Police in Battle Creek, Michigan solved the murder of a Michigan woman more than 30 years later, after a newly discovered blood sample connected a man to the fatal stabbing. The killer is long dead.
The family of Gayle Barrus expressed relief and her son said: “It won’t change the past, but it takes a weight off our shoulders to get this answered.”
Nice work, Battle Creek PD Det. Scott Marshall and Calhoun County Sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Bacik.
Thanks to a reader for sending.
From the website of Signal, a free-to-the-user, end-to-end encryption app. https://signal.org/en/. Great news for private citizens and companies. Complete thwarting of FOIA laws when used by the Michigan State Police. https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2021/01/22/state-police-phone-apps-keep-text-messages-secret/4236305001. I posted about this last week. https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2021/01/22/state-police-phone-apps-keep-text-messages-secret/4236305001.
This certainly did not surprise me. After Marney Keenan’s book came out last July, Detective Sean Street stopped responding to my emails. I kept my emails infrequent and only passed on information I felt could be important. After promising he would get back with me after a vacation and a heavy court schedule, the guy went dark. I emailed him and pressed him for a response. He called me and left a message saying he “didn’t understand” my email. Trust me, it was quite clear. I knew he was calling so that there would be no paper trail. So I sent him this email.
I don’t have a problem with phone calls from law enforcement, especially since I installed the TapeACall app. As I said in my email, I would have returned his call but for the fact that the message was pathetic and I knew what he was doing.
So the MSP gets busted using Signal. I know others in Oakland County LE attempted to destroy relevant records and also played the “shell game” with other agencies so they could respond “Hey, no records here!” Who pulls this shit? Someone with something to hide. And someone who doesn’t care that transparency is the gold standard for public agencies and is used to playing dirty. “Open investigation”? You mean like the “open investigation” the MSP handed over to author Mardi Link?
And from 2013, failure to address the obvious intensifies the suspicion. https://catherinebroad.blog/2013/04/15/failure-to-address-the-obvious-intensifies-suspicion-when-in-doubt-accuse-the-victims-of-disrupting-the-investigation-and-of-rank-disrespect/.
Why would high ups at the MSP, who know better, install an encryption app on their phones? Failure to address the obvious intensifies the suspicion. And here’s another big problem. The Oakland County Prosecutor webpage continues to carry the admonition Jessica Cooper loved to trot out: The prosecutor is not an investigative agency, so please contact the Michigan State Police or the Oakland County Sheriff.
The OC prosecutor’s office has always had investigators. In fact, it was an investigator for the Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Inspector Cory Williams, who moved the foot ball from the 10 yard line to the 90 yard line in the OCCK case before retiring. Call the MSP or Sheriff Mike Bouchard’s office? You have got to be fucking kidding me.
Here’s a little civics lesson about the Freedom of Information of Act (FOIA).
Listen to who all uses FOIA:
I’ve posted this powerpoint on Michigan FOIA law before. It’s a good one and it should open on your computer (phone questionable), unlike so many of the broken links associated with Michigan.gov.
If you have questions about a person you suspect could have been involved with the OCCK or related crimes, you can file a FOIA request with law enforcement agencies to see if tips were called in on the person and if there are any file materials describing how or if the tip was handled. You can try to find out if other complaints were filed on your local pedophile. I want you to see what a simple procedure it is.
Here is a FOIA request via letter submitted by my Dad to the MSP on July 20, 2012, requesting a document the MSP had clearly omitted from their initial response and asking for unredacted photos from the Busch “suicide” scene. (God, the MSP–so shameless.).
Here is an email a reporter sent to Oakland County Jessica Cooper for a copy of the Christopher Busch CSC file and the response. Pretty straightfoward.
Most agencies have a form you can use online if you don’t want to write a letter or email. Take Birmingham PD, for example. Here’s the page and the form is a link on that page. https://www.bhamgov.org/government/departments/clerk/freedom_of_information_request.php.
For the Michigan State Police, see https://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123-1878_63999—,00.html.
Try to narrow the scope of the request (but not too narrow), use a time period and try for some specificity. Consider if records could be in multiple places (Birmingham PD, the MSP, the OCP and/or the OC Sheriff) or where an agency might offload records for “safe keeping” to avoid FOIA requirements.
After you file your request, here’s what will happen. The agency will respond within five days (it has to) and 99% of the time it will ask for an extension of 10 days, or a series of extensions. Then they get back to you, tell you what they found and what the estimated cost is. If it’s $400, you don’t have to get the copies or you can pick and choose. Or (after COVID dies down enough) you can go in and review the documents. Some agencies are decent to deal with. (Not the FBI, as noted in the podcast.)
Although this has not been my experience thus far, the spirit and the letter of FOIA means the agency should begin with the presumption that any records requested are subject to disclosure. Exemptions are to be narrowly construed. You have the right to challenge a denial or heavy-handed redacting. Tomorrow I will address the unethical and I would argue illegal steps being taken by some law enforcement agencies in Michigan to thwart FOIA laws.
Bloomfield Township PD was above board and reasonable when responding to Marney Keenan’s FOIA request about Corporal Richard McNamee and his records, which dated back to the early 1970s. I’m guessing Berkley PD, Birmingham PD, and the MSP, not so much. And the Oakland County Sheriff’s office–yeah, you get an F, too, for playing games. But people, you can still try. These agencies are subject to Michigan FOIA laws whether they like it or not, they serve the public and need to answer for how they do or did business.
If you have a suspect you want information on, file a FOIA request like the reader who filed a FOIA request on Greg Greene in California and got unredacted records dating back to the early 70s. It’s not that hard. Bantering on FB isn’t going to get you any answers. I can’t answer your questions about your dad, your uncle, your neighbor, your employer, nor should you expect me to. Lots of men look good for this on paper. Especially John McKinney, right Birmingham? Multiple men were involved in this, there just is no other logical conclusion. File with the local PD and file with the MSP, OCP and OCS. And don’t fall for the “open investigation” bullshit. If you get denied, post about it here and we can all brainstorm about your next step.
Check out this awesome email I got today:
I just finished the last episode of the podcast [Episode 8 of The Clown and the Candyman] when you posted your blog post. This podcast is absolutely ground-breaking and it reminded me that I wanted to share with you documents I received from a FOIA request I submitted on Gregory Greene’s arrest in Orange County. (attached). You may already have this but I wanted to send in case you didn’t. A couple things from the case:
- Greene was arrested with an older man–Edgar Herbert Mohan Jr. (age 45, married) in 1976 in Fountain Valley, CA on molestation charges. Edgar sponsored Greene’s softball team and managed a local furniture business.
- After listening to the podcast it really drove home that there was a larger network. How could a 25 year old Greene who was new to CA make contact with a much older man, Mohan, who just happened to share his interests?
- The documents are not redacted and it names all of the minors involved. I researched them and the tragedy is that all have had very difficult lives. Particularly one child, Gregg Maroney, who is now an offender himself. Greene was an atom bomb.
. . .
Lastly I wanted to say how sorry I am that your father has passed. He is truly an inspiration to me as are you. And like Det Moran said in the podcast–killers need to know that they will be pursued until the day they die. I am in this for the long haul!
I’m not going to post the 22 pages of FOIA documents because there are many, many unredacted names of victims within them. What readers don’t realize is that a lot of the documents I have received contain no redactions whatsoever. I try my best not to expose a victim or a good citizen who did the right thing by coming forward. (FYI, I don’t waste my whiteout on a victim who becomes a sex offender.) I invariably miss one or leave a first letter showing and then at least three people comment to point it out and make it worse. So fuck it, I’m not posting these.
The important points from the documents obtained by this reader are listed above and are highlighted in the news articles attached to the email, which I will post below. I would point out that the case file did remind me that the State of California revoked Greene’s probation in abstentia in August 1977, remanding him to prison but noting he was now incarcerated in a Michigan prison. So while Michigan is letting sex offenders like Chris Busch stay on the street even after telling police repeatedly after arrested that he sexually abuses children, California is making sure that if a POS criminal like Greene ends up back in California it will be go to prison, go directly to prison.
Here are the articles sent by the reader. The online community is a force. Thank you.
I will post tomorrow about how easy it is to file a FOIA request. There’s nothing special to it. By law, the agency has to respond. And odds are, you won’t get the triple surcharge imposed on requests made by relatives of Tim King.
The final episode of the podcast The Clown and the Candyman dropped on Tuesday. Episode 8, The Dust Never Settles is a powerful episode. If you have not listened to the previous episodes, you can start here and work your way back.
The series is groundbreaking in its exposure and comparison of the wide web of pedophile networks operating in the 1970s and the serial killers who operated around and within that world. Written and hosted by Jacqueline Bynon and produced by Tara Hughes (of the team that brought Children of the Snow, a documentary on the OCCK cases to the ID channel and then Hulu), the series brought new information to light, showed the true scope of pedophile rings operating in the 1970s and provided a message to the public concerning unsolved crimes from that era.
In Episode 8, listen to Cook County, IL, Sheriff’s Det./Lt. Jason Moran, head of the cold case unit, discuss the work he has done to try to identify the last unidentified victims of Gacy. I was impressed by this remarkable detective, and at the same time devastated by the contrast between the way he approached his cases and the way the Michigan State Police and Oakland County law enforcement continue to approach the OCCK case. The contrast will take your breath away.
And listen to Dr. Sharon Derrick describe her efforts while at the crime lab in Houston to try to identify the body of a boy buried over 40 years ago in serial killer Dean Corrl’s rented boathouse. You can hear the commitment in both Derrick and Moran’s voices to getting answers on behalf of the murdered boys. They don’t pick fights with or disparage the families; they work to find answers with complete dedication, hard work and compassion. Moran even tells listeners how to report information on the cases he is working on. I bet his tip line doesn’t go dead. Listen to how both embrace new DNA technology and methodologies.
These are all cases as old or older than the OCCK cases. And DNA testing advancements are exploding. https://www.wired.com/story/cops-are-getting-a-new-tool-for-family-tree-sleuthing/
Lt. Moran talked about the importance of cold case investigations and asked “When do the police and society stop caring about someone that was murdered or someone that went missing? Is it five years? Is it fifteen years? Killers need to know that you are going to be pursued until the day you die. That just because you got away with murder a year ago, or two years ago, or ten years ago doesn’t mean you can let your guard down. There is going to be a cold case detective somewhere that’s going to be looking for you.“
Jacqueline Bynon observes that the episode was named “The Dust Never Settles,” because even after many decades, the grief never goes away for the murdered and the missing and the trauma never goes away for the kids abused by pedophiles “and many of the predators never paid for their crimes.” She points out “Evil thrives on our inattention.” Organized pedophiles thrived in Oakland County because it was “safe” for them to do so. A suit, a little prestige, or a house on one of those nice little lakes was as good as having “informant” status like pedophile Richard Lawson did with Detroit PD.
When were Mark, Jill, Kristine and Tim forgotten by Oakland County law enforcement and the Michigan State Police? In less than two years, in December 1978 when the task force shut down the investigation and took steps to make sure any inquiry down the road would lead nowhere. Evil thrives on our inattention–imagine, in the wake of that shuttered task force with no arrests whatsoever under its belt, how many children continued to be victimized by pedophiles in Oakland County when the OCCK case got shut down. As Bynon observes, money and power have always made things “go away.” The MSP and Oakland County ensured that not only would there be no answers in the murders of four children, but that none of the pedophiles and child porn operators and consumers in Oakland County would ever answer for their crimes. Reputations intact, they could and undoubtedly did, continue to victimize children for the rest of their lives.
A reader made some interesting observations:
One aspect of the suicide scene that needs an additional look at is his blood/alcohol level which was measured at .41%. The AMA states that a .40% level is lethal in 50% of the adult population.
This brings up a few thoughts.
1) Busch was obviously blind drunk, probably pass out drunk when he died. Would he have the physical capability to go upstairs, wrap himself around in his sheets, load and properly aim a rifle right between his eyes?
2) In this physical condition he would be able to offer very little to no resistance. He’d be a very easy mark to be killed!
3) If he was dead before he was shot, how exactly was he killed? Even though the forensic analysis at the scene came up way short of of a true investigation, there didn’t appear to be any obvious things such as stab wounds, strangulation marks, etc.)
Could he have been killed the same way the kids were by someone from the OCCK gang to keep him from spilling the beans. Someone who participated the murders.
The real purpose of the gunshot to the head was to mask how he really died. It was very effective given the quality of police work.
Very similar to the Jill Robinson disposal scene
Just for “fun,” compare a few pages from the long out-of-print 1980 book The Oakland County Child Killer, written by Michael L. Parrott. It would appear from this chapter and indeed most of the book, that Mr. Parrott was a true master of retrocognition. Check it out:
You can still sign up for the CARE House Circle of Friends annual event this Thursday, which is being held virtually this year. It is free to attend and a link will be sent to you so you can sign on.
CARE House a leading resource in the prevention of child abuse and neglect, and the protection of children through advocacy, education, intervention, research, training and treatment, in collaboration with the community.
This year, CARE House Circle of Friends is honoring the memory of Barry King for his tireless efforts acting as a champion for the safety of children. As we celebrate him, we remember his family’s painful story that gripped our community more than 40 years ago. by recalling the victims of the Oakland County Child Killings, we turn our attention to the children that CARE House stands ready to serve in 2021 and beyond.
In addition to honoring my Dad, there is a panel discussion about the impact of the abduction and murder of our brother Tim, and a discussion of the decades-long search for answers and some kind of justice in the OCCK cases. As a rule, my Dad was seriously one of the least sentimental people ever. However, he would have been very touched by this event. I know he would have appreciated us having this discussion with Kevin Dietz and Marney Keenan rather than crying at some funeral home or some super-spreader event.
So sign on if you can. You can attend for free, but consider a donation to CARE House at some point down the road. They do amazing and very necessary work. This is how we can start to help right the wrongs left in the wake of childhood sexual abuse and worse. I will be joining from a few time zones away.
Yesterday I posted a link to a very good podcast interview of author Marney Keenan. The discussion was robust and the interviewer seemed well-prepared. Response? It’s all speculation. You can only discuss this case in terms of a positive DNA hit. More inaccuracies about the condition of the bodies. The ropes at the Busch death scene cannot be relied upon to solve this case.
AGAIN, I suggest listening to J. Reuben Appelman interview Dr. Michael Arntfield, a Canadian criminologist who carefully considered this case. You know more than Arntfield about his area of expertise? You have looked at the case more carefully than Arntfield? I doubt it. In this podcast they take a deep dive into the Busch “suicide” scene and discuss the deep and enduring failures in this investigation. https://www.spreaker.com/user/jreubenappelman/episode6final
Speculation? Yeah, well a few cops and prosecutor L. Brooks Patterson made sure there would only be speculation and the case would remain uncleared forever. As Dr. Arntfield observes at the conclusion of his interview, this case will probably always remain “uncleared.” Aside from the ties to the N. Fox Island pedophile client list, which Arntfield observes will always be a mystery, he “otherwise considers this case solved” and discusses the fact that multiple people were involved with these crimes. He explains:
“I think we can set the historic record straight and say there is a resolution. We can state with reasonable certainty; in fact, on a balance of probabilities, which is the standard of proof in a civil court if a wrongful death case were to be filed . . . those five [men], as well as the sixth man [donor of the hairs allegedly found on Mark and Tim], were involved and that squares again with my research on team killers.”
Can the case be solved conclusively using genetic genealogy? Hopefully. If the MSP will put the effort into retesting evidence and seriously consulting with genetic genealogy experts, maybe. It requires an open mind and a willingness to do the extensive detective work that is required after a familial match is made (if it is even possible here due to the collection and handling of evidence in this case). This is made more difficult by the passage of so much time. You don’t get a Golden State Killer result if you aren’t willing to put in the work. And if you don’t even have a current compilation of the status of the evidence, odds are that’s an indication of lack of motivation.
Does this mean we can’t talk about what the case narrative contained in the FOIA documents reveals, as Dr. Arntfield expertly does in this interview? Does this mean we ignore the clear steps taken by the MSP and the OCP and the OCS to try to derail inquiry in this case, including the sham grand jury proceeding used by Jessica Cooper and Paul Walton in 2012 which was clearly only used to impose a gag order on law enforcement and witnesses? Does it mean there can be no examination of the State of Michigan’s “catch and release” policy when it came to a wealthy pedophile? No examination of the clear “fail” by John Hastings of his October 2009 polygraph? No further examination of the possible participation by other suspects, living and dead, summarily dismissed by the task force? Only if you want this shit to happen again. And by that I mean not only these types of crimes, but this type of investigation.
If you have read my blog, you have seen the autopsy reports on the four known victims. You can decide for yourself if they were scrubbed clean, their clothes washed and pressed, their bodies posed in funereal fashion. The only relevant fact is that in spite of the steps taken by the killers and accessories, evidence was found on all of the victims’ bodies. Furthermore, I submit that this evidence was not stored properly, and was in some cases misfiled, and the lack of proper storage and perhaps tampering has contributed to the inability to solve this case. I further submit that the MSP would be at a loss today to report to a prosecutor or the attorney general about the current status of all of the evidence in this case. And I submit that the MSP is not willing to seriously entertain the use of genetic genealogy, preferring instead to assume that it is not possible in this case and ignoring constant advancements in DNA testing. I hope I am wrong.
No one is pretending or suggesting that the ropes found on the floor of Chris Busch’s closet were used to tie up any of the four known victims of the OCCK. The ropes on the floor of his closet were part of the orgy of evidence at the Busch death scene that screamed “child killer.” This evidence included a drawing of a screaming boy dressed in a parka, hood up, a shotgun shell, and a manual for a 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit. Was the drawing of Mark Stebbins? Sure looks like him. Was the shotgun shell the same type used to shoot Jill Robinson? No way of knowing. Why would the son of a GM executive have a manual for a Volkswagen car displayed prominently on his desk? (Or drive an AMC Gremlin?)
The ropes are relevant because:
1. They contribute to the diorama of evidence set out at the “suicide” scene and the cops considered it a part of this scene because we know there are two separate photographs taken of the closet floor where these ropes are placed. NO ONE HAS SAID OR IS SAYING THE ROPES WERE USED ON THE VICTIMS OF THE OCCK. The ropes and cordage were clearly thought to be consistent with the thought that kids in captivity might be tied up at some point. Those ropes, when considered with the other evidence at the scene, had to have and I submit did suggest to responding law enforcement that representatives of the OCCK task force should be called to the scene.
2. Despite the fact that MSP laboratory scientist David Metzger states in writing on January 1, 1979, that the “numerous ropes and cordage” “will be retained in the event future comparison with other possible uses becomes necessary,” they go missing. And not only that, the original drawing of the screaming boy goes missing. And there is no indication anywhere in Metger’s reports that this drawing or the tape or other method used to hang it up was ever tested for fingerprints.
Finally, and for the last time, let’s take a look at MSP Forensic Scientist David Metzer’s participation in this case. This document proves that the original drawing of the screaming boy and the ropes/cordage taken from the Busch death scene were in the evidence locker at the MSP state lab.
This evidence then goes missing. There is no indication that this evidence was returned to Bloomfield Township PD. Again, Metzger clearly states: “The ropes will be retained.”
Next, with the help of a very observant reader, consider the CYA affidavit submitted by the now retired Metzger at the behest of Paul Walton in 2012:
This awkward affidavit, in which Metzger claims to have performed a forensic examination on the ropes and cordage thirty-four years prior–an examination not reflected in his “Results of Examination” report dated January 11, 1979–actually further implicates the state for what it knew in 1978 and its deliberate actions to protect Busch (and his father, H. Lee Busch’s reputation) from conviction and to leave the case unsolved. More clear evidence that the office of Jessica Cooper and Paul Walton expended their energy disproving the Busch lead rather than solve the case. You can disagree if you want. That’s my take on it. Defend these two; I dare you.
I can’t help it if podcasters and writers want to talk about clinically clean, pristine child victims and bloody ligatures. Is it a drag that misinformation gets repeated? Of course. But these are now useless rabbit holes. Saying those ropes don’t match the binding marks on the children means Busch is not a suspect is like saying John Hastings cannot be involved because he did not drive a Gremlin.
And Hastings is further proof that the MSP and the State of Michigan are actively protecting those who escaped identification for their participation in these crimes. You can disregard, dispute, argue about all of the evidence concerning Hastings in this case except for this:
Gray and Robertson of the MSP ignored this report of Hastings’ polygraph in October 2009. They deep-sixed this shit, didn’t circle back to a living witness and/or participant in these crimes, and this is further proof of how the MSP will not dig deep enough to solve this case.
“DUNCAN ADVISED THAT THERE WAS NO QUESTION IN HIS MIND, WHATSOEVER THAT HASTINGS HAS SOME INVOLVEMENT WITH THE MURDERS OF THESE CHILDREN. HE STATED HE DIDN’T KNOW TO WHAT DEGREE OF INVOLVEMENT HE MAY HAVE, WHETHER KNOWLEDGE, DID THE MURDER OR ASSISTED, BUT HE FIRMLY BELIEVES HE WAS INVOLVED. DUNCAN STATED THAT IN POLYGRAPH YOU CAN’T JUST PULL OUT ONE PART, AND HANG YOUR HAT ON IT. DUNCAN DID HOWEVER STATE AGAIN, THAT THERE IS NO QUESTION IN HIS MIND THAT HE IS INVOLVED IN THESE MURDERS.”
Cory Williams recently responded on this blog that he had never been shown this document and had in fact been “kicked off the task force” during the relevant time period. His file notes confirm this. Marney Keenan has recently and repeatedly acknowledged that Hastings needs to be looked at again very carefully. I have recently conveyed all of this to the new prosecutor and to the office of the attorney general. I missed that shit going through the FOIA documents years ago and my guess is Marney Keenan did, too. This scene of blaming me, Marney Keenan and Cory Williams for failures of the investigation is total bullshit, as is the whining (and what are threats veiled with concern and suggestions about the only way to solve this case) about “all of the speculation.” At the end of the day this is all at the feet of the MSP and Oakland County law enforcement–then and now. Misfeasance, malfeasance, conspiracies–people are making damn sure no one can get to the bottom of this. If you can’t see that or require proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the discussion can end because it’s pointless.
I submit the evidence uncovered via FOIA supports a conclusion that at some point this turned into a sham investigation involving federal and state agencies. Rather than quibble about inaccuracies which have been baked in, but ultimately really irrelevant to the closing of this case, how about writing Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald and letting her know how you feel about this travesty of justice? Or Attorney General Dana Nessel? Other cold cases around the world have received the kind of attention to detail that result in answers, not “sorry, no evidence, no one is talking, can’t do it” responses. Let these public officials know the conduct exhibited by law enforcement in this case (with the clear exceptions of Livonia PD and Wayne County) will not be tolerated. A close examination of the players in this investigation over the years will reveal plenty. Maybe an untainted agency can start there.
Listen to Marney Keenan discuss her book, The Snow Killings: Inside the Oakland County Child Killer Investigation, on the podcast William Ramsey Investigates:
I will keep pushing for an outside agency to look at this investigation. The odds of someone stepping up are very slim. If I have to, I will settle for exposing these dirty bastards anywhere and everywhere possible. So listen to this interesting discussion of just how wrong this investigation went and how obviously dirty the Michigan State Police and Oakland County law enforcement are. I’m not even going to say “were.” They are still at it and those who should expose this monstrous injustice (and all related injustices, including thwarting FOIA requirements and tampering with evidence) and don’t–welcome to a very dirty club.
Among those who have downloaded the encryption apps onto their state-issued phones are a lieutenant-colonel, two majors, and two first lieutenants.
— Read on www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2021/01/22/state-police-phone-apps-keep-text-messages-secret/4236305001/