A reader asked yesterday about Episode 6 of You Know They Know, The Oakland County Child Killer, by J. Reuben Appelman (, specifically about the 1992 conversation between a man who had been friends with my brother Tim and a retired detective and whether there had been any follow up on this.

I responded as follows:


March 21, 2022 at 6:39 pm (Edit)

Hi Eric, your observations made me reread notes I have concerning Episode 6 of You Know They Know, by J. Reuben Appelman. I also reread the portion of Marney Keenan’s book about Cory Williams informing Jack Kalbfleisch about Tim Nummer identifying Jack’s photo as the cop who spoke with him at Somerset Mall about Tim’s case.

Jack is basically a good human, has spoken with Marney Keenan after her book was published, but it seems he will never explain the true extent of what he knows or suspects about the Busch “suicide”/coverup. No straight answers on this. He has never given up on this case and maybe he just believes Busch was a pedophile who got murdered but was not the OCCK. After all, every honest, hardworking cop got that line of Busch and Greene passed the polygraph, they’re in the clear, move on!! It still doesn’t explain any version of what he said to Tim Nummer.

Although I do not put him in the same category as Patterson, Thompson, Robertson or Krease–or a few other cops from that era that I now consider dirty, I can tell you that when my family learned it was Jack who spoke with Tim Nummer, we were all more than deeply disappointed and felt betrayed. I remember thinking “I give up.” I will tell you that from the beginning, the part of Tim Nummer’s recollection where he understood this was not something the families ever wanted raised and were “ok with it,” was chilling to me, my brothers and my dad. Pretty good way to keep someone who doesn’t want to hurt his dead friend’s family quiet, don’t you think? Who would make that shit up?! Parts of it don’t make sense, but this is the OCCK case where that is the norm.

But you know how this stuff works, especially decades later–the cop is believed and the civilian is thrown under the bus. We’ve seen it time and again. If the police don’t like the “story,” they bury the messenger. Tim Nummer was just mistaken. Alpena Witness was mistaken. And why did both of you wait so long to come forward?! The witness to Kristine’s abduction was a child, and two cops from Berkley PD told him to shut his pie hole and then tormented him FOR YEARS, punishing him for coming forward. For my money, I’d trust a kid who had no reason to lie before I would trust a cop.

So we will never get a straight answer here, Eric. I think it is a combination of ego, the “Blue Code,” and just plain fucking up.

A few people have been generous and kind enough to help me with these types of questions. I’m telling you, the level of stonewalling, gaslighting and bullshit is soul-crushing. Someone who is wiser than I helped me parse the issue of a cop telling A FRIEND OF TIM’S some version of the case had been “handled” years before and that the families knew and were ok with it because they just wanted to move on with their lives.

I think that analysis provided to me on this issue is very sound and I am going to post it tonight. It’s as close as I’m going to understand how this shit went down. Readers can make up their own minds.

Thank you for your kind words.


Here is the analysis I think is as close as you can get to evaluating the exchange the reader asked about and related issues:

MSP collaborates with Identifiers International and genetic genealogists, GED match and Family Tree DNA to solve 35-year-old cold case.

Demonstrating that in cases other than the OCCK case, the Michigan State Police Lab is capable of collaboration with more cutting edge DNA and genetic genealogy labs and companies, the MSP was able to identify and arrest a suspect in a 35-year-old murder case.

The MSP collaborated with Identifinders International LLC, and had genealogists use genome sequencing and uploaded it to public databases to construct a family tree and then hone in on the suspect in this case. The 67-year-old suspect pleaded no contest to the 1987 murder of Roxanne Leigh Wood and faces a minimum 23-year sentence.

The MSP needs to step up to the plate in the OCCK case, for once. Because your evidence retention methods were indefensibly lame in this case (for reasons I could write about at length) and the evidence may have even been used in your training of recruits over the decades (we’ll never need it! The killer is long dead, forgetaboutit), you will have to consult with Othram Labs ( or a similar laboratory to try to obtain DNA evidence. Then it’s the next steps–genome sequencing, establishing a family tree, and solid detective work to put those pieces together with your incredibly large, but apparently virtually unusable, database. You did it in Mrs. Wood’s case and you can do it in the OCCK case.

You did it for victim Roxanne Leigh Wood, but you won’t do it for four pre-teen victims of a serial killer, Mark Stebbins, Jill Robinson, Kristine Mihelich and Tim King.

You need to make this right or you may need to stop sending out press releases about your big “scores” in other very old cold cases where you are using the technologies law enforcement agencies around the world are using every day to solve crimes, and continue to fail the OCCK victims.

How much more obvious can this get?!

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