“I give you Polaroid pictures proving he killed (unintelligible).”

Thanks to a reader for tipping me off about the press coverage of WXYZ’s radio’s airing of a 90-second tape segment on May 16, 1979. WXYZ proposed broadcasting the tape of a call made to Dr. Bruce Danto on April 10, 1977 from a man claiming to know who the OCCK was. Former task force commander Robert Robertson provided the station with the tape. It was played for the public on Dr. Sonya Friedman’s radio show more than two years after the last abduction and murder in the OCCK crime spree. Friedman warned listeners to call only with documented leads and said “Don’t call in with your fantasies.” No leads came from airing this tape. Wonder if it would have helped in 1977–or would that have generated “too many useless leads?”

Friedman was quoted as saying she and Robertson were hoping “to bring the case to a state of rest. Even if the person is dead, we should know or there will never be a psychological closure to this thing.”

Yesterday, WJR radio legend Dick Haefner announced his retirement after 51 years in radio news. https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/local/2020/12/07/detroit-radio-legend-and-wjr-news-director-dick-haefner-announces-his-retirement-after-51-year-career/. That is a remarkable run.

The article describes how Haefner “broke one of the most tragic and long-running mysteries in local history. He first reported the existence of “The Oakland County Child Killer” the day after Christmas 1976, following the murder of a Royal Oak girl.” Said Haefner: “I could never have imagined we would be doing stories about this 44 years later. The stories haven’t changed that much, except for the duration of time.”


22 Comments on ““I give you Polaroid pictures proving he killed (unintelligible).””

  1. bitamoney says:

    So of course the question is, where’s that tape?

    • Susan Albright- Slussear says:

      Agree, bitamoney. Dr. Friedman is now 84.She should be contacted and if the tapes of her shows are still available, they may be valuable.

  2. Alex says:

    Great post. Guess we will soon know for sure if this is in fact what I believe it to be.

    #forthevictims
    #forthefamilies

  3. Paul Jolliffe says:

    How did Dick Haefner know on December 26, 1976, that Jill Robinson’s murder in Troy (not raped but dead of a shotgun blast to the face) was linked to the murder of Mark Stebbins in Ferndale (sexually assualted and strangled) more than ten months earlier?

    Answer: Obviously, somebody in law enforcement told him the two murders were linked. But how (on the very day that Jill’s body was discovered along I-75) did anyone know that before her body had even been autopsied?

    According to Ellen Grzech’s story in the Detroit Free Press, the police “were checking dental records and fingerprints but said they would not have a positive identification until Monday.” (December 27, 1976)

    https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11223264/jill-robinson#view-photo=197176063

    Even if Haefner broke the story on the 27th instead of the 26th, what made someone in law enforcement so sure that the two murders were linked, and that they were the work of one person (the OCCK)?

    I believe (and have argued for years) that somebody on some level in law enforcement had an informant who was very close to the kidnapper/killers.

    Haefner should tell the public which law enforcement official (and from which agency) tipped him about the existence of the “OCCK”.

    How about it, Dick Haefner?
    You’ve won all these awards for your legendary reporting.

    Do you actually have the courage and integrity to do something genuinely helpful in this case?

    Who tipped you off?

    • B says:

      He said on the WDIV webcast that he “randomly” called Troy PD that morning and asked if there was any news to report. Yeah, right. I agree with your position.
      While I can no longer locate it, there was a really good article on the web about how the killer(s) must have been getting tipped off because they had info and they knew what steps LE was taking in the investigation.

  4. Kat says:

    Dr. Sonya Friedman never got to air the tape on her show. https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/98978852/

    • Kat says:

      To clarify. It was aired on radio. But shut down for tv.

      • cathybroad says:

        Wow. More mouth-breathers from Michigan. Bob Woodruff, head of the program department for ABC Channel 7 pulled the airing of the taped call from Dr. Friedman’s show “Studio D” after it had aired on her radio show. Imagine how much more play this would have gotten if it had aired on t.v., not been ditched because of some mouth-breather. Woodruff said: “There wasn’t much news there. We would have been beating a dead horse.” Fast forward to 2020, Woodruff, when that horse is still running wild in Michigan. Nice work, programmer.

        • Paul Jolliffe says:

          I doubt that was the reason it was pulled from the airing on TV.

          I would bet serious money that it was pulled because it was legitimate – there was a real possibility in 1979 that someone in the general public might recognize the voice on the tape.

          That tells us that Danto’s caller probably did know someone in the ring, and thanks to his insistence on immunity (“a letter from the governor”), had certainly been himself a participant in something very bad, although probably not the actual murders of little kids.

          The real question is: Who told Woodruff to pull that tape from airing on television?

          • cathybroad says:

            This guy is not a mouth breather. The beating a dead horse explanation is that much more distressing.

          • Judi Coltman says:

            Not the same Woodruff, Kat. This Bob Woodruff was a senior in High School at the time of the Friedman show airing.

            • cathybroad says:

              Thank god. That just didn’t fit.

            • Kat says:

              Sorry Judi there was supposed to be another link. I can’t find it at the moment. Robert Norman Woodruff jr. father of this man is more than likely the Program Director.

              • Judi Coltman says:

                Please post when you find it. The best I could find was that he ( the father) was in Real Estate but the name connection still makes it seem likely he was the program director.

  5. Kat says:

    I wonder if anyone ever spoke to Dr. Friedman about the case after 1979? She’s had a private practice in Birmingham for the last twenty years. Not exactly hard to find.

  6. B says:

    I don’t mean to be negative BUT I think that tape is total BS. Danto appears to have done more harm than good on the case.

  7. Hei Hu Quan says:

    Okay, question Michigan law enforcement and particularly MSP. Why did you never go to the clearly named Gas Station Bar and question anyone and especially the bartenders there if they know a man with a heavy foreign accent? You can play his voice on the tape for anyone who may seem to know something. Or, does anyone know a man who might go by the name “Allen” (a shot in the dark but still worth asking)? Once you identify him and obtain his real name ask around that same community if they know him and where he might live or hang out, and more importantly WHO he pals around with. The man who dubbed himself Allen, claimed he was the lover of the actual murderer, so hey why don’t you check the gay bars of the local community for a man with a heavy foreign accent. Better yet, you have the tape so just play “Allen’s” voice to the bartenders or bouncers there to see if they can identify him. You might also plant a CI (Confidential Informant) at the Gas Station Bar to see if they can dig up anything working that side. This is basic, rudimentary Investigation 101 stuff, not rocket science and I came up with this in less than 5 minutes.

    Second, identify the nationality of Allen’s accent, then go to the area of Michigan to the community of people from that nationality. Then go to the local police station to work with vice to identify the seedy section of that area and start questioning and putting undercover officer(s) in there to locate this guy. More disturbing is the statement in the papers that “State Police said the received SEVERAL calls from persons claiming to recognise the voice after it was broadcast shortly after 2 p.m. on WXYZ Radio”. How in the hell was it you failed to identify this man with so many opportunities? Inspector Clouseau and Mr. Magoo would have done a better job of it and found this guy.

    Additional question… Where is the typewritten letter that Danto originally received from Allen? It seems like there’s may be more to that letter than was actually reported. Was it checked for fingerprints? Or perhaps confiscated by the cops and tossed into the disappeared Busch suitcase chockfull of damning evidence?

    • Judi Coltman says:

      and could the stamp on the envelope contain viable DNA?

      • Alex says:

        Exactly ma’am
        With the possible connection of the DNA extracted from the vehicle that is on record connecting the boys would be undeniably.
        I have reasons to believe this author is either Lawrence Klein or Marvin Margolis.

        If I can validate the audio recording as being Klein it will support a court order to extract his DNA directly since his records show no immediate family (children, siblings)

        There are people fighting me on this tooth and nail. What is there to lose at this point?

        Why not take the chance in hopes of helping the families that have suffered this tragedy? Anyone who stands against this possibility has clearly has no real interest in their well being. Let’s clear the slate and focus on legitimate facts we can validate.
        Period

  8. Alex says:

    I have a question. Where did the “lover” narrative originate from regarding “Allen & Frank”?
    Nowhere in the letter to Dr Bruce Danto does it state the (2) perpetrators were “lovers”?
    It states they reside together along with Allen being Frank’s slave and whipped by him but no direct statement that they are involved sexually and/or romantically.

    Is the “gay bar” mentioned in the audio transcript the reasoning behind this assumption?

    Being considered a slave or whipped does not necessarily imply any kind of a certain relationship outside of abusive.


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