Top of the list for lowest clearance rate for homicide cases, meaning it has the most unsolved murder cases:
Unsurprisingly, the most “chilling and infamous” unsolved case in Michigan is the Oakland County Child Killer(s) case.
Here is how Michigan is represented on the map:
There you sit, Oakland County, right next to the 1892 Borden murders in Massachusetts. Nice work.
Thank you to Already Gone podcaster Nina Innsted for sending the infographic.
Here’s another case involving bad actors from Oakland County where Genesee County gets the ball rolling. Anyone with a passing understanding of the history of the OCCK investigation is familiar with how this works.
On March 1, 2021, I filed three FOIA requests with the Birmingham Police Department. One was for any records concerning Christopher Brian Busch from the years 1970-1978. A second was for any records concerning Gregory W. Greene from the same time period. These requests were based on my belief that these men crossed the Birmingham PD radar before my brother Tim was abducted on March 16, 1977, and in Busch’s case, after that. It was also based on a remote hope that someone hadn’t gone back and sanitized the files after Greene and then Busch were interviewed in Flint at the end of January 1977, after Kristine was found murdered but before Tim was abducted.
I am talking about the kind of “sanitizing” that took place in the Columbine case when LE in Jefferson County, CO, destroyed a file on Eric Harris the minute they knew he was implicated in the Columbine High School massacre. It would take a decade and a grand jury convened by the CO attorney general to force a confession concerning this file destruction/document shred and the conspiracy to stay silent about prior complaints called in about Harris. The kind of sanitizing that might take place when a dirty politician leaves office. That kind of sanitizing.
I received a prompt response. The labor cost to merely locate any such records would be $3,244.80. A good faith deposit of $1,622.40 would be required to initiate the search
I also received a much more detailed response to my third FOIA request, which was for any records related to the murder of John McKinney on September 19, 1977. The cost for 1,070 pages would be $2,234.13. A deposit of $1,167.07 would be required.
I called Birmingham PD and asked for an explanation of costs. Here is what I was told. In the case of the Busch and Greene search, it would require going through eight years of microfiche. The time to search was estimated based on a search they had previously done for someone for one year’s worth of microfiche looking for Busch. The information is not alphabetized, nor is is searchable. It would require a tedious, time-consuming spin through microfiche for information which may or may not exist. I declined to go forward with those FOIA requests. Three thou for “sorry, no responsive records” is not my idea of money well-spent.
I asked why the detailed cost itemization was more complete, down to the number of pages to be produced, for the McKinney file. The commander I spoke with, who was actually very helpful, explained that this request had already been broken down and compiled a year prior. Two previous FOIA requests were made for the McKinney file–one by an individual and one by a media outlet. Both declined to pursue it after seeing the cost. I will address the McKinney file in a subsequent post.
I had a few other questions and the commander told me another commander would get back to me. He promptly called me back, answered my questions, and then called me back again, twice, with more information. He met face-to-face with one of my brothers last month. He offered to be an advocate for our family. While representatives of Wayne County–Cory Williams, Rob Moran and Prosecutor Kym Worthy–have always so treated our family, no one in Oakland County or with the Michigan State Police, has done so. Ever. This is an appreciated first. No gas lighting, no b.s., no evasion, no condescension, no hostility, no side agenda.
I am at close to 40 days post-deposit paying, waiting on a response from the Michigan State Police to a FOIA request I initially made on February 10, 2021. I paid the deposit on March 11 online. No word. It’s not a tough request. It is confined to specific material on very specific dates. To give you an idea, the request required a $270 deposit. Which means it will probably amount to two pages after they are done with the black magic markers.
The Federal Freedom of Information Act and its state counterparts were enacted so people and the press can keep an eye on how the government does business. How an agency responds to a FOIA request, let alone a letter or phone call, says a lot about an agency, too.
What shall we call the wall in a prosecutor’s office?
On Tuesday, as San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson announced two arrests in the 1996 murder of college student Kristin Smart. Longtime suspect Paul Flores, a fellow student at Polytechnic State University, was charged with killing Kristin Smart as he attempted to rape her in his dorm room. His father, Ruben Flores, 80, was charged as an accessory after authorities said he helped hide the body, which has never been located.
At a press conference, the sheriff credited podcaster Chris Lambert with helping draw worldwide attention to the case and bringing forward several key witnesses, thus propelling the case forward. There is an example of law enforcement keeping an open mind instead of shutting doors. How is it that every single tip turned into the Michigan State Police is always “low priority”? And don’t get me started on the Oakland County prosecutors office or the Oakland County sheriff or the FBI in this case. Hands off, not my problem, too busy, too hard, too corrupt. The mantra is “The case will never be solved.” Think about why that might be the case. There are plenty of suspects, many of them longtime suspects, just like Paul Flores was in this case. It took a podcaster to move the ball to expose Kristen Smart’s killer and his criminal father. But the SLO sheriff ran with it.
Speaking of podcasts, there is a new podcast about the OCCK:
There have been numerous podcasts, newspaper and magazine articles, books and a documentary about the OCCK case. Still the state police, the OC sheriff and the OC prosecutors down the line have kept a lid on this case. These gas-lighters will not be moved by any podcast. What good is it if the very few people who have a conscience come forward when there is really no one to come forward to? They tell their story and then get blown off. However, I guess it does help to bring national and international exposure to the OCCK case. Exposure of the environment in and around Oakland County which allowed these crimes to occur and to remain unsolved. Exposure of parallel child sex and porn rings flourishing in that county in the 1970s and 1980s. Exposure of the roadblocks preventing the closing of these cases or even a hint at the mis and malfeasance that occurred here. Not only did very bad things happen in Oakland County, they were covered up or ignored. This means no positive change, no “never again,” no making sure child victims didn’t die in Oakland County in vain.
Still think that you can figure out who is a pedophile or that surely you wouldn’t find one in a place like your safe town or suburb? Think again.
https://www.sonomawest.com/sonoma_west_times_and_news/news/past-sebastopol-mayor-held-on-11-child-sexual-assault-felony-charges/article_d57e7cbe-9d72-11eb-9311-4393b43d58bc.html. (Thanks to a reader.)
Finally, if you were one of the many victims of former UCLA gynecologist Dr. James Heaps, and those who enabled him, you have until May 6, 2021 to opt out of the class action lawsuit being brought against him and UCLA. Opting out will allow the filing of an individual lawsuit in state court against these defendants, thereby avoiding the cap on the amount of compensation for class participants. The class action format benefits Heaps and UCLA. Consult an attorney ASAP.
Here is an awesome “short,” DO NO HARM, which addresses the power of sending a message, getting monsters off the street and forcing change where those in power want to look the other way:
“We have the truth.” That’s something some players in the OCCK case want to make sure no one ever sees.
Thank the Universe for the kind of reporting done by the Boston Globe, a newspaper taking on powerful institutions that have made it their business to protect sex offenders. First the Catholic church and now the Boston Police Department. From today’s Boston Globe (and thanks to a reader):
For years, the Boston Police kept a secret: the union president was an alleged child molester
Despite 1995 evidence, Patrick Rose kept his badge, worked on child sexual assault cases, and ascended to power in the police union. He went on to allegedly molest five other children.
By Andrew Ryan Globe Staff,Updated April 10, 2021, 5:38 p.m.
Patrick M. Rose Sr., president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, testified during a 2016 body camera hearing at Suffolk Superior Court.JESSICA RINALDI/GLOBE STAFF/FILE
A father and his teenage daughter walked into the Hyde Park police station last August and reported a heinous crime.
The girl said she had been repeatedly molested from age 7 through 12 by former Boston police union president Patrick M. Rose Sr. Five more people soon came forward, accusing Rose of molesting them as children over the span of three decades, including the girl’s own father.
Rose being tagged as a child sexual abuser was news to the city when he was arrested and charged last summer. But it wasn’t news to the Boston Police Department where Rose served for two decades as a patrolman.
A Globe investigation has found that the Boston Police Department in 1995 filed a criminal complaint against him for sexual assault on a 12-year-old, and, even after the complaint was dropped, proceeded with an internal investigation that concluded that he likely committed a crime. Despite that finding, Rose kept his badge, remained on patrol for another 21 years, and rose to power in the union that represents patrol officers.
Today Boston police are fighting to keep secret how the department handled the allegations against Rose, and what, if any, penalty he faced. Over the years, this horrific case has come full circle: The father who brought his daughter in last summer to report abuse by Rose was the boy allegedly abused at age 12 in the 1995 case. The department’s lack of administrative action back then may have left Rose free to offend again and again, from one generation to the next.
Prosecutors now say the boy recanted his story under pressure from Rose, a common phenomenon for young survivors of abuse when faced with demands from their abuser. Though the criminal case against Rose was dropped as a result, a separate police internal affairs investigation went forward and concluded Rose broke the law.
Boston police won’t say what, if any, disciplinary action was taken against Rose. But it is clear the department did little or nothing to limit his contact with children, and allowed him to salvage a career that led to the union presidency, where he became the public face of the city’s 1,500 patrol officers.
The Globe investigation raises significant questions about how the department handled Rose, whose broader history of alleged molestation has only become clear now that he is jailed facing 33 counts of sexual abuse of six victims from age 7 to 16 in Suffolk Superior Court. For security reasons, he is being held in the Berkshire County Jail on $200,000 cash bail.
His attorney, William J. Keefe, said Rose is fighting the charges.
“My client maintains his innocence to all of the charges that have been brought against him and he maintains his innocence to what was alleged to have transpired back in 1995,” Keefe said.
Even after the department learned of the alleged abuse in 1995, the Globe review found, Rose was allowed to have contact with vulnerable children. Boston police dispatched him in 1999 to help a 14-year-old girl who was crying at a pay phone, calling to report she had been raped, department records show. Later, Rose gave a special needs child a ride home in his squad car. And in 2006, records show, he was called to testify as the arresting officer in a child sexual assault case.
“What we’re describing here is an example of an institutional and systemic failure,” said former Boston police lieutenant Tom Nolan, who now teaches at Emmanuel College. ”The department had a responsibility to ensure that this individual was no longer employed in the ranks of the Boston Police Department.”
The nation’s oldest police force, which has a history of trying to keep misconduct in the ranks secret, has refused Globe requests since October to release records from Rose’s internal affairs file. The documents would likely show the details of the allegation, how it was handled, and what steps were taken as the case rose through the chain of command.
Even after a rebuke from the state’s supervisor of public records, former mayor Martin J. Walsh’s administration last month said it would not release the files. The supervisor said the city had failed to meet its legal threshold to withhold the files, but the administration was steadfast. The administration said the records were impossible to redact in a way that would comply with a state law that shields the identities of victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
The police department has drawn a similar hard line in other cases — or cited other laws — to withhold entire internal affairs files of officers accused of misconduct, including that of suspended police Commissioner Dennis White, who faced allegations of domestic violence raised by his former wife.
Advised of the Globe’s findings on Rose and the department’s response to his alleged abuse of a child, Boston Acting Mayor Kim Janey released a statement critical of the department’s actions and vowed to push for more transparency.
“The allegations in this case are incredibly disturbing and warrant thorough scrutiny,” Janey said.
“It is appalling that there was a documented history of alleged child sexual abuse, yet this individual was able to serve out his career as an officer and eventually become the head of the patrolmen’s union for several years,” she added. “Under no circumstance will crimes of this nature be tolerated under my administration, and we will not turn a blind eye to injustices as they arise.”
The department in a statement said it was legally prohibited from commenting “on the facts and circumstances of the 1995 investigation of these horrific allegations.” But the department said that social services and the district attorney’s office were both involvedin the 1995 case.
“The investigation into the allegations against Patrick Rose faced significant evidentiary and proof issues that ultimately made it impossible for the district attorney’s office to sustain a conviction and for the department to levy the appropriate discipline,” the statement said.
Most of the police officials from the 1990s who might’ve had a role in responding to the allegation against Rose are no longer with the department. Key former officials — including internal affairs investigator Sergeant Detective Eileen Vanderwood, Captain Detective Melbert J. Ahearn, and Internal Investigations chief Ann Marie Doherty — did not respond or declined requests for comment.
Former commissioner Paul F. Evans also did not respond for comment. A department spokesman said it was unknown whether Evans was made aware of the findings of the investigation in the 1990s.
Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement she found it “extremely troubling” that Boston police did not properly discipline Rose or restrict his access to children.
“The allegations from decades ago are an example of how systems can fail people,” Rollins said, noting that there are now multiple victims making nearly identical allegations against Rose.
“It is heartbreaking. … Child sexual assault cases can be difficult to prove as perpetrators frequently target victims they hope nobody will believe.”
Rose’s accusers declined to comment. The Globe does not identify survivors of sexual assault.
The renewed allegations against Rose come as law enforcement and other institutions face new pressure to examine how they have handled cases of abuse. A comprehensive review, and reconsideration of past procedures is essential, said Elizabeth Jeglic, a professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
“It is important from a systemic point of view to understand what went wrong and how to fix that,” said Jeglic. “Unfortunately, [society] didn’t recognize the severity of these types of crimes and intervene appropriately.”
“Now institutions are being held accountable,” Jeglic said.
Boston’s police department has a long history of protecting its own from accountability, particularly if the officer, like Rose, is white, said retired deputy superintendent Willie Bradley, who is Black.
“The police department’s refusal to actually deal with this issue is a direct contributor to what (later) happened,” said Bradley. “It would have been out there and people would have been aware of it, but they hid it.”
“In my opinion, that’s criminal,” added Bradley, who is now a lecturer and professor at Massasoit, Endicott, and Curry colleges.
The 66-year-old Rose was born in Brookline into a large family and bought a home in West Roxbury in 1978. He served in the National Guard, rising to the rank of major, according to the patrolmen’s union. The police department hired Rose on June 22, 1994. He worked his entire career in Dorchester’s District C-11.
After just a year on the force, trouble emerged. The 12-year-old boy reported to law enforcementthat in June 1995 Rose sexually abused him, according to a docket archived in West Roxbury District Court and other records.
The records show Sergeant Detective John McLean of the BPD’s Sexual Assault Unit filed a criminal complaint against Rose on Dec. 1, 1995, for indecent assault and battery of a child under 14. (McLean, who retired in 2006, did not respond to requests for comment.)
In more recent court records, prosecutors said the boy did not disclose “the full extent of the abuse” at the time. The case stayed out of the news. “After receiving pressure from the defendant, the child ultimately recanted the abuse,” prosecutors said. The case was then dropped.
It is not uncommon for children, traumatized and intimidated, to retract allegations. A 2007 study found that nearly one out of four abused children recanted, particularly those with unsupportive caregivers or who were subjected to old-fashioned interview techniques used in the 1990s and ill-suited for the questioning of minors.
“Since then a lot has changed based on science,” said Jeglic, the John Jay professor. “Back then a lot of it was just trying to get information. And we know the more formal interviews that a child undergoes, the more likely they are to recant.”
Prosecutors dismissed Rose’s criminal case on May 7, 1996.
The department then conducted its own internal affairs investigation into Rose, as is the case with any police employee accused of misconduct. These internal cases have a lower burden of proof than the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard for a criminal conviction, requiring only a “preponderance of evidence,” which is essentially 51 percent or more likely than not, said Nolan, the retired police lieutenant.
In this case, internal affairs “sustained” the administrative charges against Rose, meaning investigators found “sufficient evidence to support the allegations.”
The department has declined to disclose what, if any, disciplinary action it took, or whether Rose was placed on leave during the investigation.
Rose remained a police officer for another 21 years.
The alleged abuse persisted. Prosecutors now allege in court records that Rose’s abuse of the 12-year-old “continued and escalated” after the criminal case was dismissed. During the same time period, he allegedly molested two other children.
In the police department, Rose never rose above the rank of patrolman. But in the patrolmen’s union, Rose gained power, serving alongside President Thomas J. Nee.
The union’s longtime attorney, Thomas Drechsler, defended Rose’s 1995 criminal case and internal affairs proceeding. Drechsler, who became a superior court judge in 2014, declined to comment.
The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association did not respond to requests for comment.
Rose ran for union president in December 2014 and ousted Nee, winning the vote of some 80 percent of patrol officers. Commissioner William B. Evans issued a statement at the time, congratulating Rose. (Evans told the Globe he was unaware of the 1995 allegations.)
As union president, Rose helped patrol officers win a new contract and led a fight against officers wearing body cameras.
Even during the years of his union presidency, Rose allegedly preyed on a new generation of children, prosecutors say. He retired in 2018 and collects an annual pension of just under $78,000.
Then last August, a father took his daughter to the police station in Hyde Park, and Rose’s world imploded in the face of a wave of court charges.
It is not at all unusual that such allegations would come long after the purported offense. It takes courage to step forward, and sometimes even to remember what happened in early childhood. The average abuse survivor takes 20 to 30 years to report the crime, according to psychologist Howard Fradkin, who has counseled more than 1,000 male survivors of sexual abuse.
“Many times the people that I worked with suppressed memories or buried it until the time that their children reached the same age that they were when they were violated,” Fradkin said. “And then all of a sudden it comes to the surface because they begin to go, ‘Wait a minute. Now I see what a 12-year-old looks like, and that’s how old I was.’
“Oftentimes that’s when people start recovery,” Fradkin said.
Rose, when he appeared in court at his August arraignment, did not speak. The once powerful union president had his wrists cuffed together and held his two hands over his face.
“When you get to the end of all the light that you know and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things will happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught how to fly.” Edward Teller ~ Physicist
The Boston PD’s lack of administrative or other action left this creep free to re-offend for decades. It reminds me of Bloomfield Township PD Officer Richard McNamee. https://catherinebroad.blog/2020/08/28/more-about-officer-friendly/. While that police agency was not crazy enough to keep him on the payroll, he was sent off with a clean-bill-of-health letter of reference. That agency also played fair in a FOIA request made by author Marney Keenan last summer. However, no one in law enforcement responded to one of McNamee’s victims who came forward last summer. McNamee the pedophile, as you will recall, was the first responding officer to the Busch “suicide” scene. Sorry, Officer Friendly didn’t drive a blue AMC Gremlin with a white hockey stripe. Get lost.
You don’t write a letter of recommendation for a criminal. You prosecute him and protect society. Even if he is a cop. Especially if he is a cop.
This is an interesting opinion piece from the Washington Post about the crumbling of the Blue Wall and the sharp departure in the prior practice of covering for a dirty cop and punishing good cops who speak up, in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ben-crump-romanucci-chauvin-trial/2021/04/07/b9c649b0-97c9-11eb-a6d0-13d207aadb78_story.html?utm_campaign=wp_opinions_pm&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_popns&carta-url=https://s2.washingtonpost.com/car-ln-tr/31c6e9b/606f59de9d2fda1dfb474a27/59863c879bbc0f6826e691d6/9/57/606f59de9d2fda1dfb474a27. Although I tend to agree with the comments observing that police were finally backed into a bodycam/iPhone camera corner in this case, it seems in the death of George Floyd, the truth will out and that the rooting out of bad apple police officers will be made much easier and whistleblowers protected for a change. These are not high standards; they are the every day standards that should be expected of all public servants.
And consider this recent article, Unseen: The Boy Victims of the Sex Trade, Part 1.
Sad facts, according to the article:
Online sexual exploitation is surging because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has kept young people stuck at home and attached to their computers, phones and tablets.
Last year, there were nearly 38,000 reports of suspected “online enticement for sexual acts” — nearly double the number of reports from the year before, according to the nonprofit National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which runs a cyber tip line.
On a positive note, one man who was trafficked as a teen won a $1.43 million court judgment against his sex trafficker in 2019. Criminal prosecutions are not enough. Money is the only language many speak.
So the tide is starting to turn and the wheels turning every so slowly, but headed in the right direction. I still maintain that facing Michigan’s heinous past when it comes to child sex trafficking and the OCCK and other related child murders has to happen before it achieves anything close to a “new day,” or agencies there can pat themselves on the back for a job well done. And here we sit, swept under a carpet by complicit enablers and those too afraid to bring justice, or even discussion, of any kind in these cases. Institutional failures and silence that protected “untouchables” at the expense of child victims. This is the definition of corruption and cowardice.
These interesting observations from a reader:
I am sending this to respond to a post that you placed in the comment section of one of your threads a few months ago. I was unable to successfully reply at that time.I don’t remember the article, but your comment post was concerning boys from N. Fox Island being dumped from a plane into Lake Michigan. You also noted the Lost Boys of Cass Corridor. Reading this left me with a strong sense of dread. The potential ramifications of Frank Shelden being the mastermind of the OCCK (I believe he was) are alarming. Was the OCCK just the tip of the iceberg? Although there are no specific ties of his to anyone in the Cass Corridor that can be cited, if we review Shelden’s past leading up to the OCCK crimes, it is very enlightening. I have been somewhat puzzled by Shelden’s choice of Wayne State University to get his M.S. in geology. I have the same degree.I don’t believe Wayne State had a geology department per se. I believe it was in the Earth Science department. Looks like a junk degree. He went to Wayne State in the early sixty’s after he obtained a bachelor.s degree from Yale. After Wayne State, he completed the course work for a doctorate in Geology at Michigan. He clearly could do the course work and certainly had the money to go to a blue blood school.Why Wayne State? The answers to these questions were shown to me when I did a search for the location of Wayne State. Not being from Michigan, I did a google search and Lo and Behold, I was amazed to discover the Cass Corridor was immediately adjacent to the school, only separated by Warren Avenue! After that discovery, I’ve concluded the main attraction of Wayne State for Shelden was because the Cass Corridor was next door.He was in his early 30’s during this time, many years into his pedophile gig. Wayne State itself would have offered little in the way of young victims, all were past his preferred age range.Cass Corridor on the other hand must have been a cornucopia of child victims he could rape.It is more than reasonable to assume he made the trip across Warren Avenue many, many times. He attended Wayne State from 1959 and graduated in 1962. He apparently did substitute teaching and possible taught some classes in later years. I believe the upshot of this is although Shelden can’t be specifically tied to the Cass Corridor Creeps, his connections are deep and long standing. He’d know all the players! He was right on that border for 2 Years! A few years after graduating, he purchased N. Fox Island, certainly right off the bat with the idea to make it his pornography/pedophile paradise. The scary thing is had N. Fox Island in 1964 and was in business until the day Gerald Richards was arrested in July, 1976. That is a 12 year reign! Once again, if Shelden was involved in the OCCK crimes, it would be reasonable to suspect this could have also been going at N. Fox. The Missing Boys of Cass Corridor could have been targeted for this. These kids might not have anyone looking after them, they could be runaways. The most important thing would be that they would be untraceable. Most of the time simply recorded as missing. There is also the matter of Shelden’s time in the Netherlands. Probably much of the same stuff. For another day.
Over the years I have heard from two different people who suspected Wayne State students from the 1970s (some with family in Bloomfield Hills) of potentially being involved in running kids. I call this child hunting, not child “running.” It was more lucrative and less dangerous than drug running during that era.
And I heard from two people last week who reminded me in different ways that even after millions of dollars and much spinning of wheels, it is possible someone who has never been mentioned publicly could have committed or participated in these abductions and murders. In that regard, this is from podcaster Nina Innsted:
On February 18, 1981, 5-year-old Neely Shane Smith was playing with friends at her apartment complex off of Green Oaks Lane in east Charlotte when a man with gray hair picked Neely up and forced her inside his van. For two months authorities searched for any sign of Neely and who might have kidnapped her. Unfortunately on April 11, almost 2 months after her disappearance, farmers spotted human remains in a remote area of Mecklenburg County off of Union Rd, about 15 miles away from her home. The remains were determined to be those of Neely Shane Smith.
In the months that followed, authorities interviewed 30 people and had one person of interest in the case, Fred Coffey. Coffey lived in the same apartment complex as Neely Smith, just one building over, and told investigators that he had seen the girl playing in the courtyard on the day of her disappearance.
Coffey was a suspect in another Charlotte girl’s death, 10-year-old Amanda Ray just 19 months before on July 18, 1979. Like Neely, Amanda was also abducted while playing outside her home on Eastcrest Dr., approximately one block away from where Coffey and Neely Smith both lived. Amanda was found strangled to death near a lake in the Huntersville, NC area. In 1986 warrants were issued for Coffey’s arrest in the abduction and first-degree murder of Amanda Ray and in 1987 he was convicted of those crimes and sentenced to death. He subsequently went to trial two other times, once convicted and sentenced to death, the latter convicted sentenced to life in prison. However, Neely’s case remains unsolved.
In 2004, a witness came forward with new information regarding Neely’s case. The individual stated that they recognized Coffey’s picture in an article regarding the murders of Neely Smith and Amanda Ray. The witness who was a child at the time of Smith’s abduction stated that he was playing with Neely on that day when Fred Coffey pulled up in a white van telling both kids he was sent there to pick them up by their parents. The witness said that Neely got into the van but that they refused. Coffey tried to grab the witness but they were able to get away and run to their grandmother’s apartment, where he was visiting for the weekend.
In 2015 investigators were comparing newly-obtained DNA from Coffey and comparing it to evidence collected when Smith’s body was found. I was unable to find any more recent articles with information regarding DNA evidence in the case or where the case is now.
Coffey is suspected in sexual molestation and slayings of children in multiple states.
Photos: Neely Shane Smith – Black and White Amanda Ray – other two photos Fred Coffey
If you or someone you know has any information in Neely’s case, please reach out to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department at 704-336-2358 or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.
*Information regarding this case was gathered from a WBTV 3 article by John Cominsky, a Washington Post article by Charles W. Hall, a WSOCTV article by Trish Williford, Justice4amanda.tripod.com, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
I would like to see a picture of this guy from the mid-1970s, and I’d like to know where he was living at that time
**To Ashleigh; I can’t open your email so I have not read the contents.
**Here is a link to another podcast about the OCCK case; the writer posted the link as a comment a few days ago. “Hoping to keep bringing attention to this case and other unsolved cases. Victims deserve justice no matter how long it takes.” https://www.spreaker.com/episode/44197735
The podcaster speaks to the lack of morality and humanity in this case and I believe that extends to the Oakland County prosecutor’s office and the Michigan State Police in this case. Podcasts, articles, documentaries, news coverage–doesn’t move LE an inch. They have taken this position–say nothing, hide the ball, since January of 1977. It is so obvious it is literally offensive.
**This is the latest in the press about defrocked priest Gary Berthiaume’s arrest for second degree criminal sexual conduct for assaulting a young boy at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Farmington in 1977.
While the article is dated December 2, 2020, it notes an update as of March 31, 2021. The delay in trying him looks like it may be due to the possibility of other charges being filed against him and of COVID related procedural delays.
Berthiaume posted the $50,000 bond so he could remain free while awaiting trial and, according to the article, he is living in a hotel in Brighton. The judge denied his request to leave Michigan while he awaits trial. Whatever secret settlement(s) the Catholic Church entered into to “compensate” Bethiaume’s victims over the years, it wasn’t enough and I’m sure there are many other victims who never came forward.
A nonpartisan fiscal note to pending Colorado Senate Bill 21-88, which would provide a new avenue for survivors of child sexual abuse to sue abusers and institutions decades later, would require the state to budget up to to $13.7 million in liability payments and legal fees for an estimated 55 child sexual misconduct lawsuits per year. https://coloradonewsline.com/2021/04/02/child-sexual-abuse-lawsuits-could-cost-state-up-to-13-7m-fiscal-analysis-finds/. “That’s just an estimate, since there’s no way of knowing how much sexual misconduct — both reported and unreported — has occurred in the history of publicly managed youth programs in Colorado, how many lawsuits would be filed, or how many of those lawsuits would result in a judgment against the state. But the estimate certainly paints a bleak picture, said Raana Simmons, director of public affairs for the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault.”
An anonymous victim of childhood sexual abuse by a Boy Scout leader testified before the senate committee: “Let me remind the committee that most sexual assault survivors are not going to come forward before the current statute of limitations,” the survivor testified. “They may come forward decades later, and we as a state must provide an avenue for this. … We are complex emotional beings that need time to process our trauma.”
A state is taking responsibility, so the damn Catholic church and the Boy Scouts can shut up and step up. Do the right thing. Maybe if you could keep your priests and scout leaders from raping kids and out them if they do, you could quit having to pay your whores to parse the Constitution for you and further terrorize victims during your secret settlement negotiations.
And here is another sad reminder that sexual abuse of minors by coaches and doctors and the complicit enabliing of institutions such as USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, go hand-in-hand. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/larry-nassar-john-geddert-gymnastics-abuse_n_6064db07c5b6adf599cc8d6c?52. Sarah Klein, one of Dr. Larry Nassar’s first-known victims observed that “[t]he amount of effort from these organizations to continue to hide the truth is mind-blowing.” Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, commenting on the need for an independent investigation of USA Gymnastics said, “We need to know who knew what, when, and how we can stop this from ever happening again.”
So it’s apparently fine to expend money and energy to hide the truth, write a check if caught, and then utterly fail to address systemic corruption. I contend that is exactly where we are in the OCCK case (minus any check, of course). And we also need to know who knew what, when, and how we can stop the failures that allowed child killer(s) free to roam Oakland County long enough for at least four kids to be murdered and for a child sex and porn ring to operate with impunity in that county in the 1970s and beyond. We need to know why NO ONE was prosecuted in Oakland County for child sex crimes and murder during the OCCK era. There was just “Fr.” Gary Berthiaume and he spent only 6 months in Oakland County jail for raping two boys in 1977. That’s it. And then he got moved from diocese to diocese, catholic school to catholic school, where he was quickly back to his old tricks. And now, the AG has to come back in and clean up for some of his other sex crimes against children in Farmington some 45 years later. So you can not only thank the Catholic Church, but also Oakland County for the way they did business. https://catherinebroad.blog/2020/08/16/the-solution-backfired/.
Compare https://www.abc12.com/2021/04/05/flint-man-faces-seven-charges-after-child-pornography-investigation/. Up to seven years for possession, distribution and use of a computer in a child pornography case. Berthiaume got six months in the Oakland County jail in 1977 for raping kids in the very church he served his god in–now he awaits trial while living in a hotel. This time it’s going to be prison, big boy.
“Victims deserve justice no matter how long it takes,” indeed.
April 1 is the start of Child Abuse Prevention Month (as well as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month). Today is “Wear Blue Day” as a way to participate in a national day to highlight child abuse prevention.
According to statistics, 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before they turn 18. https://www.carehouse.org/impact/. I received an email last week from someone I don’t know who pointed out that a serial child murderer and child rapist died recently of brain cancer in prison. https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/29/us/joseph-edward-duncan-iii-dies-death-row/index.html. There are other horrible discussions of this man’s life of depravity and crime online. The person who sent me the information reminded me that “Oakland County is Still a VERY SICK COMMUNITY/COUNTY. Traffickers.” Knowing what I know now, and have tried to convey to officials in Michigan, this is no surprise.
Here is some good news. A bill in Colorado to let survivors of child sexual assault sue their abusers in civil court, with no time limitations, is close to the finish line. A second bill would allow organizations and entities such as school districts or churches that turned a blind eye to the abuse to likewise be sued for civil damages, with no expiration date. The bills would not apply retroactively, but it would affect cases of child sexual misconduct where the victim had not turned 24 by Jan. 1, 2022.
One of the bill’s sponsors explained:
“It feels so powerful to be able to look the survivors who’ve been working on this for so long in the eye and say ‘Look, we believe you,'” said [Rep. Dafna] Michaelson Jenet, who spoke candidly on the House floor about her personal experiences with sexual assault. SB-73 wouldn’t allow sexual assault survivors who’ve been testifying on such legislation for years to sue their abusers, she pointed out, because the statute of limitations has already expired for them. “Truly they were in this to protect the next guy or girl, and it’s been quite a battle,” Michael Jenet said of those survivors. “It’s really painful retelling your story year after year after year. And it’s the honor of my life that I get to work on this bill.”
Of course, the Colorado Catholic Conference and the Boy Scouts oppose the legislation.
Republican Rep. Matt Soper of Delta, Colorado, is one of the sponsors on both bills, partly because one statistic about childhood sexual abuse sticks with him: Victims often don’t disclose the abuse until their 50s. Surprised? Most victims of childhood sexual abuse never report at all. https://www.cc-cac.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/all_statistics_20150619.pdf
This is progress. Start by believing victims and by outing those who turn a blind eye or obstruct justice to protect predators. Money is sometimes the only language some people speak. That’s why the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts pay their lobbyists and attorneys so well. Now they know for sure: It’s gonna cost you.