Listen to Episode 3 of The Clown and the Candyman, an Investigation Discovery true crime podcast. It evoked so much in me; I want to go outside and scream at the top of my lungs.
In fact, listen to it twice because there are parts that your brain is going to resist absorbing, especially if you are a parent. But it needs to sink in. Share the link on your social media sites, especially if you live or grew up in Michigan. Share it with people who still live in Michigan. SHARE. THIS.
Just last week Mike and I were discussing how even though law enforcement is basically doing nothing in these cases now that Det. Cory Williams has retired (after being gaslighted and subjected to whistleblower treatment by fellow law enforcement, including the FBI), there is a small victory in having these stories told. Mike pointed out it started with reporter Marilyn Wright at the Traverse City Record-Eagle back in the mid-1970s. She was brave enough to scream into the wind about Frank Shelden and his band of criminal conspirators and child assaulters. (See https://catherinebroad.blog/2013/03/12/north-fox-island-circa-1975-76/; https://catherinebroad.blog/2014/01/13/; https://catherinebroad.blog/2019/12/09/what-do-i-think/.). Her reporting was so solid, and an incredible contrast to the Detroit area newspapers too afraid to touch it.
I have great respect for Mike and consider him a friend. Near the end of the podcast, Mike mentions the letter he wrote to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in February, 2019. Mike sent me a copy and gave me permission to post the letter on my blog. Please read the letter, link about mid-way in the post:
As he describes in the podcast, he never got a response. Not from the Governor’s office, not from Attorney General Dana Nessel. A little over a year ago, a reader wrote me to tell me of correspondence with the same offices. This woman got a call back (maybe because she mentions growing up in Birmingham?) and was told to contact the Oakland County Sheriff’s Dept. and the MSP Metro North Posts–which, if the staffer would have taken even a cursory look at this case online, would have realized that’s like asking the chicken to report to the fox’s den to ask for help.
While you are at it, take a listen (or another listen) to criminologist Dr. Michael Arntfield discuss the OCCK case with author J. Reuben Appelman:
This is another podcast segment that has so much in it that it takes more than one listen to fully absorb the gravity of what is being said.
How come every time you hear the sentence “This case is too big to solve/dig around/touch,” it’s always uttered by some old, white man? Thank you to others who have dug much deeper and sounded the alarm; who have gone where law enforcement in Michigan would not go in these cases of extreme child sexual abuse. Who looked past the law enforcement bullshit that has been slung in these cases for over four decades. After Marilyn Wright there were reporters Marney Rich Keenan (Detroit News, 2009) and David Ashenfelter (Detroit Free Press, 2012). Then author M.F. Cribari (Portraits in the Snow: The Oakland County Child Killings . . . Scandals and Small Conspiracies (2011). Then author J. Reuben Appelman (The Kill Jar: Obsession, Descent, and a Hunt for Detroit’s Most Notorious Serial Killer, 2018). Then the documentarians at Cineflix who produced Children of the Snow, a four-part documentary based on The Kill Jar, which still airs on Hulu. Then an article in Business Insider by Aine Cain that examined the striking similarities between Jeffrey Epstein and Frank Shelden (summer 2019). Then Marney Rich Keenan’s book The Snow Killings: Inside the Oakland County Child Killer Investigation (2020). And now the podcast The Clown and the Candyman (eight parts, started airing last week), the work of Jacqueline Bynon, Tara Hughes and their team at Cineflix.
Too big to touch? Fuck you. Tell that to victims like Mike, whose story should resonate in your brain for a few days at a minimum. WHEN is a survivor’s story in the cases of Michigan pedophelia and child pornography going to be enough to force meaningful change?
The antidote to shame is truth. How about some truth for a change, Michigan?
Thank you, Mike, for your courage and clarity. It is remarkable.