The Dust Never Settles

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.