“Predatory crime does not merely victimize individuals, it impedes and, in the extreme case, even prevents the formation and maintenance of community.”

–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.

Ropes/ligatures on floor of Chris Busch’s closet

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?

28 thoughts on ““Predatory crime does not merely victimize individuals, it impedes and, in the extreme case, even prevents the formation and maintenance of community.””

  1. Cathy, this is top post of yours among many top posts. So clear, cogent and compelling. It is shameful what you, your family and the other victims’ families have had to endure. Thank you for persevering. I believe justice will out.

  2. Bob Kenney

    I wonder if the kid’s clothes and other items like Jill’s bike and backpack and Tim’s skateboard couldn’t be tested for skin DNA among other DNA sources?
    These items were still in existence early on in Cory Williams investigation.

  3. I’m watching the ABC series with Kristin Chenoweth about the Oklahoma Girl Scout murders and I just finished Paul Holes book where he goes into detail about how they apprehended GSK. My take away is, that if there is a will there is a way to solve cold cases. There is grant money, there is the option to look for private funding for more advanced DNA testing. It is maddening to me that the MSP won’t explore these options, I can’t imagine how it is for your family.

  4. I feel and have always felt that Doug Wilson could play more of a role in solving the case. I know he’s been questioned numerous times, but if he can pin point exactly what Tim was wearing , and even to the colors of each of his clothing items. Then he should be able to give an exact description on the suspect. I wonder if he’s seen photos of each of our suspects. Photos of them from 1977 to their current photo. If he can pinpoint this individual, then you can look much deeper into that person. I know DNA would be the best scenario , but in the meantime this guy or the other woman that seen Tim talking to the suspect should be able to pinpoint EXACTLY who that guy is. I just wish something would trigger this guys brain

    1. The thing is, even if Doug Wilson pointed at Hastings or whoever, nobody in LE would actually follow up on it. Cathy, I believe you said a Detective Street or someone in Wayne County is involved, but how much ‘power’ does he have? Can he ask for DNA testing? Could he try to get Doug Wilson re-engaged? I know that Oakland County and MSP are stonewalling, so even if Wayne County cares, does it even matter since OC and MSP seem to hold all the evidence?

      1. Det. Street is with the MSP. I am told (not by the MSP), who despite promising an “update” for my dad and brother in 2019, never pulled that together before my dad died at the end of that year. Not even a phone call. I am told the case has once again been passed to another detective at that agency.

        You are thinking of Inspector James Bivens at the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, who is set to retire any day now.

        Everyone, including the FBI, defers to the MSP and the Oakland County sheriff’s office in this case. It’s “their” case. And you know what that means.

        They cannot have their cake and eat it, too. They want this to be a DNA-only case so they won’t chase down people like Doug Wilson, John Hastings or Georgia polygrapher Steve Duncan. I guess that means holding our breath to see if they will have the DNA tested and then follow through with the detective work required if a match is found.

        Do you trust them to report fully and fairly to the public either way or to investigate the public corruption that has taken place here? So does it matter? No, it does not.

        1. I still question who actually handled Hastings swab data between Georgia and the labs in Michigan? I won’t give any names here but is it the same guy that would later misplace (completely destroy/bury?) the polygraph data, conclusions and related DVDs from that test? Which also kicked Cory off the task force around that same time. Hate to be buried in conspiracy theory here with this case but where in the hell else is there to turn? Until all the data is brought to the table in some honest fashion which will never happen, what the hell do we really want to believe?

    2. … swept under the rug just like everything else with this case.

      1. The misplaced DVD on Hastings polygraph alone has to be questioned as a cover up. How convenient that it was misplaced on its way from Georgia to Michigan. Does Hastings have relatives on the MSP or what? DNA would be nice, but in the meantime we know what Steve Duncan has said . Doug Wilson should be nailed down until long term memory is triggered . I know that sounds harsh or far fetched, but come here. This isn’t some small time misdemeanor case we are dealing with. THIS IS ONE OF OUR NATIONS MOST FAMOUS COLD CASES HERE. The God damn problem is that all the evidence on Hastings is just circumstantial. Doug Wilson could say” ya it was Hastings that was with Tim”. Nothing would or could be done after all these years based on that. However , it’s getting somewhere . You then know there’s NO question at all that it was him. You then hound his relatives to the extent, you look into every aspect of that bastards life.

        1. My understanding was that Cory and Gary already left Georgia in 2009 and were heading back to Michigan when the polygraph tests were conducted so they were not even present. Very likely the polygraph conclusions along with DVDs with data and results were sent to Michigan. The Georgia folks felt it was important to document the results at the time and put on DVDs for people involved with the case to know what happened and when reading some of their conclusions, it becomes evident why! The actual swab they took of Hastings was from a year earlier (2008) where results concluded it did not match what they were testing it for. (Supposedly anyway) . So they already knew this before walking into the polygraph. I would like to know who actually handled the swab contents from Georgia/Hastings to Michigan labs. It might have been sent to MSP office before it reached the labs and very likely was. Because the polygraph data/results became mysterious missing later one must question if the swab test was even legit from earlier. My understanding was that Cory was taken off the task force and didn’t even know about the suspicious polygraph tests during all of this until recently. It all smells fishy and someone from the MSP is not to be trusted. He was observed to be an emotional wreck over Helen Dagner in a very unprofessional matter. He was also known to camp out on her website for hours on end. The conspiracy angle is there just due to the nature of this whole thing. Much of his actions on this case or lack of could probably be traced if anyone was ever really interested. Many of the signs have became evident as more things have surfaced like the missing polygraph contents. The whole Busch side is similar and is connected however I feel the cover up of Hastings is due to personal reasons.

          1. The polygraphs were administered to Hastings in Georgia in October 2009, so some two months later. The paper trail would leave one to believe the DVDs and supporting written reports were in fact sent to the MSP from GA Highway Patrol. When I filed a FOIA request, the petty, vindictive MSP FOIA team took my money and then fucked me, saying after a reasonable search (that I allegedly paid for), nothing could be found that answered my request.

            The outrageousness of this response is two-fold. First, in a case that they have maintained time and again is an active, open investigation, they are losing materials/evidence that are not from 1976-1978, but from 2009. Second, the appearance of impropriety (given Garry Gary’s conduct throughout his tenure (you describe his “issue” with Helen)) and the continuing mistreatment of a victim’s family by the agency and through its FOIA goons is apparent and unchallenged. As I have said many times, the cops “liked” us when we were good little victims, just damaged people they could lie to and manipulate; once we started asking questions and to be treated fairly, it was WWIII.

            The “rejuvenation” of the OCCK task force in 2005 was not in good faith. Next to none of their actions thus far have been, either. They would contact the family members of Mark, Jill and Kristine along the way, but will never stop trying to “punish” Tim’s family for speaking up. Never.

            The treatment of the Hastings information by retired MSP Det. Garry Gray and company at the MSP is probably due to what you describe. However, if you look at the Hastings file from 1992 (Birmingham Police investigation), it is clear that the lead was never extinquished, that they used the old polygraph ploy as a “bottom line” to get rid of the file and did not in fact legitimately extinguish that lead in 1992. I believe that has everything to do with the OCP and the MSP not wanting to wade into the OCCK case with anything potentially serious, especially if it involved a neighbor of Chris Busch and Daddy Warbucks.

            And speaking of polygraphs, it seems to work out well for this agency when they use their own polygraphers and a lab they can control (witness the affidavit retired lab scientist David Metzger signed for OCP Jessica Cooper’s office in 2012). They couldn’t control the GA Highway Patrol polygrapher, so guess what?
            That shit all goes missing once it’s under MSP control. The fox is always guarding the hen house in this case. And the fox in this case does not keep careful records or have a decent filing system.

            1. It seems very strange to me how the original pencil sketch of Mark found at Busch’s murder scene, mysterious disappeared in later years as well from their files. I can’t remember the exact details off hand but you once documented something about it and a log to it being checked out by someone and never returned. That item alone could possibly hold some type of valuable modern day DNA evidence and possibly a connection between Hastings and Busch. Because so much stuff becomes missing and pieces to the puzzle no longer exist, it opens the doors wide open for all types speculation. Can anyone pressure the MSP for public hearings on the status of this still ‘active’ & ‘open’ case? Where’s the tax dollars going on their current OCCK investigation?

              1. I should have used the term modern day forensics instead of DNA. In other words a trace of sort of who possibly is the artist. Partial finger prints or skin cells or some other type of trace that new technology could capture. Things that MSP seems to stay away from ever doing.

                1. And the tape used to affix the drawing to the wall could have been tested for fingerprints even back in the dark ages of 1978/79. The stamp on the envelope of the “Allen” letter could be tested for DNA. And why won’t the MSP ever speak to the press about this case? They control the flow of information. They love them some secrecy. Answer to the tax payers? Never.

              2. I’d say the percentage that Bush and Hastings k owing each other are astronomical. Two streets from each other. Same age . Both cooks. Both society rejects . Maybe brother Michael delivered newspapers to the Busch residence. 80/20 they knew each other

  5. Just gonna ramble a bit here based on the comments…

    The fact that the ropes, drawing, shell (I believe) and basically all pertinent evidence from the Busch crime scene has disappeared is all you need to know there is a huge cover up. If the OCCK task force hadn’t showed up at the scene, I might have thought differently. (And previous polygraphs, etc). But they tied that bastard to the case all along, so they had to get rid of evidence so LBP couldn’t be implicated.

    I wonder if Sweaty Hastings’ DNA has ever been uploaded to the DNA databases to see if he was ever tied to other crimes. If he was in a state other than Michigan, maybe those states could actually get him to talk. I don’t know what it will take to get Michigan to do the right thing with the DNA, so the key would be for people out of state that have a conscience to press him.

    I just keep coming back to the fact that the one thing that seems to affect change is negative publicity. But who could take on this cause? Geraldo or whoever wouldn’t have to bring up Fox Island or anything- they could just make the focus be the malfeasance of the MSP and OC in regards to this case. Something that would force them to ‘clear their name’ by truly investigating. Of course, they will just say that all evidence was destroyed from testing. But I don’t know why they can’t re-poly Hastings.

    1. Of course there was a cover up at the Busch crime scene. It’s virtually impossible for him to be able to shoot him self between the eyes with a rifle. Especially considering how obese he was. There’s no way he could touch his toes. Then to put the cherry on top, he miraculously was able to wrap himself up in his blankets after shooting himself. COME ON!

      Ya know I get so fucking irritated that people MUST look at the suspects to see if they have prior convictions. It’s not necessarily the case. Most of these suspects and from the composites, it states the suspect was in his 20’s or early 30’s. How many people have rap sheets in their 20’s? I say the percentages are quite low. One of the most notorious serial killers never had a criminal record before he decided to kill 100 young woman. So just because Haystack didn’t have a criminal record doesn’t mean there’s no way he could have done it, and just because Arch Sloan molested 100 kids, doesn’t mean he suddenly decided to kill them. Does that make sense? Of course not

      1. I think you’re misunderstanding my point. I don’t care when Hastings may have committed a crime. I’m just saying if he did, maybe LE in that state can actually prosecute him and try to get him to talk about Michigan. (Because Michigan never will).

  6. JN & KP;

    I actually see very good points from both of you and agree as I see it as great discussions.

    For me, I keep going over the same damn thing. I don’t understand how a big case like this and the very strong wording that came thru the FOIA from Duncan on JH knowing Busch and involved with the OCCK murders with absolute certainty can just sit that way. All of these years has passed by with no clarification or even follow thru of any sort. I would think someone in authority that has some balls would go find the truth over this matter from 2009 and get to the bottom of it. It’s a poly that was already conducted where it’s not reaching for the stars like other matters.

    There are people in the know that are still alive for god’s sake but that won’t always be the case!

    1. Inquisitor, I’ve been saying for a while now that the time is ticking . Hastings is in his 70’s and has health issues. It’s almost like that’s what the powers at be are wanting . Wait till the players are all passed. L Brooks no longer has to answer any questions.

  7. I don’t know how the legal system works- can Kym Worthy request a new polygraph for Hastings? Can she order DNA testing for all evidence pertaining to Tim?

    1. I suppose any type of action to getting to the truth would be a step forward however when it comes to polygraphs, I don’t see it as a black and white world. What a polygraph test produces one time may produce different results another time. Surely if it was even possible to polygraph him again, it may produce a different outcome. If so which one is valid?

      I want to know what caused two people from the Georgia board to conclude what they did in 2009 and with so much certainty. Surely something did and I suspect that JH confessed to these crimes at that time. If so, something triggered him to do that on that occasion on the fly.

      At this point in time if MSP was even involved with another polygraph, I wouldn’t trust their results anyway. Way too much bullshit thrown our way already. Need to go get the truth to whomever was responsible for burying it (Mr. Gary Gray?) or the Georgia folks (Duncan and his boss) that produced those conclusions.

      Bottom line is we are looking for records from 2009 on a case that is still active and open. Someone from MSP should be held accountable for this or seek the truth from it.

      1. That’s what I am wondering- can Kym Worthy try to get those answers? The whole polygraph thing is confusing as it only seems to work to exclude people (especially when the results are manipulated/misinterpreted/whatever). Given that Duncan was pretty convinced Hastings was involved somehow, what is the next step usually in a non-corrupt case? I guess I don’t understand why Wayne County can’t force the issue. Going back to my earlier point, can’t they also force DNA tied to Tim to be tested with all the new technology? (Assuming all of that evidence hasn’t been destroyed/vanished). I know we talk a lot about Oakland County and MSP, but can’t someone step up in Wayne County?

        1. Screw another Poly on Hastings of course there’s a possibility that a new poly reading could have a different outcome. It’s been 13 years and his mental state concerning the case maybe more relaxed at this point. There’s a reason why Steve Duncan feels he was involved. I feel Duncan needs to be brought forward and tell why and what he knows about John boy. Since we no longer have the POLY reading , we need to hear it from the direct source. Even Hastings ex “ Sylvia” has said she thought he could be the killer. Why would she think that? What has he done for her to form such an awful perception on a man that she had a child with? Way too many coincidences with this goofy mother fer

          1. KP I misunderstood your post and yes very good questions. JN yes indeed. I wish someone that’s in authority understood this a real serious problem with this case and the complexity of it and can do something about it.

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