A partial look at the FBI file on Francis Duffield Shelden

Today the FBI responded out of the blue to a FOIA request filed some two years ago by author Marney Keenan on Francis (Frank) Duffield Shelden of N. Fox Island “fame.” I know, right? That waterlogged, missing-in-action file that was given up as a goner floated to the surface. Well at least 367 heavily redacted pages of the 506 pages the FBI reviewed did.

Marney agreed that it is important to get eyes on these documents to help decipher them and illuminate in some sense for the victims of Shelden (and Dyer Grossman) what kind of investigation took place as these two criminals fled justice and left so much hurt and agony in their wake.

Here is the response with explanation of exemptions dated 11-30-22 and sent via email today:

The pages were provided in three segments. As I said, they are heavily redacted. As we all know, the other criminal whose name is redacted (the guy must still be alive) is Dyer Grossman. We know this because of the MSP FOIA response of many years ago concerning Fox Island, as well as by the press clippings included in this FBI file which mention Grossman as the other wanted fugitive.

I will be comparing the information in the MSP FOIA response which contains far fewer documents but is less heavily redacted (you know, how they left some victim names but redacted the names of Better Life Monthly patrons/subscribers–described as a bank president, a juvenile court officer, and a principal?).

Please comment here, rather than emailing me. It will help other readers. I read every email but I literally can no longer acknowledge or respond to every email. If you must email me rather than post here, please use the encrypted email at OCCKtruth@protonmail.com and not my yahoo account. Some of you will have especially valuable insights. Please share them in the comment section.

30 thoughts on “A partial look at the FBI file on Francis Duffield Shelden”

  1. Excellent that Marney and you have shared this. Disgraceful how empty and repetitious it is, although some small details can be found. I spent hours searching it all today – thanks.
    It’s as if the mission of FOIA and FBI is to ensure that no one can know anything.

    isn’t that the dna of this case? cover up?

  2. As a victim of Frank Shelden, it sickens me that he never faced justice. He fled, and I am sure, continued to victimize young boys until the day he supposedly died. Many of us live with the guilt and shame of what occurred at the hands of pure evil. I have to believe in Hell, because to believe there are no consequences for his, and others actions is unfathomable. Unfortunately many of these individuals are taking dark secrets to their graves, and their crimes will never be solved. Thank you to you and Marney for trying to make officials accountable for their lack of action.

  3. Wow, huge! This guy was seriously connected. Thanks for sharing, I hope it helps. I really hope people have the courage to speak up finally. ❀️

  4. 1993 obituary of a minor character in this case: Donald Gordon Keller, 71 year old Navy vet from Edmonds, WA. He was survived by two sisters, a sister-in-law, and several nieces and nephews. The obituary stated that in lieu of flowers “memorials are suggested to Hogar Infantil.”
    A noble cause–Hogar Infantil was a children’s home for boys that began in Chiapas, Mexico in 1963. It has since expanded its services to girls as well and has several programs in the U.S.
    Just hoping that Keller’s interest in it was purely humanitarian.

      1. Ok so that’s not my imagination. Um hello people!! That’s f’ing absurd! He just happened to be there?! On a “hunting” trip? This case stinks from top to bottom.

        1. I guess Shelden asked if he could further take care of the Deer problem on the island for him, perhaps he wanted to create another airstrip for “business.”

      2. From one of the Gorzen Reports, “original date 12-17-76”;
        A Det/Sargeant Chappel, showed “books containing pictures of young boys” to Chief Jack Mol on 1-9-77.
        “He recognized some of the pictures as coming from North Fox Island”
        “The Chief did not recognize any of the youth as coming from his area”

        No further description of these “books”, whether they were photo album type, or professionally set & printed and/or published-distributed by one of the known commercial CP companies overseas.
        This seems to be the origin, of statements that “pictures from North Fox Island had been used in commercial CP, police said”

  5. It’s obvious they completely dropped the investigation. Bribed, threatened, or complicit in the abuse? They find all this evidence, photos, published magazines, names, and they just dropped it. Allowing how many others to be abused, killed. Maybe if they did their jobs, I wouldn’t have lived a hellish life. It’s infuriating and I know you and others feel similarly.🀬🀬🀬🀬

    What can we do to help? Do you have specific things you want? How can we put pressure on them?

    Are you open to the psychic sleuth doing a reading and bringing attention to the case? I’m happy to cover any cost. No pressure. You are an awesome person and are helping and inspiring so many of us. πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

    1. If a survivor can notify the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the information will be somewhere it can possibly make a difference and you will not be treated poorly. Notifying Michigan authorities is a painful and seemingly useless exercise, but if you can handle it, do it and circle back (they won’t), they know in the recesses of their compartmentalized brains what happens when their predecessors drop the ball or cover up. If you have the name of a perpetrator or a suspect you can file a FOIA request with the MSP, the Oakland County Sheriff, and any other local law enforcement who might have received a tip on the person. You can do it online. My experience with FOIA and MI agencies has been poor, but why not ask? As far as psychics, I have nothing against them at all, but cost is something to be very careful with. Contrary to the ravings of a troll I have, I am not doing this “to make money.” My family is probably close to $75,000 in to this corrupt black hole and that doesn’t count time, energy and mental health costs. Documentary makers make money–they don’t pay a penny to survivors and only take our time and energy so the story can get exposure. Any cost-free action (making a record with police, even though they shut you down) and filing a FOIA request (which will be cost free because they probably won’t give you shit in response) reminds these public servants of their ultimate duty.

      1. Thanks I will file FOIA for my grandfather and great grandfather, probably nothing. I did file a tip with the FBI in July but nothing. Guess they don’t care about 100 year child abuse rings.

        Rachelle the psychic sleuth wants to message you on the case, she wants your permission. thepsychicsleuth@gmail.com. Again I will cover cost, she is very reasonable and also does a lot of work for free. Very humble. Again no pressure, message her if you want, I sent her Tim’s picture πŸ’•πŸ’•

        Is there a place we can donate to the case? No one can do this alone, you are fighting for so many, we should support you.

        1. Thanks, RR. I will contact the psychic. I suggest people who want to donate give directly to a child advocacy organization in their area or NCMEC. At least today society recognizes the damage done by pedophiles and child abusers and the need for resources for survivors. If law enforcement could catch up (beyond empty campaign promises of defending children and actually seriously prosecuting sex crimes) that would be unprecedented. If we have to sue somebody down the road and can’t find resources we can try to crowd fund. I appreciate you.

          1. I filed a FOIA with Oakland Sheriff office, we’ll see, probably nothing. Feels scary to put my name with it, but it’s getting close to that time probably anyway.

            I contacted a law group about if I can submit images to be compared with their registry. I don’t know the location of the CSAM online or if it’s online at this point, it’s so old, but I could submit regular childhood pix of myself? So we’ll see. BLAH! I hate this.

            I did contact NCMEC via their contact form but didn’t hear anything. I guess I have to be a big girl and call but I hate phone calls! Ack. Especially about this stuff.

            I have a lawyer friend from high school who lives in Michigan still, and I have a connection with a state senator there too. Do you want me to contact them and ask for their help? I’ve been thinking about it. I guess I know a number of lawyers, one does big time pro bono work for a fancy NYC company, she is a survivor and dedicated to these causes. Hmm. My cousin (on the other side) has decent MI connections too she used to work at the House in Lansing. Oh her husband is a lawyer! See I’m not “out” with this all yet so I haven’t asked for help, except from you LOL!

            1. Pace yourself but do get back with NCMEC. They will be honest about what can and can’t be done. The rest can wait until you are ready. I hate to be a pessimist, but no one in Michigan gives a shit, so it’s a low bar.

              1. I totally hear you, thanks! πŸ™‚ I know this will take years. I hate it, but I am working to accept it. I’m a realist, and reality is gross, so yeah.

  6. Standard FBI FOIA nothingness. Dry & empty as a popcorn f*rt.
    Disappointed, for you & Marney, that there’s no ‘meat’.

    But it’s what I’d expect, for the timeframe. FBI is hopelessly behind, hence the articles again – Marilyn Wright and Traverse City Eagle were miles ahead of them.

    As for “the trail”…I don’t see cover-up. I see a long-planned and well executed disappearance, and part of that long-term planning was the empty-shell ‘organizations’. The paper ‘fronts’, like Ocean Living Institute or Church of the New Revelation, with board members who are respectable people – but don’t even know they are listed as such in the incorporation papers! And nothing behind it, no substance, just a fraudulent scam to qualify for charitable org. status.

    Any contact persons he (they) had, with legitimate enterprises, would be clueless about their BL lives – lived in shadows. “Surprised to hear about the child rape and pornography, always seemed a respectable fellow. No, haven’t heard anything from him, have no idea where he might be”.
    That’s not play-acting. When Shelden climbed into his private plane, that was intentionally the end of his life in US, as complete as he could arrange it to be. No doubt, the same was true of Grossman. Bye-bye! you’ll never hear from us again.
    So there’s nothing for FBI to work with, anyway.

    The best they can do, for informants, are some random Better Life subscriber who knows nothing, and another random child sexual abuse images pervert who turns over a stack of commercially distributed mags. They could pick up 5 times as much material at any Reuben Sturman supplied XXX store! and none of it would be any more relevant, or helpful to their investigations, than the Tennessee Boy’s Farm “Lifeboy” materials – which Gerald Richards had already turned over to Michigan investigators.
    They (FBI) just didn’t understand the mechanics of “the industry”, as it existed at that time, they are as naive about it as their pointless “informants”.

    1. I haven’t had time to go through everything….was “Lifeboy”one of the newsletters for this crew? Richard’s own?

      1. No. “Lifeboy” was the title of a child sexual abuse materials magazine, distributed commercially from overseas, in which many residents of the Tennessee Boy’s Farm appeared. That was a definitive link, between the Better Life Monthly “boy-lover” conspiracists, (including obviously Rev. Vermilye), and the commercial “child porn” industry of that time.

        When I first started working with detectives from our Integrated Intelligence Unit in 1988, “Lifeboy”, the video of the brother & sister filmed by their mother, (highlighted in a 60 minutes broadcast), and a few other commercially distributed products of that time were sort of archetypes for commercial “child porn”, that most investigators were familiar with; the identity of the victims, the identity of the perpetrator(s), and who was responsible for production & distribution of copies.

        1. I suppose I ought to explain that, for folks who are not familiar with the concept & role of “identified series” in prosecution of child sexual abuse images collectors/ traders.

          Today, if you read through trial or appeals transcripts for CP cases, you will likely see a section like this;
          “I’m FBI Agent so-and-so”, then a summary of their qualifications for testifying, and then “I am familiar with [titles or digital file designations] , in this case” – by which they mean, whatever their file name might be in the current case, those images belong to an NCMEC designated “Identified Series”.
          And that means, the production perpetrator(s) were successfully prosecuted, their identities are documented and on file, same with the victim(s). The victims are real persons, the images are not digital fakes, there may even be victim impact statements from them on file. All of this verification information can be taken as “given” and need not be read into court documents. Ultimately, it also means that if you were caught with these images on your device – you are screwed, pervert! You WILL be doing time.

          But way back in the day, like 1980s, there was no such co-ordinated system in place. But there were some ‘classic’ commercial CP “series”, or titles, still turning up in pervert collections, that most investigators had all the verification info for, on file. So, prosecutors could use those materials for the ‘specimen charges’, and investigators didn’t have to track down and verify all that info for EVERY title or image.

      2. Btw, @Anon, Dec 7 at 9:18pm
        The story of Gerald Richards turning over the Boy’s Farm materials, and his frantic attempts to rat everyone else out while portraying himself as genuinely repentant (HAH!), is NOT in these FBI files.
        For that story, you will want the GORZEN reports. Excellent info, meat & potatoes to me, but some pages are a bit washed out. Cathy has them, or had them. I have copies.

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