From an email I was copied on sent by my Dad on 11/4/13, with one redaction:
Most observers misinterpret my position on the OCCK case. When Cooper asked Studt to call me on March 1, 2010 to tell me Busch and Gunnels were not involved I had only seen documents presented to me by Heather Catallo. These public documents had been denied to my family. I have used the term “involved” rather than “murdered” regarding the Busch involvement. All we have asked for in the reason for overruling the conclusions of Williams and Gray that they were the leading suspects and could have been charged if Busch was still alive. NO ONE HAS SUBMITTED ANY FACTS CONTRADICTING THE CONCLUSION THAT BUSCH AND GUNNELS WERE INVOLVED!
We have always acknowledged the validity of the Sloan lead. After 3 ½ years nothing has developed on this lead. Sloan is still being treated as a normal prisoner rather than as an uncooperative one. We have heard rumors that there has been little or no follow up. The continued references to the blue Gremlin do not support the Sloan investigation. The way we have treated since March 1. 2010 is deplorable. Why did Cooper terminate all contacts with Worthy? Why did the MSP switch allegiance from Wayne County to Oakland County after the October 27, 2009 conference? Why did the MSP refuse to talk to Williams and switch allegiance to Oakland? Why did the OCP refuse to release the search warrant affidavit which was prepared by her office and signed by the MSP? Does this lack of information legitimately give rise to concerns of a cover up of major pedophile activity in the 1970s? Review the Chapter in the DVD on the blue Gremlin! Who can review the actions of the current and past Prosecutors for possible improper behavior?
For 30 years the victims kept their mouths shut and trusted law enforcement. The case is now 37 years old and would not be in the papers or on TV today if it were not for the King family trust in the media to raise the above issues. I will never understand how the prosecutor ignores her constitutional obligation to confer with victims and gives the media access to the same information she denies me. The next time she uses Channel [*] to present her side of any portion of this case, ask her how she interprets the constitution. She should not avoid this answer just because she was not challenged by anyone when she ruled her own court room.
Check out this letter in the Genessee Co. Busch file sent by Genessee Co. Prosecutor Robert F. Leonard to Montmorency Co. Prosecutor David F. Tibbetts on April 6, 1977, some two weeks after my brother’s body was dumped in a ditch in Livonia. I’m sure you will forgive me for my editorial comments, added when I first read the document a few years ago. Leonard states the obvious—that effective investigation of child sex crimes necessitated information sharing; something none of the agencies were able or willing to do, even in the face of this “tragic, acute and widespread problem” in Michigan at the time. I will next post the meeting agenda.
Leonard tried to do the right thing. I don’t know if the meeting ever took place or who attended. And there are more interesting documents in the file about the disposition of Busch’s pending CSC case, even in the face of the prosecutor’s and the assigned judge’s obvious concern with these types of crimes. But Leonard didn’t last long. Two years later he was in the Big House after being convicted of embezzling $34,000 from a fund his office used for undercover operations. See http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1987-09-28/news/8703130190_1_white-collar-white-candidate-seven-candidate-field
Second of three pages I am posting re: arrest of Busch and Green in Flint in the weeks before my brother’s abductionPosted: March 10, 2013
The first page ended with and this one finishes with retired Southfield PD Detective Doan and Berkley PD Detective Itami asking where their lengthy reports on Busch and Green are–the MSP file they are looking at contains only the tip sheets. Go figure. More later on O.C. Assistant PA Richard (Dick the Amnesiac) Thompson’s interview of Green on 1-26-77. He apparently has no recollection of this event. It must have gotten jumbled up in all those property crimes and traffic issues in Oakland County back in the day.
Another person with a gut feeling back in the day that Busch is involved in my brother’s abduction and murder.Posted: March 9, 2013
Gut feelings–of people who are trained best to pick up on them and listen to them–apparently get trumped when your daddy is Daddy Warbucks and somebody sitting at a desk at the OCCK Task Force gets to make the final call and everything appears to fall through the cracks.
The Livonia detective I told you busted his ass on this case, finds out that Charlotte Pelham and Jr. Brandenburg are both retired and he contacts them. A dispatcher at MCS Office informs the detective that the deputy who recently found Busch’s criminal file in response to his request has information and is happy to discuss it. This deputy faxes a copy of a letter to the detective from Detective Tom Waldren at Flint PD to the Chief of the Alma PD dated March 9, 1977. In this letter, Waldren explains that Busch has CSC cases pending in Genesee County, Oakland County, Montmorency County and Midland County. Waldren stated that the strongest cases against Busch were in Oakland and Genessee County, and noted that Busch had hired the best legal counsel to represent him–Jane (“My client is a model citizen, your Honor”) Burgess. Waldren also wrote that Busch was currently free on bond at that time for all charges. Yes, that means free on March 16th, in spite of numerous CSC cases in various counties, to abduct my brother.
The deputy assisting the Livonia detective points out that in Busch’s file with them–way up north–is an old newspaper clipping about the disappearance of Tim King in suburban Detroit. The deputy stated that in Brandenburg’s interview of Busch on 3-3-77, Busch stated that he did molest [name redacted] at the cottage on Ess Lake, but never used force. Busch would not name any of the other boys from down state that he brought to the cottage and would not make any written statements until he had a chance to speak with his attorney. Busch told Brandenburg that he knew Gregory Green, but at no time did he ever bring Green to Ess Lake. Busch said he was violent and tried to strangle a boy in Flint that he believes was [name redacted]. Busch continued about Green, stating that police have confiscated all of his photographs and movies and are holding them. Busch told Brandenburg that he did not have any photos or movies at the cottage. (Ok, sure, Chris, we believe you.) Busch went on to say that his problem (pedophelia) started when his father sent him to boarding school at 17 years old.
To retired Montmorency County Detective Jr. Brandenburg’s credit, on 2-12-08 he speaks with the Livonia detective about his investigation into Chris Busch in 1977 for CSC First Degree. When asked why there was a news clipping concerning Tim King’s disappearance in Chris Busch’s CSC file way up north, “Brandenburg started out by saying that he remembers the case and remembers Busch being a very odd guy, stating that he always felt that Busch might have been involved in the King case, that’s why he had the news clippings. Brandenburg said that the dad [H. Lee Busch] was rich, owned a home in Birmingham, the cottage on Ess Lake and bought Christopher Busch a big two-story restaurant” in Alma, MI. (FOIA Doc. 01210.) “Brandenburg said that Christopher Busch always had young boys with him and remembers they were from his (Busch’s) area, down state. ” Brandenburg knew Busch had committed suicide. “Brandenburg again stated that he always had a gut feeling that Busch was involved in the child killing case.” (Id.)
And you know, based on what I’ve written before that this is going to get worse, right? In the Narrative Report entry for 2-21-08, it most certainly does.
The family of an Orlando woman missing for 13 years announced they will receive the unreacted police files from the Orlando Police Department. https://www.wftv.com/news/local/jennifer-kesse-missing-woman-s-family-settles-lawsuit-against-orlando-police/932668245?fbclid=IwAR1zF8LpwPb_d3AvX2s__bF7nrJ8yAZthTjH7FpGl5sYxLgemHtbvpG4mgU
The family filed suit against the police department to obtain their records on the case so their private investigator could try to make some headway where the PD had not. As part of the settlement, the PD has to turn over the unreacted files in the case. Unreacted. Thirteen year old unsolved case.
In 1995, four Florida newspapers, the Mobile Press Register, the Sun Sentinel, the Palm Beach Post, and the Miami Herald, sued the Hollywood (Florida) Police Department to gain immediate access to the HPD files on Adam’s case. After 14 years, there had been no arrests and no updates. The court rejected all of the “open case” exception arguments under the Florida Sunshine Law (Freedom of Information Act), as well as the family’s arguments against release and ordered the HPD to put all the files on microfilm and have it available within four months. At the time of the deadline, news organizations paid $235 a piece for a set of microfilm. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1996-02-18-9602180348-story.html
Fourteen year old, unsolved case. $235 per set of microfilm. As you probably know, the case was ultimately closed by HPD when they admitted and concluded that one of their early suspects was no doubt the killer. The chief of police acknowledged and apologized to the Walsh family. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJmOgeFvpls
In this sorry case, my Dad paid over $11,000 for redacted documents from the Michigan State Police. And trust me, they didn’t turn over everything they should have. And they made my Dad file a lawsuit to get those documents. The Oakland County Prosecutor’s office fought the FOIA request all the way. None of the courts in Oakland County or the higher courts cited one, single case citation to the Michigan Sunshine Law/FOIA.
Here is what a pamphlet on the Michigan FOIA law concludes with:
When in doubt, consider the policy of the Act. Analysis should begin with the presumption that any records requested are subject to disclosure. No records are exempt unless they fit within one of the specific exemptions, which will be narrowly construed. The best policy for a public body is to accept the pro-disclosure intent and language of the act and to respond accordingly.
It has been a long time since I read Tears of Rage by John Walsh (1997). He says much that bears repeating, but this hits hard:
Many different kinds of people are victims. And the system doesn’t serve any of them. It brutalizes them all. Violence against women and children is a symptom. A symptom of how the lofty goals this society was founded on do not apply to the weak. The system that was designed to protect these women and children–and now men–instead victimizes them and revictimizes them.
Id., p. 378.
Thank you to Nina Innsted for sending me the link about the Jennifer Kesse case. In this more than forty year old case, Michigan has managed to keep the lid on tight. The media never went after the MSP or Oakland County. In many other unsolved cases, officials have been forced to comply with FOIA laws and their bullshit “forever open” exception is rejected. And let’s not forget our friends at the FBI who allegedly could not produce any records on Fox Island, Frank Shelden or Chris Busch because the files were lost in a catastrophic flood. Don’t you love it when a bullshitter uses extra adjectives to bolster an answer?
I hope all of the dirty players at every level and every stage in the investigation in the case are one day revealed. When you contrast this case to the cases described above, you know something is very rotten here.
If you have any information or even suspicions, PLEASE call the tip line at 833-784-9425. I’m sure the police can keep your name out of any discussion they have with a suspect or his family and associates. One of my readers made the point that time is of the essence. Act while there are still momentum and pressure in these cases. This is probably it.
Call the tip line even if you have spoken to police multiple times before. Posting here or emailing me just adds another step to the process. Tonight the Investigation Discovery show “Children of the Snow” airs. It is a four hour series airing tonight and tomorrow night. The case will get world-wide exposure, not just in metro Detroit.
Nothing I say to police will advance your lead. You have to get up the courage and call the tip line. If you don’t hear back, then you can email me and I will put you in touch with other documentarians working on this case. I don’t have police powers. I can’t research your lead. I don’t have access to police files. I only have access to the $11,000 worth of redacted documents the Michigan State Police deemed compliant with FOIA requests. I have no sway with police. The necessity of this blog has ensured that.
Whoever did this has had his lived his life for over 40 years with no repercussions. His family has been able to move on without any repercussions. Was it not obvious in the WDIV series what this has done to the families of the victims in this case? Get your shit together and call the tip line. Don’t email me about how you know people in Michigan who killed kids and fed them to their dogs. What am I supposed to do with that information?
A couple of readers have mentioned that Fox Island is muddying the waters here. Probably so. Frank Shelden and Fox Island sell books and shows. I do think it is relevant as background for how the Detroit area law enforcement and media handled situations involving people with money and put men who were criminals ahead of children. While the Traverse City Record-Eagle was publishing a multi-part investigative series about Shelden and Fox Island in 1976-1978, the Detroit area media hardly touched it. And it WAS relevant to the general discussion at the time because it was going on at the same time the OCCK was hunting kids. But the MSP and Oakland County controlled the narrative. And that narrative helped keep the case from ever being solved.
But why not take a page from the two courageous men who described going to Fox Island back in the day as boys? They were filmed constantly while they “skinny dipped,” and one of them was physically violated. They spoke on camera. IF THEY CAN DO THIS, YOU CAN LEAVE A TIP IN THE OCCK CASE ON A RECORDED PHONE LINE.
DNA technology is constantly evolving. The needle in the haystack is easier to find if there is a name. Thus far the source of the DNA in this case is not in any data base or police files. This case has been unfairly elevated to one where only DNA will be accepted as a way to solve the case. Give police a name so we can get over this hurdle.
Busch–total slob and monied, worthless fat fuck. I agree, a kid probably wouldn’t go with him. But the fact is he approached many kids–males and females, and raped many boys. Lots of people also saying that the Busch lead derailed the investigation. Again–look at the larger theme. If he wasn’t involved, why did someone murder him and try to frame him as the OCCK? Why didn’t the prosecutor pick up the phone and tell the families about this back in the day? That answer is obvious. H. Lee Busch was going to make sure that never happened. But what did happen? Over the decades, cops mentioned this suspect–the son of a wealthy GM exec–to people on the street. It came up in conversations in bars and in stores. The name bubbled to the surface again in 2006–of course it eventually did. Officials would gladly talk about David Norberg, Ted Lamborgine and many other potential suspects in the press, but Busch and Green? No way! Something really stinks in this investigation and I hope that becomes more obvious after the ID show airs. Misfeasance or malfeasance? See for yourself. Either way, it didn’t work out for Mark, Jill, Kris and Tim.
Tonight and tomorrow the case will reach a worldwide audience. But in a few weeks, this will all die down and go away. Oakland County is banking on that. SO PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL IN YOUR INFORMATION EVEN IF YOU HAVE SPOKEN TO POLICE BEFORE. 833-784-9425.
A reader sent me this link of a YouTube video prepared by a video blogger about the Investigative Discovery show Children of the Snow. This woman understands the horror of the combination of rich, powerful men and pedophelia and child pornography. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kREQSncAK-c See working link in comment section.
Here we are more than four decades after the Oakland County child murders (and Frank Shelden’s N. Fox Island boys’ camp/house of horrors), and we get terrible current-day reminders of how men in powerful positions get to bend the rules after they sexually abuse and rape children. These are monsters and the people who protect them and cut deals are not much better.
Consider the “no prosecution” agreement that benefitted ultra-wealthy American financier, pedophile and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, overseen by then U.S. Attorney for Southern Florida (and now Trump’s labor secretary): https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/trump-cabinet-member-s-leniency-toward-sex-offender-stirs-outrage-1387897923761
In this segment on The Rachel Maddow Show, Marci Hamilton, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses the shocking discrepancy between the nature of the sex crimes Epstein is accused of and the very light and unprecedented sentence he received in a deal overseen by Acosta. That “no prosecution” agreement sounds a lot like that nolle prosequi deal admitted admitted child rapist and abuser Chris Busch got from Oakland County. Nolle prosequi is a Latin phrase meaning “will no longer prosecute,” and amounts to a dismissal of charges by the prosecutor. Right, Dick (“No deals!) Thompson and L. Brooks Patterson? As Professor Hamilton points out, this is why children continue to be abused. If a kid crosses paths with a pedophile, god help him or her, but if it’s a rich pedophile, it’s almost always game over. Hamilton observes that failure to protect children is a failure across our culture, which makes the problems of children irrelevant and protects these men.
Hamilton is the founder and CEO of Child USA, whose mission is “to investigate, impact and inform the laws that should protect our children and their civil liberties to keep them safe from abuse.” https://www.childusa.org/
There was another recent reminder of how the Catholic Church has used its power and influence to protect pedophile priests at every turn. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/19/us/illinois-attorney-general-catholic-church-priest-abuse.html The Illinois attorney general found the Catholic Church in Illinois withheld the names of at least 500 priests accused of sexual abuse of minors. The AG issued a scathing report accusing the church of failing victims of clergy sex abuse by failing to investigate their claims and/or finding lame reasons to dismiss the claims. The report tries to quantify the vast gap between the number of accusations made by victims who dared to contact the church and the number of accusations the church deemed credible.
This is further evidence that the church is utterly incapable of investigating itself and that kids will continue to be abused by priests. A powerful institution running defense for criminals at the expense of children’s safety and lives. Go back to the Child USA website and read about how statutes of limitations protect these freaks. First they take advantage of a child and then they use the passage of time in a situation where victims rarely speak up immediately after the abuse (if ever), to cover their own cowardly asses.
Conversely, consider this awesome use of energy and channeling of grief in the case of Sierah Joughin, 20, who was abducted and murdered in the summer of 2016 by a man who was previously convicted of abduction. http://www.sierahslaw.com/ Her family was the impetus behind Sierah’s Law, a proposal to create Ohio’s first geographically searchable registry of violent offenders. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/sierahs-law-database-of-violent-offenders-unanimously-passes-ohio-house-85-0
Another reader messaged me tonight and reminded me that truth is stranger than fiction. But fiction parallels truth. In the 2010 film Edge of Darkness, “Captain” Jedburgh describes how a case, especially one with political or influential overtones, can go unsolved.
“Jedburgh: Now, you know better than anyone, cases like these are never solved. They’re simply too complicated, too much hard work. There’s a lot going on out there in this world. And you can just never connect A to B.
Thomas Craven: How do you know that?
Jedburgh: Because I’m usually the guy that stops you connecting A to B. It’s part of what I do.”
Jedburgh’s explanation is very instructive in the OCCK case: “Anyone who looks at the rest of this is going to see something happened but no one’s going to be able to figure it out. That’s your objective; to make it so convoluted that anyone can have a theory, but no one’s got the facts.”
Michigan State Police Lt. Robertson closed his letter to my parents informing them that the task force would be shutting down in late 1978 without any answers with “godspeed.” I’m sure it was an earnest prayer for the arduous journey the living take after a death like this. But looking at where this thing has ended up, it just might as well have meant “you’re fucked.”
Forty-two Winter Solstices have passed since the abduction and murder of Mark Stebbins, the first acknowledged victim of the Oakland County child killers, in February 1976. Forty-one more Christmases have passed since Jill Robinson, the second acknowledged victim of these animals, was abducted and murdered and her body dumped in the early-morning hours of Christmas Day in 1976. Think about that. Someone’s son, brother, friend, relative, kept an abducted child captive in the days leading up to Christmas, then murdered her on Christmas.
Winter solstice, when the night is longest and the day shortest. There has been no daylight in these cases; darkness never seems to give way to light here. We have had only brief glimpses of what we can probably gather are some truths in this case. As Sir Thomas More said “If honor were profitable, everybody would be honorable.” But this case was meant to stay in the dark. Darkness that kept getting other kids abducted, tortured and murdered. That darkness protected those least entitled to protection, and the list includes more than just the killers. It includes relatives, friends and acquaintances of the killers, those who chose profit over honor, and those who wanted to save face rather than do the right thing. People who kept their mouths shut and somehow managed to live with themselves for over four decades. In fairness, some of these people did come forward, only to be shut down by those who had control of the narrative of this crime.
Yet DNA and genetic genealogy made 2018 “the year of the cold case: ‘Biggest crime-fighting breakthrough in decades.’” https://www.foxnews.com/us/dna-genetic-genealogy-made-2018-the-year-old-the-cold-case-biggest-crime-fighting-breakthrough-in-decades But darkness persists in these cases. It’s no surprise, really, because back in the day DNA testing did not exist. It’s no surprise especially because when this investigation got shut down hard by those at the top back in the day, there was no concern for evidence preservation. The less of that stuff the better; it won’t be needed.
Where did the suitcase full of child pornography found in a search of Busch’s residence in January 1977 go? Where are the Polaroids of children Greg Green told police about, wrapped in foil and buried in a yard (carefully described in the notes of one of his interrogations in January 1977)? Why were hairs found on both Mark and Tim found to be from the same source only many decades later? Did no one think to compare this evidence until after 2014? Why were hairs found on Tim missing for decades, mislabeled as animal hairs? Why did people like Ray Anger of the Berkley Police Department and life-long, member emeritus of the “task force” continue to maintain for decades that there was no evidence—zero evidence!–in this case?
Why would the actual evidence in these cases be used, as I have been told more than once, in Michigan State Police POST training? Why is a hair found on Kristine and matched to a teenage male victim of Chris Busch worth nothing, when a hair found in a trunk of convicted pedophile Arch Sloan’s Bonneville allegedly matching hairs found on both Mark and Tim, but thus far matched to no one, worth everything? In a case like this, the serial abduction, captivity, torture and murder of four children, meticulous evidence preservation would have been called for, even in the dark ages of 1976-1978. All the many reincarnations of the “task force” over the years—the many hand-offs—why did it take an outside detective to relentlessly and to his detriment force this issue on the MSP after 2005? Because the idea was that no one was ever going to go there. Fuck it. We know how to end this thing. “No comment; open case.” Open forever.
The truth would have helped here. Even a little bit of it. But it’s too late for that. Now we need the come-clean kind of truth. The kind of truth you don’t get in a case like this unless someone comes forward. Someone from the inside and I mean someone from or close to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s office from back in the day. Someone who is not afraid of L. Brooks Patterson or Richard Thompson, two now-old men who ultimately screwed over the victims, the families, the communities and every honest cop who ever worked on this case. Not some shitty, god-awful, cowardly pedophile working in the prison garden and chowing his three prison meals a day. A whistle-blower. This case involves one of the biggest cover-ups in history. If you think this is impossible, or that I am simply paranoid, think again. This is exactly the kind of case where something like this would happen. Nobody else died in this case, so who cares, right? No lawsuits are filed, no explanations or apologies are needed. Ever. A couple kids were sadly just collateral damage and their families will be too weakened and damaged to question a thing. For the rest, Oakland County was safe once more.