Rabbit Holes and Diversions

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.  


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.

28 responses to “Rabbit Holes and Diversions”

  1. Cathy

    My apologies if you’ve already done this, but could you post the email addresses of the new OCP and Nessel. Thanks

  2. Cathy;

    I read you loud and clear. This written and documented very well. Thanks for clearing up some things and acknowledging key people are aware of matters. Wish everyone the best that’s involved.

  3. Cathy, I’m really glad that Cory is well aware of the Hastings polygraph readings now. I’m also glad Marney agrees that Hastings should be looked at heavily again. Thanks for bringing to light what actually happened with these cases and brought it to light . To show the fabricated lies the MSP told. For years we were told those kids were kept perfectly . That they were laid out like “ ANGELS IN THE SNOW”. What a fucking joke.

    I feel a sense of optimism that if this is done right, they can get this Mother fer yet. There’s just too many coincidences with Hastings. No he didn’t drive a Gremlim , but he did drive a light colored LeMans . Which now was seen at a few of the drop locations . Let’s get real here. There’s something with this guy. The siblings have hid him for many years. Let him prove us wrong. He haasnt as of yet. 🙏🏻

    • JN;

      Interesting about the LeMans. Helen had tried to track down a LeMans type car in John’s family history with no luck. At one time she contacted an old neighbor of the family but he never recalled any but this elderly man was not real familiar with that type of car to know for sure. Do you know anymore about it? Was it John’s car or just was he using someone’s? This would sure be a big coincidence to add to the many others if it was definite.

  4. Great Post Cathy, hope you are well. I asked this question to Marney, i read somewhere that there was a woman in Birmingham Drugs that came face to face with a man the day that Tim was abducted, that gave her a look and left the store. The composite photo of the man the woman saw is a match to both Greg Greene and John Hastings. I realize it has been 40 some years later but, is that woman still alive and has she ever been shown photos of both Greene and Hastings to see if she can confirm if either one was the man she saw that day? Marney knew her name, i cant remember it.

    Thank you,


    • Jeremy – you may be confusing two different women. Polly did, indeed, run into a man at Hunter Maple Pharmacy that late afternoon. She did not, however, think the man looked like the original composite (the one with “mutton chop” sideburns) which is really the only composite she was aware of for many years. She did go to police within 24 hours of Tim’s disappearance. And spoke to them again, when they were doing a door to door several days later (thinking they were there about her tip – they were not and did not address it), and then continued contacting LE several times through the ensuing years with no response. Ever.

      There was also the woman who saw a young boy talking to a man standing near a blue Gremlin in the parking lot of Hunter Maple Pharmacy. Perhaps that is who you are thinking of that described the man as looking like the composite? I believe it was her description that helped create the composite.

  5. As usual you come across as a smart and strong person and must be a great lawyer. I have written to Dana Nessel with no response but will do again.
    I am wondering if you have ever gotten in touch with Paul Holes and Billy Jensen who worked on the golden state killer case and have raised resources and awareness on other cases for using DNA.

    • Good idea, Monica. I have not. I always view the problem as being the MSP won’t work with anybody else on this case. I know a few people copied my Dad or me on emails sent to CeCe Moore, “the DNA Detective.”

      I know a very competent genetic genealogist has offered some suggestions and guidance to the MSP. I hope the MSP keeps the channel open there. It’s time to think way outside of the box.

    • Paul Holes, CeCe Moore and the people in that orbit have been doing a GREAT job in rattling these cold case cages, and getting results. I, like others, am truly of the belief that they would get that final, giant spotlight on everything once and for all.

      An extremely public, national/global call to action on this case. It could shame MSP and Oakland County to FINALLY open the flood gates, if people like Pul Holes, CeCe Moore, reputable investigators and others can at least draw more attention to this case by consistently keeping the word out, and taking an active interest in it. You get people like them on National TV asking the uncomfortable questions that Cathy has been asking for years, and I do believe MSP/Oakland County would have nowhere to hide at that point.

  6. Hi Cathy;

    As many times as I read those docs from Duncan, I’m very perplexed how or what made them conclude what they did. That part was obviously missing and someone must find out what was removed from those reports before making any decisions.

    I suspect the polygrapher (Duncan) and his boss picked up on something which is very difficult to describe. Let me try to express this again. One thing that Helen never really seemed to describe too well and that I remember distinctively from that night at Big Boy was that John was very emotionally attached to these children before he killed them. Maybe it was all just fantasy to him in his story telling but he felt a close friendship with them as bizarre as that sounds. This is what was so damn weird about him when he talked about this stuff. It was creepy as hell is the only way to describe it.

    Perhaps this polygraph test in Georgia went down that same way. He maybe never admitted to killing the children during the polygraph question but has these deep memories of knowing them personally. This would make anyone observing the test conclude he had some type of involvement with these crimes. MSP couldn’t make much sense out of the results reported and just discarded it.

    However many times I express this, it never makes much sense but that is my best guess on what happened. You and I have never shared the same opinion on how these crimes were done but that is my speculation on the polygraph side of it.

    Someday it would be nice to know the truth.

    Wish you the best in finding it.

  7. I was wondering, did they ever go through Busch’s phone records? I don’t remember seeing the info in the FOIA documents but I may have missed that. Although that’s assuming they actually wanted to find something… Its just so frustrating given all the technology that exists today and that other crimes are being solved by uploading DNA to databases.

    • Go through Busch phone records? The cops didn’t even initially take the rifle used to shoot Busch, then gave the old man a handwritten receipt acknowledging that Busch would provide the gun and that it would be returned. A little reminder of the day, I guess. The ME didn’t even attempt to set a DOD–he just used the arrival time and date the cop showed up, even though Busch had clearly been dead for days–probably November 17, not the 20th. No one fingerprinted the empty vodka bottle to see if someone had been drinking with Busch prior to his death. So, no, I don’t think they didn’t checked any phone records.

    • And this is just speculation but since, Chris was living in mommy and daddy’s house and died there, the phone was more than likely in H Lee’s name. If the cop’s didn’t even attempt a true DOD and politely gave a receipt for the gun, I am guessing the thought of bothering H Lee with the added embarrassment and irritation of having HIS phone records checked wasn’t even on their radar.

      • It is reprehensible how this was all handled. If this was truly just suspected to be a suicide of some random person, you could see why they wouldn’t do a lot of investigation. But given that a four year old could see it wasn’t a suicide and the fact they called in the task force shows they knew this wasn’t an ordinary suicide. Unfortunately, it looks like the task force was called in to ‘clean up’ the situation as opposed to investigate it.

  8. Cathy,
    Looking at the January 11, 1979 document you posted, I noticed there is a stamp on the middle of the bottom part of the page. It is signed and indicates the “items above” (sketch of child screaming, along with ropes and cordage), which Metzger examined, were returned to Bloomfield Twp. PD on 5-18-82. That is more than three years later. Do you know if that was ever followed up on, to see if they still have the items, instead of the MSP/OCCK Task Force keeping them?

    • Good catch. I think they were destroyed and I will double-check. Remember, this is the police agency that told us in December 2007 they had no record of the Busch suicide. They then provided the file to a reporter.

  9. 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.


    • Very interesting observations, Bob. I will post a few pages from a chapter of the 1980 book The Oakland County Child Killer, a book with remarkable retrocognition for a “fiction” book. This chapter describes how police off one of the suspects.

  10. This looks the best recent post for two ‘random’ comments.

    I noticed the other day, that you have my research and theory about “what happened to Dyer Grossman”, as a document attached to your blog. (I was googling something related, and it just popped up).
    I assume Mike passed it to you? It was a present, for him, with no strings attached – to do with, whatever he pleased. So, it’s more than OK that you have it.
    I did pursue attempts to interest FBI, (various state offices), and some other agencies, in it. Both before and after I gave it to Mike. As far as I can tell, with no result.

  11. More evidence, that using pedophiles and pederasts as “undercover informants” is a tragically stupid, (not to mention immoral), strategy;

    “March 15, 1988
    To the Fairfax County police, John A. Vitullo is a man accused of sodomizing seven boys. To the FBI, Vitullo is an “extremely productive” informant”

    In my opinion, it is unforgivable that Richard Lawson not only failed to rat out his own core circle of perverts; Lamborgine, “Duffy” and Bob Moore, but obviously protected them as much as he protected himself, during the first OCCK investigation era.
    “Former Detroit Police Chief Isaiah McKinnon said Lawson gave officers information about child molesters while he was a police informant. McKinnon worked in the department’s sex crimes unit at the time, and he said Lawson helped uncover a child pornography ring in Detroit.”He knew all about that underworld,” McKinnon said. “He knew so much about the Cass Corridor at the time it’s hard to dismiss what he might know about this case.”
    I don’t know what “pornography ring” McKinnon is referring to, but it can’t be Bob Moore’s operation – (?)

    If Lawson ever did have this knowledge, and didn’t just make this sh*t up; Lamborgine’s supposed “looks like the King boy, doesn’t it”? remark, and Tazelar blurting out that he’d seen Tim King in a porn movies – if he ever had such knowledge he surely had it DURING THE FIRST INVESTIGATION or shortly thereafter. He could have/ should have/ passed THAT info to McKinnon’s investigators, but apparently did not. He was scum, and I’m very glad he passed on in prison.


  12. I was wondering, have any of the families or Cory (or anyone) been able to talk to AG Nessel? I don’t know how it works, if an AG would even meet with citizens. I sent an email to the miag@mic address asking for where the case stood but I don’t know if I will ever hear anything. (Did get standard autoreply.) I respect what her team has done rounding up all those pedophile priests, so I am hoping she might listen more than most? Or am I just being naive?

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