up “missing” like the gun and ropes at the Busch death scene, Busch’s suitcase of child porn, as well other evidence seized from the Flint arrests and “lost” by the FBI in a facility flood. As is the verbal gas lighting of family members by the FBI.
The Volume 5 posts are much more organized. Night and day difference of evidence and investigation notes from previous files. Livonia Det./Sgt. Cory Williams’ work is how this case should have been implemented from day one with detailed chronological notes and having all leads followed up on.
A reader also sent a link to this article from the Macomb Daily and noted the contrast between how agencies approached this serial murder investigation, the involvement of the press and communication with the victims’ families. A clear contrast to the OCCK case: https://www.macombdaily.com/news/copscourts/police-several-items-found-during-search-for-missing-girls-remains/article_2ebd5fae-c90b-11e9-914c-b311421e79a9.html
So I am a fan of you all seeing this for yourselves. Lots more in Volume 5 to be posted next. Feel free to send comments to me or to comment in comment sections below posts.