The Oakland County Child Killer
What the Hell is the Deal with the Oakland County Child Killer Investigation?
15 thoughts on ““Have you ever murdered anyone?” Day 4”
Who tipped this freak off about the exhumation, 17 years after Gail Webster’s murder? He couldn’t be bothered attending Gail’s funeral, but had the audacity to show up at the exhumation?! And no detective asked him to leave? Evil.
And thanks, Brandy Watson–for nothing. Why is it so few people do the right thing?
“Rough shadowing” surveillance technique.
Used when law enforcement officers want to intimidate a potential witness into silence by visibly and publicly showing up near the witness’s place of work. By doing so, other co-workers get the message that the witness’s potential statements are unapproved and unacceptable to powerful people.
“Rough shadowing is a tactic used by investigators who are “public,” overzealous, or outright blatant in their surveillance activities — such as parking outside the subject’s home in full view of neighbors, following subjects into places of business, or publicly videotaping subjects with no effort to conceal their motives or actions. This method of surveillance exposes the subject to public disgrace, ridicule, contempt or public embarrassment and may potentially result in a lawsuit.”
What a horrible, horrible POS this man was. If only all law enforcement agencies could use psychological testing to flush these people out or, better yet, keep them from ever getting any kind of a badge. It’s why I think any crime committed by law enforcement should be subject to a huge sentence enhancement. Abuse of power, abuse of trust. It’s outrageous. Would love to take a look at this POS’s personnel file. Waste of skin.
Are you in touch with any of Gail Webster’s surviving daughters?
How and why did Gail Webster and RVH come to start and stop dating between 1975 and 1977? Why was she afraid of him? What had she seen or heard?
Obviously RVH is the most likely suspect in Gail Webster’s murder. But why did he do it? Was he jealous of a new relationship? Seems unlikely.
Did Gail Webster herself ever confide any suspicions about RVH to any of her daughters regarding the OCCK case?
Did Gail Webster ever call in a tip about RVP to the OCCK task force?
Is there a way to sort through the publicly available tips to check?
I am in touch with two of Gail Webster’s daughters and they are, as you can tell from Marney Keenan’s reporting, amazing people. At the conclusion of the reporting (tomorrow) I can pass on these questions.
I will give you my sense, based on what I’ve read thus far. It seems Gail Webster was unnerved by Van Hengel but that she did not detail the level or reason for her concern with her kids. Coworkers of Gail describe being creeped out by RVH, that he was sometimes (often?) inappropriate and my impression is that he was stalker-like. I don’t know if they knew the exact reason for the break up.
Her daughters describe their belief that their mom was murdered because she may have seen or found out about something she “shouldn’t have,” but just what this is or could be is logical speculation as far as I can tell.
Jealousy does not seem like a motive here. However at least one person is quoted in the series as “immediately” thinking of RVH as a suspect in Gail’s murder and this was not someone who seemed to know about the OCCK tips. Was this based on behaviors he exhibited during the time leading up to the murder?
My understanding is that there were two tips called in on RVH–one by the young woman who worked at Harmony House and with Gail at the Suzie Q; the other by Dr. Jerry Tobias, who was on the OCCK task force and who had spoken with my parents about the case numerous times. If Jerry Tobias turned in RVH’s name, that counts for a lot, even if you take the position the tip was based solely on his similarity to the composite.
None of the tips are “publicly available.” I don’t know if Marney Keenan learned of the two tips on RVH via Oakland County or Troy PD documents or via a FOIA request to the MSP for all information on RVH. As you might imagine, the MSP FOIA department has not worked well with others when it comes to the OCCK. I will ask about how the tip info was obtained.
Your comments about Bob (below) are really giving me a lot to think about.
The infamous, anonymous informant “Bob” never surfaced after 2012 and never provided any evidence for his (?) claims about a particular suspect.
But I still wonder if maybe, just maybe there was something there behind all the “Bob” smoke and mirrors:
“The source (“Bob”) says this possible suspect (RVH?) had specific information about this case known only to a few investigators at the time and that he would boast about getting the information from investigators. The source told the prosecutor and investigator at the meeting that this person of interest claimed to have relationships with police in southern Michigan including officers from Troy , Ferndale , Redford and Detroit . This matches the thoughts of a former FBI profiler who reviewed this new information and believes someone in law enforcement may be involved in the Oakland County Child Killings.”
Was “Bob” someone who knew RVH and was trying to tip off investigators, years after RVH’s death?
RVH was certainly in position to have “relationships with police in southern Michigan including . . . Troy, Ferndale, Redford and Detroit.”
God, good points Paul. The Bob deal is still enraging because with all he allegedly had, he just went back underground. Jessica Cooper obviously wasn’t going to give this man the information he was seeking from their files but he backed down or went away in a huff. But the boasting. the relationships with police (and the FBI!)–sounds like RVH. Thank god they got RVH’s DNA (no help from him, the snake). If the state police would EVER test all of the evidence in the OCCK case, they might just end up with some male DNA they can compare to known suspects or run through genetic genealogy.
Cathy, I totally agree that RVH looks so much like the composite picture that was created in the 70’s but, I believe that I read somewhere that the man seen talking to Tim had mutton chop sideburns and while its possible RVH could have shaved them off, none of the pictures of him show him with those kind of sideburns?
Thank you for posting the articles from the Detroit News, I truly appreciate it.
A case this big, this high profile at the time, millions of dollars allegedly spent and what do we have? Almost 50 years later, a case with composite drawings (that look like RVH, John Hastings, Gary Berthiaume, and to a much lesser extent, Greg Greene (in prison 3/77 and distinctive widow’s peak hairline)), and various vehicle descriptions with no license plate numbers. And, information withheld from the public when it could have made a real difference, reports of child trafficking and porn ignored over the decades, suspects ruled out for bogus reasons, extinguished DNA samples and the failure to test every other single piece of evidence in this case for DNA. It’s not exactly a winning combination.
I know that I have referenced this many times but, when the FBI hypnotized Doug Wilson, he did supply the FBI with the numbers (only) on the license plate of the Pontiac LeMans parked against the wall at Birmingham Drugs. How many blue green Pontiac Lemans at that time could have those numbers on the License Plate which, makes me believe that its possible the FBI knows who the OCCK is and for whatever reason they are withholding this information.
the fact that he saw (I think) the numbers 222 has always bothered me the most. Seems like this could easily have been narrowed down.
For those outside of Michigan, and those who may not remember, the local news did a story on this case in October 2020. You can read the story and watch the reports/interviews at these links.
Just a few observations:
1) In the 2020 report Troy Police were in the process of re-testing the evidence for DNA. No word ever since about the re-testing results from the Troy Police department.
2) The 2020 report says a Troy Sergeant was going through some unsolved murders and getting frustrated. Now it is a different Troy Lieutenant deciding to give it a fresh look. What happened with the 2020 investigation? Did they give up again?
3) The 2020 report indicates all 3 suspects were polygraphed and investigated. Troy Police posted on social media “There was no known motive for any of these individuals to kill Gail and they were all cleared via polygraph or other means. Other family members, co-workers and neighbors were also interviewed at the time. All were cleared via polygraph or other means.” Today we have a viable suspect.
4) The 2020 news story was broadcast by all the local channels, and written about in several newspapers in and out of state. I have not heard one word from the other media outlets about this current series. Not one peep from Troy Police on social media. The only difference I can see is that 2020 story never mentioned OCCK. The current articles did. This true to form for what another reader (Joe) has mentioned several times on other posts in this blog. “You will never see any articles in the Detroit media on the OCCK case.”
An additional thought – in my opinion, RVH better fits Doug Wilson’s description that the person talking with Tim reminded him of a father talking to a son.
Also, in my opinion, an apparently arrogant man, who seemed to enjoy the perceived authority that came with uniforms and titles, could have the commanding or take charge presence that could get kids into cars.
Speculation, yes, of course.
Procurer. Fixer. Cleaner. 100% Creep. Lots of thoughts on all of the possibilities. This man’s history checks so many boxes. So much to process. Part 5 will drop in 30 minutes.
Thinking of Gail Webster and her daughters. Thinking of you. Cathy, and your family, and of all the families.