Take a listen to author Marney Rich Keenan discuss her book The Snow Killings: Inside the Oakland County Child Killing Investigation with podcaster Dan Zupansky on True Murder: The Most Shocking Killers. Listen until the end, some information not discussed in previous podcasts is explored:
The Clown and The Candyman airs on ID (Investigation Discovery) on March 14 and 15 at 9:00 p.m. The eight-part narrative podcast which aired before this documentary and includes discussion of the OCCK crimes and the original pedophile island–N. Fox Island and predator Frank Shelden is ground-breaking. If you haven’t listened to all eight episodes here is the link:
See also: http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news/2020/12/15/id-reveals-the-network-of-pedophiles-that-connects-two-deranged-serial-killers-in-a-new-podcast-and-series-the-clown-and-the-candyman-895205/20201215id01/
I will post a reminder and a link closer to March 14th. I watched the documentary on Discovery-Plus and it was excellent. Cineflix also produced Children of the Snow, a documentary based on a book written by J. Reuben Appelman about the OCCK crimes. https://www.hulu.com/series/children-of-the-snow-e5670464-7adc-4907-80c1-9f38ce17ee82. It first aired two years ago, in February 2019.
People all over the world have viewed Children of the Snow and some have spoken up. They contacted my Dad. They contacted me. They contacted J. Reuben Appelman. They contacted Marney Keenan. Are you sensing a theme? None of us has police powers. The MSP had a tip line for a time, but I know of very, very few people (3?) who were contacted in response to leaving information. Now the tip line is dead. I can’t tell people who to call with tips. Michigan has been very effective at first not asking the public for help and then, decades later after information is given to the public via books and media, making it impossible to get any traction on leads or pangs of conscience motivated by these works. Call someone other than the MSP? In circular fashion, they will happily send you to the MSP. Where your information will go no where. They have had 45 years to perfect their technique.
Even after all of the work done by Cory Williams and Wayne County, Oakland County and the MSP continue to do the bob and weave on this case. I don’t know what it’s going to take, but I am giving a lot of thought to what can be done to move this thing. You have won so far, but keep looking over your shoulder. We are still here waiting for some semblance of justice for four dead pre-teens who can no longer speak for themselves. The shame should be overwhelming, but all these liars and weak-tit ego-maniacs have weathered it so far. All of it. I hope to find a way to sink this sick ship.
Compare this case, announced by the Michigan AG today, where someone called in a tip on an Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputy who was sentenced for child sex crimes and felony drug charges. https://www.9and10news.com/2021/02/26/former-osceola-county-sheriffs-deputy-facing-child-sex-crimes-felony-drug-charges/. The system worked. Someone calls in a tip, someone takes it seriously and this freak gets arrested and pleads guilty based on the investigation. It is almost incomprehensible when you compare it to the OCCK case.
The predation discussed in these podcasts, books and documentaries is so profoundly disturbing and the thought that officials continue to throw up roadblocks in the investigation into the OCCK and related child victimization cases is perhaps even more so. The rot is deep and foundational and speaks not only to guilty silence on the part of many, but also public corruption. As Marney Keenan says in this podcast: The truth matters. Don’t let these people in Oakland County and the MSP, charged with protecting society and working on behalf of victims, continue to act in a way to defile this concept.
11 thoughts on “Take a listen”
You are absolutely right Catherine! The truth does matter and those children mattered and they still do matter. Those of us who remember when these horrible crimes happened want want justice for Mark, Jill, Kristine and Tim. We will never forget them. DNA continues to evolve and the truth will come out(are you listening Vince Gunnels?) – we in the community need to keep the pressure on – I wrote my letter snd emails to the governor and the new Oakland county prosecutor – we should all be doing so.
This is not sour grapes as much as it is curiosity. Please do not see this as an attack on you. I just feel you, better than anyone might be able to help me understand.
In 2011 I published a book about these cases. At that time no one had even thought much about pedophile rings possibly being involved, much-less connected to a wide range slave market filled with all manner of services to patrons from every strata of society.
I wrote about pedophiles and their different operations, from the Cass Corridor to North Fox Island and everywhere in between.
I connected them. I explained in detail how there would be no way they didn’t work together, that the killer or killers of these kids was somehow connected to them. That hiding the high ranking wealthy pedophiles resulted in hiding the killer also. That there was no way Law Enforcement could walk it back, so had to continue to claim the cases were unsolved and open.
My research was very detailed about the Shelden, North Fox connection to almost all of the other named players in the cesspool.
Among other things I was sure there was police protection and others involved in a far reaching cover-up.
At the time my ideas were criticized as far-fetched. Detective Williams called them bull shit.
But now he and other critics are all over radio and documentaries talking about my theories as if they have always been a foregone conclusion in the investigation or just recently uncovered by other authors and film makers doing “groundbreaking research” writing and film making.
So I am curious as to how my “bull shit” became the cornerstone of their work.
John McKinney was murdered because he caused all kinds of heat for the business of selling kids by murdering some of them. He had help.
Marie, your bravery in writing Portraits in the Snow is unprecedented in this case. You were aware of the risks that police have minimized every step of the way, even though we now know it was a snake pit. And you did it without the benefit of any comment or direction by police or prosecutors, who have hidden behind the “open case” characterization for 45 years. You deserve kudos, thanks and apologies. Those are almost nonexistent when it comes to this case. Gaslighting and defamation are much easier to come by and I know that from direct experience.
Your research was extremely detailed about the Sheldens, the Algers, Frank Shelden’s “associates” and you posited that Chris Busch was one of the child hunters in and around Oakland County. You talked about the camp in Pontiac where kids were often taken to be abused and filmed. You wrote about Richard Hojnacki, a man around the same age as Chris Busch, living in his parents home in Farmington HIlls–a man who died by “suicide” and whose name I have never forgotten in connection with this case after reading your book. I have recommended your book to many people, including a reporter from Business Insider, over the years.
With each new book, podcast, docuseries, it became safer to explore and say what you said in 2011.
As recently as six weeks ago: https://catherinebroad.blog/2021/01/20/does-anyone-out-there-have-a-conscience/. I hope I have adequately expressed my thanks and respect for what you did. I have always been up front with every reporter, author, podcaster and documentarian about the information I have in this case, and my opinions when asked and I hope you feel I extended the same to you. If you would like to discuss this further, you know where to find me.
Once a “story” like this gets some traction, everybody has a piece of it. And some take those pieces and run. Self-interest has some peculiar, but very predictable results. Even many internet sleuths who merely post comments around the internet want a piece of it–credit or something. The thing takes on an entirely different character, where solving the case or exposing injustice becomes very secondary. Human nature revealed.
I recently filed a FOIA request with Birmingham PD on the McKinney homicide file. You know they will shut me down based on one of the many bogus cop exemptions in FOIA. After the last 18 months of police behavior around the country, how can FOIA still grant exemptions for cop personnel files?! But you know what they will say here–open homicide investigation, sorry (even though a 44-year-old homicide no one has done jack shit on in decades is most certainly not “open”). Then the ball is back in my court to decide whether to hire attorneys who specialize in FOIA to finally get a court to rule that these ancient case files can’t be kept “closed” forever. This case was never solved for obvious reasons.
You know how this all goes–“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” Everybody is an expert in this case; I’m sure you’ve noticed.
I remember when this all first came to light when you were writing your book and my dear, late friend Bridget Coffey said “Cath, why didn’t you say something [before 2010]?!” The Coffeys knew John McKinney as well as he could have been known, as you describe in your book. I left for college a month before that fuck was murdered–I never heard of him, never saw him, didn’t know who he was or what he did. I wouldn’t have given an “old man” like that a second look, no matter where I saw him. Then, in my 50’s I hear about this piece of shit who surely had crossed paths with my brother Tim at the Coffey’s house. Why didn’t I say anything?! Like the cops gave us any information or ever kept us in the loop? Ever asked anyone in our family about fucking John McKinney?! Now I’m in my 60’s and no one in B’ham will answer any questions about this man, even after reading the letter from the case file that I saw for the first time and posted six weeks ago. Sounded like B’ham PD knew they had a real sick fuck on their hands as of September 22, 1977, if not before.
Birmingham PD has a very vested interest in keeping all of this under the radar. As your title well states: Portraits in the Snow–The Oakland County Child Killer . . . SCANDALS AND SMALL CONSPIRACIES. The kind of scandals and small conspiracies that keep the truth from surfacing for 45 years. That is a long time to wait for some truth.
McKinney got what he deserved. Now someone needs to come forward and fill in the details. That, as you know, is asking too much here because it requires someone having a conscience and some balls.
Thank you Cathy very much. As you know I experienced all three stages. Even now I fly under the radar. It was all so frightening. I guess it is easier and much safer for folks today to talk about the dots I connected and I wrote about back then. I have since tied other strings together.
I find it amazing that John McKinney Jr. is keeper of the light on South Fox Island. He looks like his dad.
I don’t have to tell you that this horrific lack of justice haunts everyone who steps into it. McKinney is the only one we can in fact directly connect to two of the children. You know at one time he drove a green Pontiac.
The beat down he took before he was shot, was classic Cass. Where I found he was connected as well as the upper crust of Birmingham. There are other things but not here.
The Cass guys were blackmailing the Bloomfield/Birmingham guys. Then the killings started.
Anyway… when I watched Williams talking as an expert about the things that I wrote about and he’d called bs on me, it stuck a bit.
I was in no way putting it on you that I felt some of these groundbreakers were standing on much of the ground that had already been broken and dug up a long time ago.
I am sorry for the deep loss of your friend.
Marie- Your novel was an eye opener. The problem is, people looked but they did not want to see and others wanted to keep the lights out (still do.) Cathy is spot on about the 3 stages of truth and you know what your book has done? It was the catalyst for bringing to light the repugnant filth of child trafficking, rape, and murder (I am sure there were many more than the four OCCK kids.) It was courageous to publish and I know you had several repercussions from scary entities but you know what else it did? It allowed living victims to come out from under whatever dark pall enshrouded their experience. You gave them validation and, perhaps, the ability to free themselves from their tortured experiences.
Your book opened my eyes. You know I sent it to Helen. She wasn’t able to get one and really wanted to read it. She loved it. There are several scenes in it that still strike me, out of nowhere even now, I think about them.
I really wasn’t looking for the kudos as much as understanding but they are very much appreciated.
I was not getting how all the “bull $h*t” theories I believed and wrote about are now just accepted as part of the truths found by others.
My Consigliere passed before all the hoopla started over his contribution to how the black market worked back in the 70s with contraband.
He helped me see how the same strategies could have been used. We now know they were transfered to the black market of selling kids.
To him this was an infamia. So the nerve it hit would have made him smile. But not for the trouble it caused for me.
So much is out in the open now. If only the truth of these killings was too.
I still pray for a final answer for the families.
I am trying to find Marie’s book. Is it Rainbow Walking? From the description on Amazon it looks like this is a fictional account. Is there another book? Thank you.
The book contains facts and theories, Jay, based on the author’s research and history. It’s on Amazon–just checked; 13 copies are left according to Amazon. White cover, “Portraits in the Snow” in red. At the time the book was written (2011), law enforcement had not gone on the record about anything substantive in this case.
Thank you Cathy. I did read Portraits in the Snow. I also found Rainbow Walking by (it seems) the same author. The information suggests this may be fictionalized accounts of same case (locations, etc. the same but names changed). Just had never heard of this book before and that one is harder to find.
Actually a ranting phone call from the Cass about the story line in my trashy poorly written unedited little work of fiction, Rainbow Walking was the catalyst for Portraits.
No good deed goes unpunished in this case. Not one.
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