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.
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.
This is how much my Dad paid to obtain the documents he requested from the Michigan State Police, via the Freedom of Information Act. Keep in mind that the FOIA request was only for documents pertaining to Christopher Busch and Gregory Green. Also keep in mind that this amount did not include attorney fees incurred for this request. Finally, ask yourself how much any media outlet or anyone else has paid for FOIA documents in comparison. Realize that my Dad shared these documents with anyone willing to pay to copy them. And some he gave away freely. I wonder what the final tab was for Mardi Link’s FOIA requests in the the Robison case and whether the documents she obtained had all kinds of shit redacted.
At least they do when it comes to the murder of the Robison family in Northern Michigan some 50 years ago. Nina Instead, host and writer/producer of Already Gone, a true crime podcast focusing on crimes from the Detroit area (http://www.alreadygonepodcast.com/author/admin/), sent me a link this morning:
Yes, those considerate folks up north are having a series of forums to discuss this open murder investigation to put rumors to rest. In my blog post of January 20, 2014 (“Someone should write a book”), I discussed a book written about these murders by Mardi Link. In that post, I highlight the differences in the way the Michigan State Police and other law enforcement agencies, including prosecutors, freely worked with Ms. Link to help her with her book, and the massive stonewalling that has gone on in the OCCK case.
Read about these forums those kind folk up north are having, and consider how law enforcement and officials have treated the four kids, their family and friends, and the community in the OCCK case. Consider that they shut down any legitimate discussion of this case, refuse to produce documents except under court order or threat of court order, and when they do, they are ridiculously redacted. No one bothers one bit with any thought of the reputation of Joseph Scolaro or any of his living family members. Also consider that my Dad, at close to age 90, has spoken with local women’s and men’s groups about the investigation in this case. Nobody from law enforcement is there to answer questions. The audiences are small. There is no “pre-Halloween” final forum on these murders, unlike the ghastly murder of the Robisons.
About these standing-room only forums, Link observed:
“I think it’s unprecedented,” author Mardi Link said of this year’s traveling presentations. “I don’t know of any other case where this has happened.” Link – who penned “When Evil Came to Good Hart” in 2008 and recently refreshed it for republishing this year – said she’s been struck by the size of the sold-out audiences. She thinks it’s because of how this case has resonated with the Up North community as a whole.
“People care,” she said. “This was an entire family. It wasn’t just a movie. It wasn’t a novel. It was a real family who had people who loved and cared about them.”
Really? These were four kids who had entire families who had people who loved and cared about them. They were not shot. They were held captive for days (and Kristine for weeks), tortured and then suffocated. Yet here there are no forums, no explanations, no honesty or integrity.
Consider how easy the Michigan State Police and local authorities made it for Mardi Link to write this book about an OPEN case. You can say Scolero, who died by suicide, was the obvious murderer. But you could also say that about Chris Busch, who also died by “suicide” in the OCCK case. From my previous post in 2014, based on an email I sent my family years before that:
Link explains in a web article that she had always been fascinated by the Robison case, being the same age as young Susie Robison the summer of 1968. “The self-proclaimed Court TV addict pitched the project to an editor through ‘a blind e-mail.’ ‘She responded (and) voila, I had a book contract,’ Link said. She filed Freedom of Information Act requests, obtained files from Emmet County and the Michigan State Police and interviewed Good Hart locals. The publisher’s approval came in March 2007 and by November, Link turned in the book.” http://record-eagle.com/features/x75055214/Author-fascinated-by-the-Robison-case “’I was trying to tell, from various angles, what really happened,” she said. ‘The main character of the book is really the investigation.’”
Link’s obvious conclusion that Scolaro was either the killer or the person who hired the killer(s) is one long-held by the MSP detectives who worked on this case, as well as the Emmet County Sheriff’s office. In 2002 it was announced that three pubic hairs found on Shirley Robison’s body would be retested and that her clothing would be reexamined for DNA evidence. Unfortunately, the evidence turned out to be too degraded. This result was made public.
Interesting that such a comprehensive book is written about a case that is still open. But it turns out that Link had quite a bit of help and a lot of file access.
First, in her acknowledgements, Ms. Link explains that “Sheriff Pete Wallin and Detective J. L. Sumpter of the Emmet County Sheriff’s Office graciously opened up their exhaustive records on the case and provided me with their own personal observations and wisdom, which was invaluable.” Hmm, I wonder if the B’ham , Berkley, or other local PDs would do the same in our case? “Thank you, Shannon Akans and Linda Ortiz of the Michigan State Police, for ACCESS to that agency’s WELL-ORGANIZED, BEHEMOTH FILE ON THE CASE. I am proud to be a citizen of a state that has the Michigan State Police looking out for our welfare.” [Really?!] The photographs in Ms. Link’s book are “courtesy of the Michigan State Police.” Wow. Definitely a Kool-aid drinker, but you can see why—she owes her first book to them and she is now working on a second book about a different murder. Thank god for the MSP and their willingness to provide “an open book” on the Robison murders! I bet you all sleep better knowing the MSP is looking out for your welfare.
“A Note to Readers” explains that: “This is a true story. It was written nearly forty years after the murder of the Robison family, and many of the people you will meet in these pages were deceased long before I began writing about them. METICULOUS RECORDS OF THE CASE WERE KEPT BY BOTH THE MICHIGAN STATE POLICE AND THE EMMET COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE, INCLUDING WRITTEN INTERVIEWS OF FRIENDS, FAMILY MEMBERS, BUSINESS ASSOCIATES, SUSPECTS AND OTHERS IN THE MIDST, AND ON THE FRINGES OF, THE INVESTIGATION.” Records that Ms. Link was allowed to review in this still-open investigation. This included a 300-page report which was the “result of eighteen months of meticulous police work by detectives who had investigated the Robison case.” In it all of the pertinent details were forged into a single narrative. Link describes the report:
“Here together for the first time was all of the background research, all of the interviews, the polygraph test results, the lab and autopsy results, and of course those crucial ballistics determinations. The three-hundred-page report was physically heavy, but also loaded down with human expectations. So precious was their package that to Detectives Stearns and Flis [MSP], who drove north in order to hand-deliver their report safely into the care of prosecutor Donald G. Noggle, it must have felt like they were handing over pages plated with 14-carat gold.”
Prosecutor Noggle later determined there was not enough evidence to file charges against Scolaro. State Attorney General Frank Kelley backed up Noggle’s decision.
Now, if Link can read these meticulous records, stellar written interviews and the gold-plated 300-page report in the still-open Robison murder investigation, why the fuck can’t we look at the records and whatever else they have in the still-open OCCK case?! Bring on the gold-plated power point, boys. Let’s see what you’ve got.
In 1973, the MSP and Emmet Co. sheriff went to the Oakland County Prosecutor, L. Brooks Patterson, to find a way to sidestep the Emett County prosecutor. Rumor was that OC was going to issue an arrest warrant for Joseph Scolaro based upon conspiracy to commit murder charges. When Scalaro caught wind of the imminent conspiracy charges, he offed himself in May 1973. Like Chris Busch, he ended up in the Wm R. Hamilton Funeral Home, two blocks from our family’s house in Birmingham. I wonder if he was also cremated. I’m sure it was a good option for people who had concern about hair and fingerprint evidence, just as it is today for obliterating DNA evidence not already in some database.
As previously mentioned, in 2002, Emmet Co. Sheriff Wallin asked the MSP Forensic Science Division to conduct DNA testing in the Robison case. Catch this: “Before the lab work was started, money, and a lot of it, happened to become available for tests on old DNA evidence. In March 2003, the Forensic Science Division received a $1.4 million federal grant to conduct DNA testing on cold cases. The grant allowed the Grayling laboratory to select 175 cases from around the state in which there were “existing biological samples” and to test them. The idea behind the grant was that these biological samples would be entered into CODIS (Combined DNA Indexing System), the national crime-fighting DNA database, and checked against existing records. Adding 175 new cases would also expand the scope of the database itself.” I am quite sure the OCCK case was never considered as one of the 175.
Emmett Co. detective J.L Sumpter was interviewed about the Robison case in 2007. He said: “There is just something about this case. Once you know a little bit about it, you want to know more. No, you don’t just want to know more, you have to know more. It’s like it’s contagious, and what you catch from it is obsession.”
So when you hear law enforcement and prosecutors, past and present, complaining bitterly about the books that will continue to be written about the OCCK case, about podcast and documentaries and other media coverage which might follow, ask yourself if there had been even a modicum of transparency in this case, if they would have been pitted against the public, the kids who were murdered, and against history like they will be. People who do bad things are bad people. And so are the people who cover up for them.