The bipartisan Homicide Victims’ Families Rights Act (H.R. 3359)

I was consulting the Murder Accountability Project website to try to understand the wide angle view of unsolved child homicides in Southeastern Michigan during the 1970s and 1980s. I found a description of the bipartisan Homicide Victims’ Families Rights Act (H.R. 3359), which establishes a framework for immediate family members of a victim of murder under federal law to request a review of the victim’s case file if the murder was committed more than three years prior, all probative investigative leads have been exhausted, and no likely perpetrator has been identified. http://www.murderdata.org/2020/09/congress-considers-bipartisan-homicide.html 

The bill was introduced in the House in early December 2021, https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3359 (Congress.gov), and does not appear to have been derailed as of today. I set an alert on this legislation and really hope it passes. Although there are no representatives from Michigan who are co-sponsors, the OCCK case is a poster-child case establishing the need for such legislation.

The proposed legislation allows family members to request a fresh review by federal law enforcement personnel who were not involved in the original investigation. The bill directs federal law enforcement agencies “to review the case file” and to conduct “a full reinvestigation” if the review discovers “probative investigative leads.” This is the only way the Michigan State Police can be moved off the dime in this case. The governor’s office won’t touch this case, won’t approach the MSP, because “they have to work with them.” How convenient.

Federal law enforcement agencies should also be considering why “no likely perpetrator has been identified” in the OCCK case and consider the public corruption angle. I believe the Oakland County Prosecutor’s office of LB Patterson was the “head of the serpent” of corruption in this case. Apparently agencies in Michigan expect civilians to serve this up on a silver platter (“These cases are so hard to establish!). A road map of obvious inexplicable and indefensible actions in the OCCK case is insufficient to spur a true investigation. Apparently the motherlode is required and I don’t know how someone without police powers and faced with a battery of public officials and law enforcement sworn to secrecy they will take to the grave is supposed to pull that off.

The magnetization of the moral compass of Oakland County and the MSP was reversed in the OCCK case. There is enough on the record at this point to prompt a legitimate inquiry into public corruption here. At a minimum, if H.R. 3359 becomes law, a federal reinvestigation of the OCCK clusterf*ck might reveal some answers regarding the perpetrators. My guess is they would send every single piece of evidence to a private, third-party forensics lab for the most sophisticated DNA testing possible and consult with a genetic genealogist.

Hopefully for other families’ sake, this legislation will become law. In the egregious OCCK investigation, criminals posing as public officials drafted and then controlled the narrative of this dangerous and tragic time in Oakland County, and a public eager for this all to “go away” ate it up. After all, it wasn’t their kid who got kidnapped and murdered.