How To Solve A Cold Case

AND EVERYTHING ELSE YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT CATCHING KILLERS. A new book by Michael Arntfield, Ph.D. (HarperCollins, 2022).

I got the book last week, interestingly enough, right on the heels of a comment from a reader who spoke about a tip provided very early on in the first OCCK case, the murder of Mark Stebbins. You know, the kind of tips that come in early on and end up being extremely important?

In the summer of 2012, Dr. Arntfield’s Cold Case Society (Western University, Ontario, Canada) issued a report on the OCCK case. This was the summer that then Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper and her Renfield, Paul Walton, were staring at this report as well as the two-part series about this case authored by David Ashenfelter for the Detroit Free Press. It’s when they started pushing the Arch Sloan lead. Hard. They never touched this case again.

In the documents provided earlier this year by the OCP office and posted on my blog, there is an interesting piece of paper. I started to go through the mostly worthless documents provided to look for the document which was a computer search on Dr. Arntfield. The investigator was clearly looking for some “dirt” on him. It’s in those files, with the investigator’s handwriting on it. I gave up looking, disgusted at (1) the bullshit contained in those files–the literal waste of time and money, and (2) the reminder that there is not one significant document in that document dump. No privilege protects those files–neither work product, nor attorney-client privilege for a variety of reasons, most importantly because of the crime/fraud exception to those bases for withholding documents from production. Assuming all documents currently in the possession of that office were provided in accordance with FOIA (and the acknowledgement of the crime/fraud exception), that means documents were destroyed. There is no other explanation.  

As for the search on Arntfield’s background, that reflects Cooper’s office. Don’t address substance, attempt the ad hominem attack.

Dr. Arntfield was interviewed by J. Reuben Appelman in the documentary Children of the Snow (2019) (Episode 2). He explained the Western University report and had some very interesting observations about Chris Busch and company.

Appelman, author of The Kill Jar: Obsession, Descent, and a Hunt for Detroit’s Most Notorious Serial Killer (2018),, again interviewed Arntfield on his podcast, You Know They Know: The Oakland County Child Killer. Many of you have listened before. Listen again.

Here is Appelman’s review of Arntfield’s new book: “Arntfield’s battle cry for disruption in investigative norms is magnificent, galvanizing, and perfectly timed.”

I have not finished the book (getting close), but from what I have read, I agree with this assessment. Although there is only a very passing reference to the OCCK killers, there is much in this book that directly applies to what we have been faced with in this investigation. He describes cold case mismanagement such as has happened in the OCCK case as a breach of the public trust. (How To Solve, page 95.). I have to finish this book and will have more to post in response, especially Arntfield’s observations on the use of DNA evidence.

For now, I am going to watch the January 6 hearing and I hope you do, too.

Child porn at home when he’s not coaching kids in gymnastics

A reader sent me this link this morning about a 30-year-old gymnastics coach in Downers Grove, IL, who was arrested on child porn charges:

Downers Grove is a nice suburb of Chicago. Not as much money or mob-owned restaurants as, say, a Birmingham, but you get the idea. You sign your kid up to do something they really want to try, and this freak is waiting. As the reader wrote me, when she sees an older person with a young person, she no longer sees a heartwarming moment, but a heartWARNING moment.

Hopefully the book gets thrown at this man, who has been working with kids ages 2-17 for a decade.