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. https://catherinebroad.blog/2019/11/05/investigative-report-the-oakland-county-child-killer-case-issued-june-2012-the-cold-case-investigative-society-the-university-of-western-ontario/. 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. https://catherinebroad.blog/2022/03/29/where-things-stand/. 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). https://www.hulu.com/series/children-of-the-snow-e5670464-7adc-4907-80c1-9f38ce17ee82. 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), https://www.amazon.com/Kill-Jar-Obsession-Detroits-Notorious/dp/1507204027, 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.
21 thoughts on “How To Solve A Cold Case”
I was informed recently that James “Vince” Gunnels once again violated his probation in Kalamazoo and is now living in the woods. Apparently the probation officials are leaving him alone out there.
In addition, Arch Sloan came up for parole and turned it down. He wanted to stay in prison.
Two guys with a lot to hide & a lot of weight on their shoulders…!!!
The state is probably providing free lodging in the woods for Gunnels so they can pretend he is impossible to find and they can continue to ignore his existence…
Sloan must be loving the security of prison and not having to worry about food, health care, being suicided, etc.
Does Arch truly have weight on his shoulders or is he just afraid for his own safety if released? I doubt that monster can feel guilt, I bet he would go out and attack again if given an opportunity. Gunnels, I think is just a mess. Maybe he is running for his own safety too, who knows. Maybe Arch can convince him that jail is better than being on the outside…
When I was 9 years old and living in Ferndale during this time, I never ever ever ever ever would have believed that a cover up was going on or that LBP wouldn’t give anything to find this killer. I didn’t understand the influence of money or power back then, I just knew right and wrong. Ugh.
You are so right.
It is mind boggling to the lengths that past & present law enforcement go to to keep this case “unsolved.” Ya know Dave Robertson is clearly not the sharpest tool in the shed & it is clear his motive is to protect his Daddy & his legacy at the MSP. I still wonder what Garry Gray’s trip is! He claims to be a Christian and yet it was his daughter who reminded him of his promise to KM’s Mom that he’d do what he could to solve the case and yet he is one of the biggest stone wallers/obstacles and liars out there involved in it. Other than being a total dick head, I just never understood his motive for not wanting it solved and to continue being an obstructionist.
From How To Solve a Cold Case (2022), by criminologist Dr. Michael Arntfield: “On some occasions, a task force is created after money has been ponied up by the government and is sometimes populated by police brass with unproductive burnouts and malcontents.” (p. 28). Often, “the lack of a significant ongoing investigation is simply a matter of indolence, incompetence, and insensitivity.” (p. 34). “Too often, cold case task forces were little more than sinecure sunset gigs for those who ended up there. Rather than making the most of the gift they’d been given, many of these investigators merely marked time without doing much in the way of engaged investigation.” (p. 40).
“Some departments have very solvable cold cases that are routinely recycled through a revolving door of ladder-climbers and amoral careerists as a type of initiation test–a bizarre audition of sorts for promotion to the highest ranks. Aspirational careerists are assigned the case by other careerists in corner offices to see what they will do with it. The objective for all is not to solve the case, but to service it. It’s what might be called an experimental integrity case. But it has zero to do with integrity.” (p. 47).
Garry Gray fell in to the former of those categories (sinecure sunset gig). He (along with others outside that agency) treated our family like shit. Well beyond the “tension” described in Arntfield’s book between grieving families and cold case investigators in more typical cases.
Early on, when my dad and brother asked about what could be done in my brother’s case (and this was before the Wasser information!!), Gray responded that they should cool it, because he was on the OBD program. As in, one bad day at this assignment and he was out of there. As reported in Marney Keenan’s book, The Snow Killings, in response to Cory Williams telling Gray that the “Kings were smart” and that it was important to communicate with us, Gray responded that we couldn’t be smart because (my dad and I) were attorneys. Hahaha, Garry. I’m willing to bet my IQ is higher than your and Robertson’s IQs put together.
Later when the MSP had to again ensure that there was “no success” in this case, Gray happily continued his damaging negligence and incompetence in this case. I believe he was consistently motivated by trying to punish my family for going to the only competent investigator on the case, Cory Williams. The guy had no hustle, the intellectual curiosity of a sand flea, and an ego the size of an elephant. And the end of the day, he was shitty to us because he could be. A remnant from pulling over people and fucking with them, perhaps. As for being a Christian–whatever. Seen plenty of those who don’t have any integrity whatsoever. The worst.
His obstruction was probably a combination of road cop ego and later stonewalling based on fear of success/revelation by someone high up the chain of command or from an outside agency. At the end of his tenure, he had done nothing for the four little kids whose memories are bound up in the MSP file cabinets. Actually, worse than nothing. If the MSP and the OCP didn’t want these cases solved in the face of Wayne County and Livonia picking up the baton, the MSP couldn’t have picked a better team than that of Gray and Robertson.
And let’s not forget that the one and only thing Gray and Robertson were really good at was vindictiveness. That’s why, when the MSP responded to my dad’s FOIA request for information about Busch, Greene and Hastings, that they included the crime scene photos showing my brother’s dead body dumped on Gill Road. Motherfuckers redacted the “suicide” photos of Busch, but tossed those cruel photos of my brother’s dead body in their FOIA response. My dad didn’t ask for any autopsy files and didn’t need to see those photos. You are going to your Christian Hell for that one, Christian boys.
Why would they leave Gunnels in the woods? Is it because they do not want him to “talk”?
Is there no way to press Arch “I love the safety of prison” Sloan. . . or no one?
All too telling that Arch would rather stay in prison. Amnesia Gunnels I feel is week minded enough to where I feel with the right approach could bring back some of his long term memory. Sloan is a dead end. Obviously Haystack is still out in public. I’m hoping that the DNA that’s been found can get somewhere through Nuclear DNA. Mind boggling no witnesses have same forward in all these years. Two people at Tim’s location and two people at Kristines.
The problem with all of this is that we have no idea what were the details taken out of Haystack’s poly. It could be absolutely nothing as some suspect or so much more.
Maybe he just admitted that he knew Busch finally? (Stated in docs) Maybe he hinted of being involved someway with the murders? (Which was also stated in the docs) Maybe he even talked about others that were involved but unrecognized at the time? (Possibly?)
The only thing we know for sure is that there was no one present from Michigan during the poly test. No one there that may have recognized something important stated and possibly revealed. All we have is some FOIA docs that are heavily redacted during a rush to release them to the Kings and DVDs related to the poly that were removed and never to be seen by anyone.
They don’t even write fiction books like this because they are too far fetch for anyone to ever believe!
A lot of maybes there; however, we KNOW for a fact that yrself and Helen heard John boy admit to killing those kids. We know that YOU seen the perfectly drawn maps from him. Either 1: he’s an insane lying wack job 2: he’s a sociopath killer. Either one puts him in a minimum mental health facility. What kind of freak would tell that and lie about it?
The conversation they had in front of me was very weird. I will never forget it although I’ve tried many times.
However what is also just as difficult to convey to everyone was my experience talking to Gary Gray over this matter on the phone. There is something very difficult to describe but I felt his motivation was never really to solve the OCCK case. He was very emotional about Helen and didn’t like the idea that I supported her in any form. Impressions were almost childish in a way and not like a normal cop would have. Others (OCCK victims) have also expressed a weirdness also about him like all he wanted to do was retire and did not like anything making him look bad getting in the way on his way out.
So yes, the hiding of Haystack’s polygraph (DVDs & print) and the removal of Cory from ever finding the truth after the Georgia trip makes so much sense now although I had no idea these things took place at the time. I also have these strong impressions that it’s not just the nature of the King family being smart and trying to solve the case on their own as described above by Cathy but the element of Helen sets in on that as well.
For example, the King family never asked for Helen nor Haystacks information but just Busch related material in their FOIA request but still there was volumes of it in the FOIA papers and it’s my understanding that all the Helen stuff were the very front of ALL the FOIA papers. (Numbering wise and placement) If this is true – Why?
In fact the most embarrassing and insulting stuff related to Helen was in the very front and was shown on TV news before anything else when Mr. King first received the binders of papers. (Helen relationship with Ray Skiba and silliness of it all was shown right on TV news)
It was never even concluded that Haystack and Busch were even related in any way but these FOIA docs seem to indicate it. I think the message was to make the Helen stuff look silly and it was put in front of everything else because Gary Gray did not like the communication going on between Cathy and Helen period and wanted to make a point of it.
I don’t think he had any idea though about the stuff left in print behind (never caught with redaction) that puts Haystack right on Busch’s lab with the polygraph! Someone needs to wake up! I hate to sound like a broken record but I wish I could get thru to someone on these matters.
Cathy, if I’m wrong with anything I state above, please correct me.
typo – Busch’s lap
No corrections needed, I. You got it. And yes, it went well beyond their “issues” with my family. These guys deal with criminals and the worst of the worst, and they are going to treat people like you and like my family like shit? WTF?
Do Ray Anger & Jim Cox have an alibi for the day Kristine was taken? I mean it’s OK if your alibi was that you were busy terrorizing kids in Berkley or were at a gay bar . We should make sure anybody who messed with this case cough up a alibi for all4 kids.
And Jim Cox if your monitoring this site ,and you want to call me. I’ll get right back to you as soon as I can , I still have your number from the last 3× you called me. And while your at it please send a picture of your younger self .I was unable to get one from the historical museum ,you must not have done anything to distinguish yourself enough for the local paper.
Probably not, Danielle, because it involves reading. However, my experience is that there is no one more dangerous than a dirty cop or ex-cop. If he does call again, I have at least two reporters who would like to speak with him. Ask him if he will take a polygraph in the OCCK case.
First ,thank you for your concern about my safety. Jim Cox sounds like the cochroach man from men in Black ,you can barely understand him .I sent you some emails directly with his phone # and some other stuff.I say he’ll yah! Let’s ask him !fuck that old man .All I gotta say is ,he better have fresh batteries in his life alert bracelet if wants to give me trouble.
Tip #3 in the Kristine Mihelich case is from Mrs. Betty Webber who saw a camper in the parking lot of the store Kristine went into. She also saw a white male, early 30’s, with black hair, and a neat moustache. She said “The subject was dressed in policeman blue pants with a matching ¾ length coat.”
I don’t want to muddle things up, but I do have a few questions I haven’t been able to find answers to, or at least not consistently ones: Does this person match the description of Officer Cox? Did “Sebastian” know Officer Cox at the time and was therefore able to identify him as the cop whose car Kristine went into?
Just wondering. Grateful for any clarification.
Your not muddling anything ,what we know now that we didn’t know then .Like cops are people too,and we have every fucking right to ask ? When shit isn’t adding up. Why with two kids already abducted ,did a rookie take the report on Kristine?
The camper sighting is so eerie because Arch Sloan owned two of them.
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