The Solution Backfired

Pat Coffey
9 hours
Cathy,
I have given COTS [Children of the Snow, on Hulu] two part series multiple repeat viewings, as well as gone over Marney’s book a few times.
Your Dad claimed in post 2006 that a friend of Tim’s from his hockey team worked in a clothing store in Birmingham with many Cop clients. Further, in 1992 he made a sale to a cop and inquired about Tim’s case. The Officer got to the door, but came back to say words to the effect “Don’t worry the case has been solved, and it was the son of a GM Exec”. Later in the book it said Cory confronted Kalbfleisch as to if he was that cop (possible denial at that time), and the book goes onto clarify Kalbfleisch called Cory back to admit it WAS him, and remembered it.
Question: How did Det. Kalbfleisch know in 1992 it was the son of a GM Exec. —- unless that became the knowledge of any or all task force members. ???
Patrick

EXACTLY.

Consider the following:

Tim’s friend said the cop also said “we couldn’t touch him [Busch].” They could have touched him if L. Brooks Patterson was not the prosecutor then. I cite to this comment by a reader every chance I get because it is so right on:

Brian Sterling
23 days ago
User Info
Threatening Victims and Witnesses
It should be understood there WAS a another cunning power broker working to manipulate outcomes at the time of the OCCK.

L. Brooks Patterson.

In November of 1975, the underground newspaper The Ann Arbor Sun published a well researched and very public take down of the then Oakland County Prosecutor. The article is titled “Naked Came the Prosecutor”. https://aadl.org/node/200230

Looking back over the decades, the opening line written by reporter Maureen McDonald rings like an urgent alarm on the disasters that lay ahead:

“The darling of the media and leading Young Republican protege, L. Brooks Patterson has parlayed the “evils” of welfare, parole, drunk-driving, drugs and “obscenity” into the most saleable political package the suburban county has ever seen. While Patterson gets great press for his attacks on people who are easily prosecuted and often can’t afford the cost of a trial lawyer. The SUN’s sources indicate that the charismatic young leader may be looking the other way on tougher challenges like organized crime and political corruption in his jurisdiction.”

2 months after this article ran, Mark Stebbins was murdered.

Patterson found his political voice in latching on to useful idiots he could play like a Stradivarius. In the early 1970’s he rose to prominence exploiting the racial tensions over things like busing and chasing down welfare cheats. He didn’t just play the race card, he spoiled the whole deck. He catered to that elite slice of Oakland County, the Bloomfield’s and the Cranbrook’s. The rounds of golf at Oakland Hills. The happy hours. Patterson was able to cultivate that cult of personality because of his hold on and ability to manipulate the Detroit media. Patterson would conduct a masterclass of beguiling reporters with his camera ready looks, couched in the style of a wise-cracking tough guy who wasn’t afraid of a microphone or television camera. Outside of reporters like Maureen McDonald, Patterson enjoyed a fawning media apparatus which in 1976 and 1977 essentially created a safe space for the prosecutor to operate well outside of conventional boundaries, including constitutional limits.

Patterson’s hands were ALL OVER the OCCK investigation.

Notably, Patterson was influential in allowing “psychic sleuth” Bruce Danto to “collaborate” with the task force, a colossal error which essentially ended all chances of solving the entire case. Patterson would even admit in the following years that the series of traffic stops initiated in ’77 on Squirrel Rd, set up under the direction of Bruce Danto’s “subliminal” messages to the killer in the hopes he would take the bait, were unconstitutional. He chuckled when relaying that tidbit, as if to suggest he couldn’t quite believe it himself.

It is important to note that during this time, instead of running his office as prosecutor, Patterson was running for higher office. He was barnstorming the state in 77 and 78 in an attempt to win the US Senate seat in Michigan. The only usefulness for Patterson in regards to the OCCK investigation was to perpetuate it, in order to affect more media attention. The goal wasn’t to catch the killer, the goal was to make everyone AFRAID of the killer, ostensibly so Patterson could swoop in and crack the case.

Until they didn’t.

When they found Busch dead after his “suicide” in 1978 you know that their blood ran cold. They had this guy. He had been on the radar the whole time. For crying out loud, Dick Thompson went up to Flint in the middle of a blizzard to interview these guys. While the scene at Morningside was a little “too” tidy with evidence screaming “I DID IT”, and certainly suggests something off and staged, the conspiracy starts to show some cracks because Patterson would not have missed an opportunity to crack the case and declare they that found the killer, GM and H. Lee Busch be damned. The problem was that Brooksy, Dick Thompson, Cabot and the MSP apparatus knew they missed the ball and a little boy was dead because of it. They covered it up to protect and maintain their own careers. If the truth had been exposed in 1978, L Brooks Patterson’s career, and that of a few others would have been demolished.

Who can orchestrate a cover up better than the man in charge of actually pressing the charges? Who requests the warrants? No evidence – no case. No killer – no problem.
“Maybe he’s dead” they said in ’78. “Maybe he’s locked up” It’s all just a bad dream. Have another drink. Go back to bed.

Remember how quickly the task force folded after Busch’s death…

After losing the Senate race in ’78, Patterson remained the county prosecutor, occasionally taking on cases himself, crusading against strip clubs and advocating for capital punishment. Hollow crusades only intended to placate the base. All while organized crime, child pornography rings and a child killing monster were allowed to roam free.

Patterson has the dubious distinction of presiding over the county prosecutors office at a time where both the Jimmy Hoffa and the OCCK crimes occurred. While not necessarily connected, both have obvious ties to different layers of organized crime. Hoffa’s disappearance traded in the same currency as those with interested in profiteering from child pornography. And it was all going down in Oakland County. And L Brooks chose to look the other way.

It wasn’t just Cass. It was Cass Lake. It was scumbags in suits trading kids like playing cards. And they had the freedom because they must have known on some level they were protected.

I too grew up in the middle of that invisible milieu, invisible right up until the bodies started piling up and fear leeched into the bedrooms and bus stops as children were bombarded with confusing and contradictory messages about strangers and trusting adults.

The corruption, or lack of will was already baked in.

Yes, this case stands as a textbook example of facts falling through the cracks because of infighting among different jurisdictions. Yes, all of this happens against the backdrop of the late 1970’s, an age where the detective work required to solve these crimes was still in its infancy. Multiple mistakes were made. There was a woeful lack of coordination and cooperation. from the start and continued for two years as the investigation unfolded. But Patterson was in that very unique position of one being able to disseminate evidence and information as he saw fit – always looking at how it would benefit him. No deals. Until there is a deal.

I was astonished to read that during that time Patterson refused to reach out to your family in person. It makes sense. While he might be able to help you, you couldn’t do anything for him. That to Brooks Patterson amounted to a waste of time. And four families suffered unnecessarily for it. An an entire generation of (then) children in Metro Detroit remain traumatized to this day.

Chillingly, shortly before his death, Patterson gave an interview in which he said his “biggest disappointment was that of the Oakland County Child Killer, was never identified.”

What a choice of words. He took his secrets to the grave, but subconsciously implicated himself in the process.

Thank you for your courage in sharing your family’s story.

Patterson had been quoted in newspapers a month to the day before my brother’s body was found saying that Busch and Greg Greene were not involved in the child killings. You can say all you want about how the MSP were hotshot polygraphers and that the incompetent Ralph Cabot is the one who “cleared” Busch and Greene and that a passed polygraph meant no more work on that guy!, but on November 20, 1978, Patterson and Richard (“No deals”) Thompson knew they had a very big problem and H. Lee and Elsie Busch were again reminded of their very large, now dead, problem.

In Children of the Snow, Dr. Michael Arntfield, widely regarded as the leading Canadian authority on cold case murders and serial homicides, concludes that multiple people may have been involved in these crimes, but that Chris Busch is the “hub” here. In Episode 6 of the podcast You Know They Know: The Oakland County Child Killer, Dr. Arntfield observers that H. Lee Busch has also been named by credible informers as being involved in what was going on here.

This is the best treatment of the Busch suicide scene by anyone, anywhere. If you listened to this episode, listen again. Seriously. (If the player doesn’t load for you, see the link in the comment section below.)

Here’s who showed up to the Busch death scene according to the Incident Report, authored by Officer Uhrig of the Bloomfield Township PD: Christine Bracken (the maid), Corporal Richard McNamee, Bloomfield Township PD, Charles Busch (older brother of Chris Busch), “family friend” W. Aitken, Detective Quarles (BTPD), I.D. Technician Brabant, Medical Examiner Goebel Brynes, ambulance attendants William Dunbar and Olma Kologink, and TASK FORCE MEMBERS JOHN DAVIS AND RON PIERCE.

Ok, Charles Busch calls police when the maid cannot get into the home? A corporal responds to a “wellness check” because a maid cannot get into the home? We all know that the scene screamed out “child killer,” and that’s why the task force was called. Yet John Davis and Ron Pierce, like Richard Thompson, have amnesia about this incident?

Someone came forward after Children of the Snow aired with insights into the personality and behavior of Chris Busch. This insight included the observation that the dumping of these children’s bodies in the open was a “fuck you” to daddy H. Lee Busch. This person’s information has been basically ignored as near as I can tell.

“We couldn’t touch him.” And you didn’t. No one in Oakland County has made any attempt to set the historic record straight. The only person who did any heavy lifting in this case was Cory Williams, who was not tainted by affiliation with Oakland County. Any “heavy lifting” in Oakland County and by the original OCCK task force was to obscure the truth.

I have seen no records that indicate any investigation whatsoever into the actions of Chris Busch between the day Mark Stebbins went missing and November 20, 1978, when Busch is rotting in his bed. No one backs up and says WTF happened here? No one looks for other victims of Chris Busch. No, they shut this all down. A happy ending as far as the task force was concerned.

Oakland County and the MSP have burned through any credibility here. As Marney Keenan’s book states, when Cory Williams attempts to bring Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper up-to-speed on the investigation after she takes office in 2008, her first reaction is that attorney Jane Burgess would never represent a monster like Busch if he was the OCCK (last time I checked, that is exactly what criminal defense attorneys do). Williams points out Busch plead GUILTY to all of his CSC crimes. Keenan also points out that polygrapher Larry Wasser (worked for Burgess) told Cory Williams early on that, despite the fact that he could not recall the name of Chris Busch, he asked Jane Burgess about this client and Burgess responded that he should not worry because the man killed himself.

Whether or not Greene was out of jail when Tim was abducted on March 16, 1977, Chris Busch most certainly was, as his daddy made sure Chris never spent too many hours in jail on his child rape charges. Busch, when asked by one of his nephews in the parking lot where Tim was abducted, pointed directly to a spot and said Tim was taken “right there.” The nephew tells Cory Williams it scared him and bothered him for years. If Greene was out on the night Tim was abducted (he certainly matches the composite drawings), he was back in jail by March 22. Greene was the one who enjoyed snuffing the life out of children. This time, Busch had to take care of everything without his partner. That’s part of the reason why Tim was dumped in Wayne County. The team was broken up; that’s why the killings stopped. The fucker couldn’t handle it all on his own. That’s why he tells polygrapher Larry Wasser specifically about Tim’s case. Busch wasn’t afraid of that pesky task force–why would he be? This task force went on to protect Busch’s name and the reputation of his entire family.

OF COURSE THIS WAS COMMON KNOWLEDGE ON THE TASK FORCE, and probably common lore among most of law enforcement in Oakland County. I believe it is part of the reason L. Brooks Patterson kept his hand on the tiller in Oakland County for the rest of his life. You people prevented answers and our ability to file a wrongful death suit in this case. Of course this shit eventually bubbled to the surface and put us in the position we have been since Richard Lawson tried to weasel with Cory Williams in his murder case and Larry Wasser soon after fucked up.

I need to point out something else. In November 2007, I was visiting Birmingham and my Dad leaned on me hard to go to breakfast with a cop who was affiliated with Tim’s case from the beginning and bring him up to speed on the Wasser/Busch lead, which was still very much below the radar. This cop did not ask ONE question as I told the story. Just sat there. Every person I have ever tried to tell this story to has a million questions; stopping me mid-sentence numerous times with “wait, wait–WHAT?!” Not a single question. A couple of cops along the way weighed in early with some version of “polygraphers are full of shit.” That is true of disgraced Ralph Cabot, but as for the rest of it–nice try. We know now who is full of shit, don’t we?

As Dr. Arntfield states in Jason’s podcast, the cone of silence around this case has always steered this case and the lack of formal resolution–however, he believes, as I do–with reasonable certainty we can say that Chris Busch was involved and was in fact “the hub.” He notes that the evidence certainly easily meets the standards used in a wrongful death case. You cannot seriously make the argument that the task force, the OC prosecutor’s office, and law enforcement in general in Oakland County did not know about this seemingly “happy ending” to the OCCK case. Even with the release of another book on this case, and with inside information from a lead detective, the Busch lead just sits a few inches out of reach. Listen to Episode 6 of Jason’s podcast and ask yourself why that might be the case.

Yes, Patrick. You and I know this had to be common knowledge. Yet we all get fucked with for trying to get some truth here. I can certainly agree with the meme that has been floating around since the murder of George Floyd: You never see a sign saying “Fuck the Fire Department.”


15 Comments on “The Solution Backfired”

  1. cathybroad says:

    If the podcast episode doesn’t load for you, try this link: https://www.spreaker.com/user/jreubenappelman/episode6final. The podcast is You Know They Know: The Oakland County Child Killer, J. Reuben Appelman.

  2. cathybroad says:

    A reader emailed me to ask about when Davis and Pierce from the OCCK task force showed up. Here is the timeline from the Bloomfield Township PD Incident and Narrative Reports dated beginning Monday, November 20, 1978:

    8:37 a.m., Corporal Richard McNamee received a radio run to the Morningview Terrace address to check on the welfare of a Mr. Busch. McNamee met the Busch’s maid, Christine Bracken at the residence.

    9:00 a.m., Charles Busch, older brother of Chris Busch, arrived at house. McNamee forces open the front door and he and Busch went upstairs to Chris’ bedroom and see him there “obviously dead & for some time (3-4 days).”

    McNamee then alerts Unit #67 (Paul Brabant and Officer Speicher), Unit #61 (Det. Quarles) and Officer Uhrig and they show up at the scene.

    9:35 a.m., Medical Examiner “Mr. Bishop” is called.

    10:05 a.m. Medical Examiner Goebel Byrnes arrived.

    Body is transported to the morgue by Fleet Ambulance attendants William Dunbar and Olma Kologink.

    10:45 a.m. Task force is notified. “John Davis and Ron Pierce came to the scene.”

    Don’t forget that the FOIA documents included a transcriptions of the interviews of Busch’s nephews, one of whom who states very clearly that he had seen the pencil drawing of the screaming boy on the wall of his Uncle’s bedroom before he wound up dead. BEFORE. He even goes on to say something like, yeah, WTF did my grandparents think of that?! Not much, apparently.

    Not only would Ted Lamborgine, Arch Sloan, Vince Gunnels, Paul Gunnels, John Hastings and his brothers, not speak honestly with police, OFFICERS JOHN DAVIS AND RON PIERCE WOULDN’T EITHER.

    • bitamoney says:

      This is the first time I’ve read that Busch’s nephew had seen the pencil drawing BEFORE Busch was found dead. So at least from that we can assume that it wasn’t a plant made by a person or persons who killed Busch. I would guess B. drew it.

    • KP says:

      Thanks for the timeline Cathy.

      IfI remember correctly, the bedroom had a few framed pictures on the wall, and the horrible drawing of the screaming child tacked up. His room really didn’t look like one someone in their late 20s/early 30s would have, but maybe it was just a guest room he moved back into. Anyway, to me it looks like the only thing he put on the walls to make the room ‘his’ is that awful drawing. So, since it had been there previously, it obviously wasn’t planted (as someone else mentioned). To me, it is another ‘eff you’ to his parents. I’m guessing he really hated them, and maybe that was part of his motivation.

      Absolutely shocking that the family reputation/money/power superceded the lives of children and their families. Bastards.

  3. maggiep1958 says:

    Change of topic somewhat but dod you see that HLN “How it really hsppened” next sunday will be about Atlanta child killings and the current mayor of Atlanta is taking a fresh look at that one. I like her. Anyone who fights for true justice and DOES THEIR JOB and truly cares!!!

    • cathybroad says:

      Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Police Chief Erika Sheilds are leading the charge to reopen the investigation into the 1979-1981 Atlanta child murders. They seem very impressive. With a new county executive, new county prosecutor and hopefully a new Oakland County sheriff taking office in January, there is the smallest chance you might see anything similar in the OCCK cases. The problem is there are still dirty players around and I doubt they would tell the truth under oath in an obstruction of justice case. Patterson, Thompson, Robertson and Krease made sure this case could never be officially “solved” and their agencies carried on in the same way. Only Thompson is still alive and he has amnesia.

  4. Tony Gould says:

    I’m also of the opinion that Chris Busch’s death wasn’t a suicide…that it was a hit of some kind and made to look like a suicide. Have any ideas, Cathy, as to who might’ve killed him?

    • cathybroad says:

      Tony, this is just my opinion. I have sat with this for years. Busch and Greene were polygraphed and investigated by the MSP in January 1977 for involvement in the killing of Mark Stebbins and the child killings up to that point. Richard Thompson, chief deputy prosecuting attorney to L. Brooks Patterson, is notified and comes to Flint for these polygraphs. Both men “pass” the polygraph and, although other investigators involved up to that point are shocked at this “pass,” Busch and Greene are “cleared” of involvement. Patterson is even quoted in mid-February saying that these two were looked at but were not involved in the child killings. Busch is on the streets immediately and a month later, my brother has been abducted, raped, tortured and dumped in a ditch in Wayne County. Busch also has numerous CSC (child rape) cases going on in various counties around Michigan during this time period. A suitcase full of child porn is found when he is arrested in January in Flint. If he had pending CSC cases, there were many more victims who did not come forward. That is just how the statistics work in pedophile cases.

      When Busch meets with Larry Wasser for a private polygraph in yet another CSC case–and this had to be after March 1977 because Busch was now represented by Jane Burgess–during the pre-polygragh interview, Busch specifically mentions involvement in my brother’s murder. He tells Wasser he “passed” a polygraph concerning the child killings administered by Ralph Cabot at the MSP in January 1977. Now Wasser knows he has a big problem.

      I believe Wasser and Burgess dime Busch, who is obviously a serial killer. I believe a cop then kills Busch. We will never know for sure if this was the case, for obvious reasons.

      Although given Busch’s crimes, including against his own nephews, there might have been people lined up to shoot this guy between the eyes, I still think it’s a cop. A cop is the only person who can get away with this forever. I disagree with Dr. Arntfield’s observation that the “suicide” scene was too messy for a cop to have set it up. He must have worked over the years with much higher caliber cops than I have crossed paths with.

      That it is a cop is consistent with how Bloomfield Township PD and the MSP handle the investigation. Same with incompetent ME Robert Sillery. There is no news on Busch’s suicide. It all stays quiet. It was a cop.

      The big question for me is that the scene clearly gets set up to paint Busch as the OCCK, but this gets absolutely no traction . Not with the cops investigating the death scene, not with the MSP. Who took care of that? The only people high enough up the food chain were Patterson, Thompson, Robertson and Krease. But eventually more cops know of or hear the story. They all stay silent. That’s the only way this works. Everyone has to obstruct justice or they all go down.

      Over time, they all start dying off and the secret is secure. No way Busch killed himself. And I don’t care who killed him–it needed to be done. I do care that a group of cops kowtowed to H. Lee Busch and decided their solution was the best way to shut this down. I would not trust one of these cops to even answer the question “where can I get a good doughnut?,” or, in Patterson’s case, “where can I get a stiff drink?.” They all obstructed justice. Their little “solution” violated the victims in this case yet another time.

      They assuage their guilt with the mantra that “no more killings occurred,” and the thought that they were certainly entitled to the rest of their careers as stand-up members of law enforcement or politicians. That is why Oakland County will never recover from this crime.

      • OCresident says:

        I wonder if H. Lee pulled the trigger – the discussion in the podcast about WHY he was able to get the gun back (not an heirloom, a gun from Kmart) almost immediately is fascinating to me.
        If Chris really hated him, and it was mutual, I could see dad pulling the trigger and that would explain the messy staging and would be another reason for hush money to be paid.

        • OCresident says:

          I also ask – what do we know about H.Lee Busch’s relationship with L.Brooks Patterson? Were they acquainted? Did they attend the same fundraisers and golf outings?

          • cathybroad says:

            No clue. And no one will talk now. H. Lee was basically a ghost on the internet when we first started looking at him. Big wig at GM and there is one photo of him from GM and his obituary.

        • cathybroad says:

          Excellent points.

        • cathybroad says:

          Because of what took place at 3310 Morningview Terrace on November 20, 1978, there will be no answers to any of it. The pigs and L. Brooks took care of that. Another person who has looked closely at this case speculated that there were two people present when Busch was offed. Perhaps one held a gun on Busch while the other helped pour vodka down his throat while they grilled him about confessing and to tell them where the photos were. Think North by Northwest with Cary Grant. The empty vodka bottle in the kitchen is not processed for fingerprints or palm prints, as noted by Dr. Arntfield. Busch’s BAC was off the charts. Way too fucked up to get a bullet aimed just right for a “between the eyes” suicide. He didn’t get a McKinney-type beat down, but then again it doesn’t appear he tried to bolt on his visitor(s).

          Two other readers mentioned the most obvious indication of all that a cop or cops were involved. Busch’s death notice appears in the paper along with an article that darn it, the task force ran out of all those big grant monies and will be shutting down. A month later, doors closed.

  5. D.Lightfoot says:

    A bit off topic: Regarding mention of Patterson’s affiliation with “useful idiots” and “agitating racial tensions over things like busing,” I was recently revisiting this proud moment in Michigan history:

    “Opponents continued efforts to block busing by petitioning Congress … The movement was spearheaded by a local homeowners group called the National Action Group (NAG), which claimed more than 20,000 supporters … led by a fiery 36-year-old housewife [and useful idiot] Irene McCabe [who] rode the tide of resistance to national attention … NAG claimed to have no affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan or other hate groups … Members kept their children home from school, staged sit-downs along bus routes, enrolled their children in private and parochial schools. After the rear-end assembly of a bus fell off [wonder how that happened?] in the first week of busing, NAG added unsafe buses to its list of reasons why parents should demand an end to school busing. ‘I can’t in good conscience tell parents, black or white, to send their children to school where friction is so great that they’re going to the hospital day after day,’ insisted NAG attorney, L. Brooks Patterson. ‘And they’re riding buses unfit to be on the highway.’”

    The local Klan then bombed a fleet of new school buses, purchased with federal funds, in Pontiac, Aug. 1971.

    http://blogs.detroitnews.com/history/1997/05/03/irene-mccabe-and-her-battle-against-busing/

    • cathybroad says:

      Patterson. An awful human being and a sad but perhaps accurate reflection of Oakland County. Nice dog whistle on the busses, Brooksie. Teflon, and stayed in power for many decades to make sure he could mess with anyone ready to expose him. Everyone loved his “economic work” on behalf of Oakland County, but lots of residents also secretly loved his racism and misogyny. Good riddance.


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