All over the country, even in Western Michigan, https://catherinebroad.blog/2022/03/21/msp-collaborates-with-identifiers-international-and-genetic-genealogists-ged-match-and-family-tree-dna-to-solve-35-year-old-cold-case/, law enforcement is collaborating and thinking outside of the box to solve decades-old murder cases.
Oakland Country has quite the list of unsolved homicides:
- Mark Stebbins (February 1976)
- Jane Allen (August 1976, her body found in Miamisburg, OH)
- Jill Robinson (December 1976)
- Kristine Mihelich (January 1977)
- Tim King (March 1977)
- Carson McDowell (August 1977)
- John McKinney (September 1977)
- Gail Webster (October 1978)
I’m sure there are others. There are also three suspicious suicides that stand out during this time period, but a suicide designation means neither the cops nor the press were going to dig very deep:
- Richard Hojnacki (March 1977)
- Berkley cop Chris Flynn (November 1978)
- OCCK suspect Chris Busch (November 1978)
It is truly hard to believe that then Oakland County prosecutor L. Brooks Patterson was busily focused on a U.S. Senate campaign during this time period with such a lousy track record as the county’s “Top Cop.” While he certainly would have fit in well with the current U.S. Senate, Michigan voters of that era were apparently not impressed by his obvious limited societal focus (anti-busing, welfare fraud, monied constituents always come first).
Cases like that of the murder of Stacey Lyn Chahorski demonstrate that where there is a will, there is a way to solve cold cases after leads are long exhausted, even in cases where the evidence is degraded and funds are scarce.
A genealogist who has been advising me said that the following question puts the focus where it should be–on what has/has not been done in the OCCK (and other) cases:
“HAVE YOU COMPILED A LIST OF LIVING RELATIVES FOR EACH OF THE SAMPLES THAT WERE TAKEN FROM THE CRIME SCENES?”
If, after using the most advanced techniques on degraded, improperly stored evidence, no actionable DNA can be recovered adequate for genetic genealogy review, an agency owes the public answers as to why this this the case and how they will commit not to repeat the errors of their predecessors.