Yesterday morning, Michael Stebbins passed away. In February of this year, Michael commented on the 45th anniversary of the murder of his younger brother Mark:
As Marney Keenan told me, Mike was “as sweet as could be until the end.” She put it really well: “He got dealt a horrible deal in life, but he never pretended otherwise. He never played the victim card and he had a huge heart.”
A friend pointed out to me: “Thank goodness for Marney; she feels all of the pain and frustration of the victims’ families. We cannot undo what happened to the children, but telling the truth can stop the prolonged, unnecessary pain of living in doubt, knowing of the deceit, for the survivors. All of the a**hole complicit enablers go home to their families every night with pretty much intact lives, while the rest of the families live with a gaping whole of brokenness that is a lot larger because of the deceit. All it takes is for the system to start with the known suspects who had a history of violence against children, well before these four children became their targets.”
My friend also pointed out that every passing family member is like losing a link to the solidarity of wanting truth and justice. It is not hard to imagine the mental havoc this takes on a person’s health.
As Marney said: “I believe he is with Mark and his mom now and that’s right where he’s meant to be for a long time.”
Bless you, Mike.
18 thoughts on “Mike Stebbins”
It’s hard to watch each one pass without knowing the truth of what happened to their loved one. I appreciate you and your father for your relentless pursuit. I was sorry to see your mom & dad’s passing while the truth is still out there, along with Mark’s mother and now Michael. In the wake of this tragedy, and my own near miss, I’ve watched this gut-wrenching mess closely without much comment, because you and Marney Keenan are doing so much more than I ever could. Please, keep up the good fight. Their faces, and the faces of their grieving families, are ever near the forefront of my waking life. With that said, I do hope that you find pockets of peace to enjoy, and are practicing good self-care in the midst of your unrelenting quest. God bless you, Catherine 🙏🏼
Very sad, he had been through so much but he was always kind and willing to speak to the media. May he Rest In Peace.
May he rest in peace.
May they all be resting in Peace, and in the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. The solidarity will continue with your extended family who lived through that time as a child. Those of us who were lucky enough to escape the evil of those men, yet the memory of that time and the grief for the families who lost their child, brother, sister, grandchild, is forever carved in our hearts. Thank you for never giving up.
Sorry to hear of Mike’s passing. Although I didn’t know him personally, i believe each of us is connected by what happened 45 years ago. We must keep this story in the forefront, as a way to honor those that no longer can. Thank you for your perseverance in seeking the truth. Hopefully someday this tragic story will have a conclusion.
May his memory be a blessing to all who are working for justice and accountability in this case.
Over the years of my investigation I became friends with Mike. We would text or talk on the phone mainly, but every month or so I would stop by and share a cold beer or two with Mike and see if he needed anything. We would of course talk about the case and his brother Mark, but mainly we would share a few laughs. It was great to see him smiling! I was always impressed how he maintained such a positive attitude outwardly, knowing he was struggling inside. I wish I could have closed the case for you Mike!! God Bless you!! Rest in peace my man!!!
I think it’s wonderful that you can share your memories of Mike. Your close contact with Mike along with Cathy makes you a super cop in my book. That alone separates you from all the others that have ever investigated this case along with your dedication.
Rest In Peace Michael. I have always felt the key to this case lies with someone who was at the legion hall that day or was associated with someone at the hall and knew or saw Mark leaving that afternoon. Someone who perhaps had been there before and had seen a pattern and knew the Mother worked there and sometimes allowed her dons to go
home alone – had his eye on Mark and had seen him leave early , without his Mother in the past. It was just too random a chance and in broad daylight, the perpetrator would have had no cover and would have had to get him in the car quickly. Did the police question and account for every person who was at the legion hall that night? We know from Marney’s book that one man was questioned regarding hair or fiber on his cooler ( amd whom Michael called ‘a scary dude’ ) but why was that dismissed?
I agree that whoever kidnapped Mark must have been in the American Legion Hall that afternoon. I argued long ago that a violent struggle/kidnapping could not have taken place on the streets of Ferndale on a Sunday afternoon, in view of any and all passersby. To walk home to his house on Saratoga, Mark would have passed in front of (or very near) both the Ferndale Fire Station on Livernois and/or the back of the Ferndale Police Dept. on Troy. Troy backed up to Mark’s home on Saratoga – so close that Mark could have thrown a snowball from his backyard and hit any passing police car on Troy.
Any real investigation of Mark’s ordeal would have started with a list of the people at the AFL hall, plus questioning any potential witnesses along those streets, especially the TWO public safety agencies along his route!
Since (as far as we know) nobody saw anything, then the abduction almost certainly happened in the little parking lot on the west side of the AFL hall.
And that means the kidnappers were lying in wait for Mark, Either they had been in the hall itself, or were tipped off by someone inside.
Although I never met the Stebbins family, I am feeling so many emotions because of reading this. Sadness and Anger, that this small family had the course of their lives forever changed and defined by this horrible crime. All because of pedophiles with money and power who wanted to indulge their sick desires and the fact that the people we rely on to save and protect us were hindered in their efforts to do that by their superiors, to “save face”, protect their own, avoid lawsuits or whatever other reasons they felt were “justified”. The family deserved so much better. Ruth was a single mother, working to provide for her sons. Mark was simply riding his bike to his house when he was snatched from their life. Michael and Ruth lived the rest of their days with the unexplained loss hanging over them. Just as the families of the other victims have. They ALL deserve better! I also feel Happiness that Ruth and Michael are finally reunited with Mark and can enjoy eternal life together now. I personally believe they are all in a much better place. I earnestly pray that someone with the power or information to solve this case will break their silence and come forward. Clear your conscience from the weight of that knowledge and DO THE RIGHT THING! It will be worth it to you in the end. Thank you Cathy, Corey, Marney and all the others that have worked so hard to get answers for the kids and for all of us whose lives were forever changed by what they suffered. I keep watching for the breakthrough to come through and pray it will be soon.
Prayers that they are together and at peace (Stebbins family)
RIP Dear kind soul! You did your brother proud. ✝️🙏🏻
Cathy so sorry to hear this. He was such a large part of all of you surviving siblings. You guys are the “forgotten victims”. Everyday, every birthday, holiday, etc had a small black cloud over it. Your parents, all the parent s struggle to survive is just heartbreaking. I often think about you siblings and their poor classmates who were forced to sit next to an empty desk with zero counseling offered back then. Again, I admire you for fighting the good fight and not backing down. Take care of yourself.
May you find eternal comfort being with your brother and mom.
A sad day.
Rest your soul after such a hard fight, but be at peace to see Mark again, and be with your family what a reunion in Heaven. God bless!
Very sad to hear of his passing. I hope he is at peace.
His bless and keep you Mike. So sad to hear of your passing.
Donna Tose Wilson
Ferndale High class of 78
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