–The late Robert D. Keppel, who spent a lifetime chasing and consulting on serial killer cases. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/obituaries/bob-keppel-the-cop-who-spent-his-life-chasing-serial-killers-including-ted-bundy-dies-at-76/. It certainly damages a community, that’s for sure. Especially when there are never any straight answers.
For example, what happens and why aren’t questions asked when evidence goes missing in the most heinous unsolved serial homicide in Michigan? I’ve written a number of times about this pile of ropes found on the floor of Christopher Busch’s walk-in closet at his death/diorama scene.
I’ve shared my views on the sophistry perpetrated by Jessica Cooper, Paul Walton and retired Michigan state lab scientist David Metzger in 2012. https://catherinebroad.blog/2018/05/11/david-metzger-forensic-laboratory-scientist/.
This is how full of shit David Metzger and the MSP are: https://catherinebroad.blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/scan-2018-5-11-05-27-371.pdf. Interesting that Metzger can say in 2012 that there was virtually no evidence to be found on these ropes/ligatures. His lab report says nothing of the kind, indicates no such testing took place. https://catherinebroad.blog/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/david-a.-metzger-january-11-1979.pdf. His report just says no ropes or ligatures were evidence in any of the four child murders, so he had nothing to compare these ropes with. No comparison was apparently even made to photos of marks found Mark Stebbins or Tim King. No one was asking this guy to be so prescient in late 1978 he could foresee the forensic DNA era. He does, however, acknowledge the responsibility of retaining the evidence as part of an ongoing, open serial murder case. “The ropes will be retained in the event future comparison with other possible uses becomes necessary.” Yet the evidence goes missing. https://catherinebroad.blog/2021/01/25/rabbit-holes-and-diversions/. In his affidavit, Metzger recalls vividly in 2012 that which he can no longer review or retest. That is pretty convenient. Maybe the ropes were just “window dressing” and none of these ropes were used on any murder victims. But we can never know now.
And let’s not forget that these ropes were only part of the “suicide scene” that screamed child killer. For example, https://serialkillers.briancombs.net/2851/photos-from-oakland-county-child-killer-suspects-suicide-scene/nggallery/page/1. Whether Busch was involved or a patsy, not one word of this bizarre set of circumstances was ever made public in the largest unsolved serial murder case in the country at that time. In a situation where the deceased 27-year-old man lived in Oakland County and had a criminal record for molesting boys, including three arrests in a five-day stretch, the last being 12 days before Tim King was abducted while this man was out on bond. Not a word; just a dirty little secret between law enforcement and a wealthy family eager to cremate their child-raping son and all of his bodily fluids and hair within 48 hours. Even decades later, the OCP and the MSP have managed to keep what should have been a Category 6 media shitstorm watered down to near meaninglessness. Do you really think if this scene had taken place in the Cass Corridor in 1978, at the apartment of a pedophile from Detroit, nothing would have been said to the public/press?
I am not implying that Metzger ditched those ropes. He did not even draft that ridiculous affidavit Paul Walton got him to sign in 2012 as Jessica Cooper’s reelection campaign was heating up. We don’t know who destroyed those ropes or when.
Was it in 2002 after the U.S. Department of Justice issued a special report, “Using DNA to Solve Cold Cases”? https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/nij/194197.pdf (See pages 32 and 33, “[T]he skin cells shed on the ligature of a strangled child may hold the key to solving a crime.” Conversely, the skin cells of a child could have been found on those ropes in Busch’s bedroom.)
Or in September 2002, when the Michigan State Police received a $1.4 million federal grant to help evaluate and process old murder and rape cases (and of course did not circle back to the OCCK case)?
Surely it was before January 2004, when a state representative announced he would fight for an additional $400,000 annually to help the MSP reduce its “burgeoning backlog” of cases needing DNA analysis.
And it was no doubt before this October 2004 article, the ultimate in irony, describing a “unique partnership between the Michigan State Police and General Motors Corp.,” “making it possible to more quickly track killers, rapists and other criminals through DNA evidence.”
Maybe they went missing during the clusterfuck that was the exhumation of David Norberg in Recluse, Wyoming in August 1999. You know, the exhumation based on shaky evidence and a tall-tale telling affidavit, where we get the updated company line that there is but one piece of physical evidence–one hair only! Found on Tim King! https://catherinebroad.blog/2013/04/12/. The exhumation that was supposed to show the OCP (Patterson was not even prosecutor then, but county executive, and he went along for the ride) and the MSP were all over this new DNA stuff.
Perhaps it was a few months after that, when The Detroit News published an article about Robert Keppel’s Homicide Investigation Tracking System (HITS). Keppel, who was the nation’s foremost authority on tracking down serial killers, including Ted Bundy, explained that he believed “investigators considered early on the true Oakland County Child Killer and dismissed him.” He explained that “[o]ne of the features of any serial murder investigation is that police should go back over the earliest suspects they had. More times than not, the murder’s name comes before the police very early in the investigation.” (The Detroit News, October 1, 1999, 1D.).
Or maybe it was in 1992 when Birmingham Police were investigating that pesky John Hastings, same age as Busch, who lived around the corner from him in Bloomfield Village. They couldn’t shut that damn Helen woman up, but they could certainly make sure none of this Busch shit bubbled to the surface while they were busy making Hastings go away.
Finally, I was reminded this week of some hearsay that was floating around some 15 years ago concerning the rest of the evidence in this case. The person I consulted could not remember if it appeared in some forum like Topix or if it came from someone on the inside. It was as follows, and admittedly it is only hearsay (because who the hell on the inside, who knew this for certain, would ever come clean in this case?): That the actual evidence in the OCCK case had been used over the years in MSP Post trainings. Why would that ever happen? Only if they knew who the killer(s) were and that they were “taken care of,” or if they had no intention of solving these cases.
Why, in the most heinous unsolved serial murder case of children would law enforcement not maintain the integrity of the evidence from beginning to end? Would this not be a solemn obligation to the murder victims? Maybe you can construct an explanation for all of the above, one that no doubt tends toward the poor, overworked, inexperienced police and the difficulty of evidence retention. Such an explanation certainly feels better, doesn’t it?