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.