“He was an overly strict father and kept his wife a virtual social prisoner in their home. . . . [H]e felt that McKinney hated children as he was a harsh disciplinarian and was a homosexual person.”

George Landino, an art teacher at Birmingham Groves High School who at one point worked for McKinney for about three years, told police McKinney “had a bit of anger a bit of a temper, which most people didn’t know about.” Landino indicated he had suspicions about McKinney’s sexuality (no surprise, as others had told police McKinney admitted to having an affair with another male teacher at Groves, FOIA 120, 198). Landino told police McKinney had a personality conflict with a male artist who had been Landino’s student and that McKinney had marital troubles. FOIA 278-82.

Landino begins his September 21, 1977, interview with Det. Richard Chambers by saying, “Okay, I will speak freely.” FOIA 278. Apparently not freely enough. On September 22, Dr. Bruce Danto sent Birmingham Police a letter, explaining that Landino contacted him after speaking with Det. Chambers because Landino would prefer to explain to Danto his suspicions about “a possible connection with the Oakland County child abduction murder cases.” FOIA 827, 828. The letter is found near the end of the stack of nearly 900 documents.

Here is a photo of the letter, which I have posted before:

And if there is any doubt that the person referred to is George Landino, the Daily Case Progress Summary & Index, entry no. 3, describes Dr. Danto’s letter “ref George Landino”:

This letter contains some massively fucked up shit and huge red flags. While Danto indicates he referred Landino to Jerry Tobias (OCCK task force member) and “[i]t was left that Tobias would contact” Landino, there is no indication in these files that the letter was ever followed-up on, that Landino was ever interviewed again, that the information was passed on to the OCCK task force, or that Tobias got back with Birmingham PD.

Pages referred to above:

11 responses to ““He was an overly strict father and kept his wife a virtual social prisoner in their home. . . . [H]e felt that McKinney hated children as he was a harsh disciplinarian and was a homosexual person.””

  1. Well, I think it’s pretty clear that whoever actually wrote the bizarre 1980 “novel”, “The Oakland County Child Killer” must have used Danto’s suspicions about McKinney to create characters. (Assuming that Danto himself was not the author, which he may well have been.)

    Also, thanks Cathy for clearing up the name dropped by witness Freda. While it is easy to find information on John Blanchard of MLB online, how did his son, John Jr., fit into this?

    I guess I’ll plow through the rest of documents and try to find out.

    • It was the name–John(ny) Blanchard that was said on t.v., not sure there was any relation aside from the name itself. The Blanchard who knew McKinney was probably completely unrelated to the ballplayer, but it was the coincidence of that name being heard during her ask session with the deceased. John Blanchard’s name is mentioned in the McKinney file as being one of the few people who John would have had upstairs in the gallery on a Monday to drink wine. His name is redacted most of the time.

    • I think this guy is John D. Blanchard III, age 77. Another name mentioned regarding the McKinney “circle,” but not appearing in the FOIA documents is Blair B. Ramseyer, also 77, also of B’ham. I think all friends.

      • Cathy,
        I am thinking this may be John W. Blanchard. Below is a July 8, 1980 death notice from the Royal Oak Tribune. Actual death would have been July 7, 1980. John D. Blanchard appears to be his son.

        Memorial services for John W Blanchard. age 73. former Cranbrook Educational Community’ trustee and governor of the Cranbrook Academy of Art Board of Directors, will be at 1 p.m. Thursday, at Christ Church Cranbrook. Bloomfield Hills.
        A Bloomfield Hills resident, Mr. Blanchard died Monday in Henry Ford Hospital. Detroit. He was chairman of the Board of Banner Linen Service, Detroit. He received a bachelor of arts degree and a law degree from the University of Michigan
        Surviving are his wife. Isabell; daughters. Mrs Sally Cadigan, Danbury. Conn., and Mrs. Betsy Syrett, Ledllia. N J.; a son. John D., Southfield, two sisters; and seven grandchildren. The family suggests memorials to the Cranbrook Academy of Art Scholarship Fund.

          • OK, I have caught up a bit in my reading. I saw where Blanchard was the office manager at Banner Linen Company, and it was owned by his parents. It had to be John D. Blanchard. Too many redactions may have confused me, and I finally came to a document with less redactions.

            Still, yet another connection to Cranbrook again (through his father).

            Banner Linen Company is another rabbit hole. The registered address is 2233 Brooklyn Detroit MI 48201. I saw some ads where Banner Linen Company was looking for a delivery driver. Made me think of the “Allen letter” discussing how the killer used a clothes hamper to hide and transport the children. Just a thought.

  2. Wasn’t there a Charles Blanchard ( detroit cop ) turned in as a suspect to the tip line ? Supposedly related to the former governor Blanchard?

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