Civil Discourse

Dating back 15-some years on internet forums discussing the OCCK case, I always believed Alpena Witness and Berkley Witness were telling the truth about what they saw and heard. Their stories never wavered. They had no motive to lie. They were not treated well when they came forward to police (a massive understatement in the case of Berkley Witness). Alpena Witness, having read Marney Keenan’s book, sent me the following email. No attacks please. Read it and carefully consider what he says before you let your brain shut off.

Hello Cathy;

It’s approaching near three decades (next year will be 30 years even) since I witnessed the most bizarre discussion I ever heard in my life along with someone going over details on maps drawn on the back of restaurant placemats.  It’s been maybe about 15 years now since I woke up to what it was all about and started my correspondence with you along with others involved with the case.

There’s no need to go over the same details again and I won’t.  I see the same arguments and debates that has been going on for years now though.  Different people with same arguments but in some cases, some of the same people with their suspects and stories.  Seems beyond pointless to really debate or argue over any of it.  Been there so many times before.  People out there can believe whatever they want to believe.  Because when it comes to the truth over this case, we will probably never know.

If people want to discount Helen’s story and suspect because of her character I guess that’s the easy way out of it.  After all,  law enforcement has done the same thing since day one.  I guess when it comes to hard evidence it’s not there but on the other hand,  no one has really taken any steps to go find if something was there.  

At least now with Marney’s book I know what really happened when they went to Georgia.  Looks like what appeared to be a shoddy investigation if you even want to call it that.  Looks like Detective Gray can be blamed for most of it, not Cory.  I kind of figured that all along anyway but I really didn’t know for sure.   Try to understand that no one ever really told me what happened in regards to that incident.  Cory never got back with me after we talked and now I know why.  I’ve always seemed to get the cold shoulder from everyone because of my association with Helen and now I can understand all the more why.

I did talk to both Cory & Gray and my impression of Cory was he really was trying to solve the case and was dedicated to what he was doing.  Searching for the truth finding out what he can like someone dedicated should be.  I did not get that same impression from Detective Gray.  I feel bad now knowing what happen.  As I got more involved with the case,  I did realize that Helen did lie about things while trying to encourage people to look at her suspect.  She did play her games with people.  Seems like her life was wrapped around this case and she felt like she owned it.   That may be hard to understand but that was the way she was.

Although I don’t support Helen and all of her doings, I will say that her claims she made about John’s discussions with her at Big Boy did take place.  That is the truth and nothing changes that.  It did happen.  I will still stand behind that and I always will.

Because of Helen’s character it’s not been easy to approach all the people I did but I felt they must know the truth.  Except for Cory, all the rest of the cops made it a joke.   I tried to explain to Mr. King and even had a brief discussion with Marney over the matter.  With her it was just that Helen is a nut and nothing was discussed beyond that. 

If I had to do anything over I don’t think I would change anything although it’s been frustrating as hell but deep down inside I feel I’ve tried to do everything possible to let people know the truth.  Otherwise my conscience would really bother me.  If anyone witness something similar out there from back in time and can help this case along,  please come forward.

With these very recent developments with the Wilson hypnosis sketches further tells a story.  Just due to the very fact that these composite sketches never saw the light of day until now either makes all the more evident of a ‘cover up’ or ‘lack of investigation’.  Or maybe both!   This is especially true when seeing the haunting similarity to the first OCCK sketch that came out.   Who in their right mind in law enforcement would keep this from the public?  What is also shocking is how much it matches Helen’s suspect even more than the OCCK sketches did!    I think Helen would be rolling over in her grave about now to see that.

To you Cathy although we don’t agree over some matters with this case, it never stopped the correspondence we’ve had over the years.    Make no secret to anyone that I’ve tried to help when I can over some things.    Wish the best for some type of resolution on this case regardless of where it points to or who it points to.


Alpena Witness


Never, not once, was this man rude to me, although as he points out we had our disagreements. He has always been helpful. He met face-to-face with the cops, he didn’t just post in anonymous forums. The MSP dissed him, as they do anyone who comes forward in this case. Sadly, his treatment by the MSP over a decade ago was very prescient.

A few words about Berkley Witness. He is not lying. Kids don’t lie unless they have a real good motive. Police dogged him for decades after he, as a kid, called the tip line and later had a most unpleasant sit down with some cops who visited his school. He is not crazy, he is not “nuts.” I believe two very dirty cops, who dogged this man and ultimately inflicted unwarranted, serious bodily injury to him, were trying to kill him to silence him and for payback. One of these cops is still alive. He and anyone he might have carrying out his dirty work should be watched carefully, if you ask me. When a dirty cop tells you someone is crazy–consider the source. These abusers of power and civil rights gaslight and lie 24/7. That’s how they manage to keep their “reputation” and still do whatever the fuck they want. Consider the recent revelations about “Officer Friendly” if you want to argue with me on this.

Berkley Witness is not lying. Not about what he saw, not about what the cops did to him and his friends. It should have resulted in a massive lawsuit and numerous criminal charges. I could weep just thinking about what those cops did and got away with. So frustrating. But it is easier for “society” to say he is lying or “nuts” and that these cops were “good men.” The easy way out. Always. Especially in suburbia.

So many innocent people have been damaged and abused in the wake of this investigation. The crimes were heinous enough without compounding them by abusing people who tried to do the right thing.

28 responses to “Civil Discourse”

  1. It is reported that John Hastings was cleared through DNA and a lie director test Via an up-dated investigation by Det. Cory Williams. Is that the case?

    • Pretty much. But my thing is to the people who criticize the polygraph results. I mean you can’t be anti polygraph and then look at the Busch file and be pro polygraph. It just makes things too confusing. Yes Helen Dagner lied to Cory Williams and exposed her conversation with Cory Williams online that almost got him kicked off the task force. The other problem is the John Hastings similarities in sketches. The problem with that is there are other eye witness sketches that were almost identical to Greg Green from the same exact location. No matter what though thr detectives on this case shouldn’t turn down anyone who is concerned about information they have. Honestly I think Busch had ties to the killer and may have been involved in the abduction or drop off of the victims. To this day I firmly believe Lamborgine and Sloan definately had a huge role in all of this. Given the the fact their both around 80 years old with life sentences and both offered amazing deals to speak up and refused is all telling. Sloan could have got out on a tether. Lamborgine could have been in a different prison where no one would know him and in a state with warm weather

        • People v. Reagan is an interesting case. Read the dissent, too.

          The polygraph in question took place in 1971. It took a few years for the case to wind its way through the court of appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court.

          Private polygrapher Larry Wasser told Cory Williams that, despite having no memory of the name of the client (who turned out to be Chris Busch), he remembered the client told him he had passed a polygraph with Ralph Cabot at the MSP. Named him by name. That’s when Wasser really knew he had a problem on his hands.

          I guess the question is can a person be both incompetent and dirty at the same time? And why, given the shit show that resulted in a child torturer’s conviction being overturned in the Reagan case and the extensive discussion of the use of polygraphs and of Ralph Cabot, did the MSP settle for a “pass” for Busch and Greene in a Cabot-administered polygraph? Cabot passed Reagan as well, although the case suggests that the defendant’s schizophrenia affected the results. (Ya think?!). Yet law enforcement used these “passes” as a reason to overlook all evidence then and now. Consider Professor Michel Arntfield’s discussion of both Cabot and Sillery in J. Reuben Appelman’s podcast, You Know They Know: .

        • I think you misunderstood what I was saying Cabot was not the one who gave John Hastings his polygraph. What I was saying is look we all know Bush failed his polygraph that is obvious. Does the Hastings story make an interesting story absolutely. Did John admit that he told those things to Helen yes he did. But even with all of that he passed a polygraph and we have zero evidence to tie him to the crimes. Is it ironic that he lived right down the street from Christopher Busch absolutely. My personal opinion was that the Bush family took out Christopher Bush not the police and not the Killer. I feel it was an honor killing. They killed him to protect their family reputation. I think this would also explain why Jane Burgess got close to bush with to relay information to his parents. It would explain why the Busch family would acknowledge her at his funeral and would explain why they were flying her around to handle his case. Never have i heard of a local attorney needing flights to handle a local case! But the fact that Charles bush called the police the way he did the maid couldn’t get in the house and the way his father shredded all the family documents late in life. My point in all of this is we have so many structured suspects that are bound by evidence and polygraph results. John Hastings to me is a distraction. Then when you see Helen dagner’s fan club coming out in dismissing the past polygraph he passed makes us look dumb when we point to Christopher Bush’s failed polygraph or Arch sloans failed polygraph for Ted lamborgine failed polygraph or Vincent gunnels failed polygraph

    • I thought he failed his last poly or it was inconclusive. I also thought the examiner thought he should be followed up on but I could be remembering he FOIA documents incorrectly.

      I was just thinking- Hastings was a suspect back when the original tip line opened up- way before Helen. Why would the cops protect him? The Busch family had money, but why not pursue Hastings? Or did they truly think he was innocent back then I wonder.

  2. Cathy

    I’ve followed your blog pretty extensively but I’m not recalling previous info about “Berkley witness”. Will you please post a link to your previous discussions about this witness. Thanks

  3. Cathy:

    I’ve followed your blog pretty extensively but I’m not recalling posts about “Berkley Witness”. Will you please post a link to where you have discussed this witness previously? Thanks

    • You need to hit up J. Reuben Appelman’s book, The Kill Jar and Marney Keenan’s book, The Snow Killings, and/or the documentary Children of the Snow on Hulu. I have never fully discussed on my blog because he justifiably still is concerned about repercussions from LE.

  4. I stand by the integrity of Alpena Witness. We, too, have had our disagreements concerning certain aspects of these cases but Alpena Witness has never wavered from the account witnessed between Hastings and Helen Dagner. Never. It was years after the experience before the realization of what was overheard was realized yet AW took the time to contact LE in several jurisdictions and was shut down by all but Cory. AW did the right thing – no matter what you think of Helen (and I am one of her casualties), AW is the real deal.

    • Word Press has many folders for comments–pending, trash, spam, etc. As has been the case every time I change comment settings, people’s comments sometimes get sent to the hinterlands. As I reconfigured, I realized that many comments with the words “Helen Dagner” were sent to the trash folder because I had blocked her email years ago and her name as someone who was blocked from commenting. I have blocked six people over the years, all people who have crossed the line, PRINT IN ALL CAPS WITH VARIOUS THREATENING STATEMENTS.

      If your comment doesn’t post, email me at and I will try to help you out. Please don’t resend the same post 50 times, asking in all caps WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? I removed the “Helen” filter, so many of the previously rejected comments should go through. I also “approved” some way-old comments that had been buried in with the Viagra ads in my trash and spam folders. Thanks for your understanding.

    • Judi, your comment went to the “trash folder” which was unusual b/c you have been commenting for years. This helped me solve a posting mystery–see below.

    • I agree with Judi regarding Alpena Witness. He often got mad with Helen over some of her inconsistencies but still believes her basic story about John Hastings being at least an integral participant in the killings. Why? Because he witnessed John’s behavior first hand at the Big Boy and knew John was not acting about being involved. He was loud, serious and demonstrative in his words and actions that day.

      John,if you are reading this board (and I know you are) ,I’d advise that you get a lawyer,and make a a good deal with the prosecution. You may have some leverage by identifying accomplices and other pedophiles which may help solve other cases. Please strongly consider it. The truth will set you free in a lot of ways,John and God will be pleased with you.

      • For an interesting book about a group killing–the 1975 abduction, rape/torture and murder of two sisters ages 10 and 12–and the last guy holding the bag after the other participants died or became senile, read The Last Stone, by Mark Bowden (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2019). It was very inexpensive on Amazon and a portion of the book sales go to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. This guy was 18 when the crimes occurred, the youngest of the participants. He pleaded guilty to two counts of felony murder on September 12, 2017. He claimed he did not rape or kill the girls. At age 60, he was sentenced to 48 years.

  5. these words resonate from ‘Alpena witness’ – I said same recently – the amazing semblance between early sketches and the “hypnotised witness described” sketch gives great credibility to the belief that the sketches are accurate of a suspect – we cannot state more than that – BUT IT DISTURBS ME DEEPLY that the ‘new’ hypnotised sketch ALSO still has en even more disturbing semblance to the images I have already shared – of Rev Father John Robert Thwaytes who I now have shown beyond doubt was a severe misogynist boy rapist … and possible ‘opportunity’ to be proximate to the scene of murder (using his fake passport ID) and a long history with Frank Shelden as fellow paedophile in a network that spanned the world – proven by later photos of these men at Boys Town/Caesar School Malbazar West Bengal, India – and has murder in India alleged against him also. Father John had a long history in the area where the murders occurred.

    “This is especially true when seeing the haunting similarity to the first OCCK sketch that came out. Who in their right mind in law enforcement would keep this from the public? What is also shocking is how much it matches Helen’s suspect even more than the OCCK sketches did! >

    • Interesting about this Father Thwaytes. I, too, have personal knowledge of another ordained pederast who came from Detroit at the same time period as these murders. He was convicted of child abuse and did prison time. I have mentioned same here many times. But it seems there is no interest.

      • Please call the tip line. I have a list of over 30 names of men who could have been the OCCK. I have no police powers. I can’t do anything with this kind of information except make a note of it and see if at some point another person’s information matches. Make a record of your suspect’s name by calling the tip line. If we succeed in having another agency take over this case, tips like this can be evaluated, and if warranted, sent to the appropriate investigative agency.


        I can almost guarantee you won’t get a call back, but if we keep providing information to those charged with investigating (and being paid to do so), we will have at least done our part.

    • Maybe he wanted some “extra credit” points. Reading Gray’s notes makes me sick. He is pathetic. He “softens the process” and asks for Hastings to “keep in touch.” Sure. Will do.

  6. Hey Cathy,

    This was in today’s Oakland Press, page A 3.
    So, this guy does a hit and run on a girl on a bicycle in 2014. This was north of Rochester, Michigan. For those not from Detroit , this is both a rural area and an affluent area. The cops only had tiny pieces of a broken fog light from the truck and a few tips. They did eventually run a VIN number. Shockingly, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department recently caught the guy , and he is now in the clink. The girl did live.

  7. I can see that Berkley Witness needs to be careful because one of those dirty cops can still shoot him from his wheelchair. However, Alpena Witness needs to spit it out. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?? An Agatha Christie mystery is inappropriate here.

    • Alpena Witness has recounted his information many, many times. J. Reuben Appelman covers the information very well in his book The Kill Jar (2018) in a chapter entitled “The Alpena Witness” (p. 47).

      Here is a very brief summary, which I provide out of respect for Alpena Witness, so he doesn’t feel like he has to keep answering to this.

      On December 26, 1991, AW overheard a conversation between a man and a woman at the Alpena Big Boy. We now know the man to be John Hastings and the woman Helen Dagner (see “The Internet Sleuth and Her Suspect, p. 40 of The Kill Jar). The conversation he overheard was dark and bizarre. Having not grown up in Oakland County and it being some 14 years after the OCCK murders, none of the conversation made sense to him.

      John, who had been turned in as a potential suspect early in the investigation, was describing in great detail aspects of the OCCK crimes. He was drawing maps of locations related to these crimes. Years later, when Alpena Witness was reading online about another serial murder, he was redirected to Helen Dagner’s website about these crimes and with horror, understood what he heard that day in December 1991.

      In response to Alpena Witness’s information–whose credibility cannot be challenged here–people fall generally into four camps.

      1. John is in fact the OCCK.
      2. John is a liar with a sick streak.
      3. John participated in these crimes or had intimate knowledge of the crimes and took “credit” for all of the spree.
      4. John participated in the trafficking of children in and around Oakland County for purposes of the creation of child pornography by a bigger operation and therefore either crossed paths with one or more of the OCCK victims in that capacity, or heard enough reliable information through this participation to glom on to the “story” for himself.

      As others have noted of late, this man could have saved himself a hell of a lot of trouble and saved the taxpayers a lot of money, had he not gotten off on telling Helen Dagner his stories (or the truth).

      If you have read the FOIA documents I have posted, you see that in 1992, Birmingham PD investigated Helen’s claims. I believe that at some point, this investigator got “called off” or told to forget about it. The reasons could be numerous, but in the background are two factors you cannot discount: 1. John lived a stone’s throw from Busch in Bloomfield Village, a one-square mile community. 2. Birmingham PD had blood on its hands after giving the benefit of the doubt many times to Chris Busch, a 250-lb monster who walked around Birmingham with his dick in his hand flashing kids because his dad was a “bigwig” and “they couldn’t do anything about it.” In so doing, they chose that monster over my 63-lb brother, who didn’t stand a chance in a community where police looked the other way with adult children of GM execs.

      Long way of saying–read Jason’s book.

      • And if you read Jason’s book, rereading it now offers new insight. From the chapter on The Internet Sleuth, p. 43, Appelman explains that Helen reported that “John had told her that a different car was used for each abduction; although one of the automobiles had indeed been a Gremlin, it wasn’t blue.

        TWO people have mentioned a green Gremlin with a white hockey stripe in the past few months. I turned in the names to police of those connected to Bloomfield Hills green Gremlin. The other report is from a woman who was nearly abducted by a man in a green Gremlin. She called the tip line a long time ago.

        • It’s worth mentioning that Hastings was on the public online radar years before the Busch information saw the light of day. That they were the same age, same line of work and lived in the same hood was all the more suspect.

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