Here is another set of documents concerning Chris Busch, submitted by the Michigan State Police in response to a FOIA request. These are documents concerned with charges of First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct against Christopher Busch, filed in Montmorency, MI. The warrant for his arrest is dated January 30, 1976 (before Mark Stebbins was abducted). You will recall that Busch always was sprung from the clink by his father, Daddy Warbucks, despite the fact that first degree CSC carries a penalty of life imprisonment. In late January 1977 Busch got sprung from jail in Flint on other CSC offenses for $1,000. My brother was kidnapped on March 16, 1977 and his body found on March 22, 1977.
Sorry about the quality of the copies–the set I have is borderline illegible in places. The two “blank” pages were completely redacted/withheld by the MSP, for reasons they did not give. That level of FOIA compliance was apparently not included in their low, low price of $11,000-plus. Check out not only the substance of these documents, but also the dates.
It’s no surprise that Busch met with an untimely end. If you’ve read my entire blog, you have seen the photos from the Busch “suicide” scene. Here are photos bearing annotations by someone who was in law enforcement and clearly has more common sense than anyone on the Bloomfield Township PD or the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s office.
So, how to make sense of Busch and Green and all of the many pedophiles operating in and around Oakland County during the time Mark, Jill, Kristine and Tim were abducted and murdered? And why is it that no one in law enforcement has ever made sense of all of this? And who made sure back in the day that there would always be more questions than answers?
A family friend read the documents provided by the Michigan State Police in response to my Dad’s FOIA request. He is retired from law enforcement. After reading the documents, he compiled this document in the format of a probable cause case against Busch, Green and Gunnels, in which he carefully outlined the evidence and cross-referenced it to the FOIA documents. We used it to compile questions for the task force. There is no date on the document–I could go back into my emails to figure it out, but it must have predated the magic Sloan vehicle hair-disinformation/reelection campaign press conference in 2012. After that, all bets were on someone affiliated with Sloan and his Bonneville. That is, until it comes time to admit they won’t do further DNA testing on the relevant hairs. But that bought them a few more years of spin.
The document does not evaluate, nor does it preclude, other scenarios such as a “group killing” (multiple pedophiles and child traffickers involved in each abduction/captivity/rape/murder), a cop being involved, a pornography ring. If you want to find a way to put all the players on the chessboard in addition to Busch, Green and Gunnels (Lamborgine, Sloan, John H., a cop, child pornographers and pedophiles as yet unnamed), it is easy enough to do. There just isn’t the kind of proof that is set forth here implicating Busch and Green in the FOIA documents. Remember that NONE of this was looked at back in the day. Green ratted out Busch for the murder of Mark Stebbins in January 1977. Both were polygraphed by Ralph Cabot at the MSP Post in Flint and CLEARED on the basis of the polygraph, one month before my brother was abducted and murdered. Done deal. All this shit came to light after November 2007.
I think you will find the document very illuminating. Maybe some of you, like the cops, think this is all a big coincidence. See what you think.
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 lot has changed since 1976 and 1977. Work computers to log and quantify data. Home computers and laptops. The internet. Cell phones and cameras. DNA testing. MtDNA testing. Police body cameras. Surveillance cameras. Fingerprint databases. Child Pornography databases. Sex offender registries. Ancestry databases and GEDmatch.
But before Facebook (2004) and podcasts (late 2004), and before America’s obsession with true crime stories (2009, 2020-01-11_191038), cold case forums started cropping up on the internet. No longer relegated to the one-way street of t.v. shows about murders and unsolved crimes, people could now discuss cases, mostly unsolved cases, compare notes, ask questions and vent frustrations. Web sleuthing began.
In March 2001, Todd Matthews, then the ColdCases Moderator/Media Director for Doenetwork & Outpost for Hope, posted a site called “1976-77 Oakland County Child Slayings.” The site began with the unedited transcript segments from Helen Dagner, who claimed to know the killer. In it, Dagner describes months of conversations she had with a man John in 1991. Take a look.
John was investigated in Alpena, MI in 1992, and he walked. Although the FOIA request my family would file more than a decade later was confined to file information about Christopher Busch and Greg Green, the case file on John was included, so I know he was investigated then and again in 2009. The records are quite detailed. After 1992, John moves to Atlanta, Georgia and Helen continues her own investigation.
Helen later started her own forums about the OCCK crimes. For example, http://cloakdagner.proboards.com/, and http://cloakdagner.proboards.com/thread/251/archives-oakland-county-child-murders. This case also was discussed on the forum Topix, back when that site allowed some pretty unbridled bad shit to go on. Some posters on Topix were threatening, crude and/or crazy. It was the early days of hiding behind a screen name. John’s full name, John Hastings, appeared on Topix. Helen took no prisoners. If you didn’t think John was involved, you were in for a fight. Unfortunately, she lied when she thought it helped her cause. This caused distrust with police as well as some who were interested in helping her out.
Helen died in November of 2018. There are lots of Helen stories out there and trust me, I got kicked in the face as hard as anybody out there. NO comments below, please, about your opinion, history or run-ins with Helen or Topix war stories. I will delete them. That’s not the point here.
The OCCK case stayed alive because of Helen Dagner. It did; sorry if you disagree. Back when many people over 50 could barely navigate their at-home emails, Helen went public with her story online after the police dusted her off. When I read the comments/updates on Todd Matthew’s site, I was really alarmed. Say what you want at that point about John as either suspect, participant or lying sack of shit, those comments carried one basic theme: Oakland County wants this case to go away for good. Thanks for the tip, now get lost.
Here’s something pretty awesome. Helen would monitor who was on her site(s) and for how long. She sent me many pages showing visitors from Oakland County government and the MSP. Here is an example–while this one is somewhat primitive, the IP address reports were much improved down the road, and quite informative. 2020-01-11_190906
Once the task force was “revitalized,” Helen had many discussions/communications with Dets. Gray and Robertson. Like it or not, Helen had some good sources and some of them were law enforcement. She never revealed her sources. A few of us have racked our brains trying to remember where that OCCK blonde suspect sketch came from. We just remember we saw or got it through Helen.
When I first read Helen’s 2001 “testimony” on Todd’s site in 2006, I sent a copy to a friend who was a private investigator/polygrapher (previously a police officer and a police chief). I also included copies of many newspaper articles about my brother’s case, as well as correspondence retired Det./Sgt. Jack Kalbfleisch had given me concerning the LeMans information that was never made public. I begged my friend for his opinion. He got back to me in May 2006. Regarding Helen, he said: “Cathy, a person can be crazy and still be right.”
Regarding the failures of the MSP, he told me had often crossed paths with polygraphers from the MSP and polygraph conferences and thought they had a good reputation. He said he was going to a polygraph conference in Las Vegas in a few weeks and would ask about this new task force and get a feel for whether they were really on to something, or spending money making more rabbit holes.
At this point I said, this is probably a long-shot, but I have a childhood friend who is a polygrapher in California. He lived across the street from where we lived and knew my brother Tim and our entire family. I told him if he crossed paths with Patrick Coffey, Patrick would be able to tell him more about my brother. The phone went silent and my friend said “Patrick Coffey? Patrick filled in to help teach a polygraph course in Idaho with me recently.” My friend went on to explain that Patrick was a really good guy, and that at the last minute he was subbed in for another guy who couldn’t teach that week. Michigan–Idaho–California. What are the odds?
In July I received a call from my friend. He sounded pretty freaked out. He said he had met up with Patrick at the polygraph conference and would be calling me asap and that I needed to take the call. He assured me that what Patrick had to say was very important and to listen carefully.
I learned that when my friend approached Patrick at the conference, he told him they had a mutual friend–me. Patrick had hours before encountered Larry Wasser, a Southfield, MI, polygrapher who told him he had crossed paths with the man who killed my brother. So when I keep saying on my blog that the Universe wants this case solved, I don’t know how much more evidence you all need. It took time, but eventually we got the name of the man Wasser was speaking of. Christopher Brian Busch.
For more about this background, see After the Snow: The Oakland County Child Murders and the Search for the Killer, a master’s thesis written by Julia Cianci. Julia was completing her MFA in nonfiction writing and a mutual friend suggested we talk. Julia spent hours talking with me, face-to-face and online. She was the only person who would listen to me and to this day, the only person who asked me open-ended questions. Her thesis explains how I got involved with Helen Dagner. The thesis ended long before the case blew up. Julia was kind enough to get permission from her professors to keep the dissertation “closed” and unpublished online for a few years so as not to jeopardize the investigation. I see that it has been downloaded over 5,000 times since 2009. https://scholarworks.uno.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1139&context=td *Some names were changed to protect identities. Some people who had come forward were not treated very well.
Christopher Brian Busch lived .4 miles from Helen’s suspect, John Hastings. https://www.google.com/maps/dir/200+Tuckahoe+Rd,+Bloomfield+Hills,+MI+48301/3310+Morningview+Terrace,+Bloomfield+Hills,+MIfirstname.lastname@example.org,-83.2603178,16.59z/data=!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x8824b87d26709c65:0x636822e21f0af1fd!2m2!1d-83.260512!2d42.5465639!1m5!1m1!1s0x8824b87ddd93e267:0xfdb882e950f57413!2m2!1d-83.256392!2d42.547208
I pointed this out to Detective Williams on December 27, 2007. 2020-01-11_191155
Investigators later went to Atlanta and spoke with John Hastings again on August 10, 2009. He was again sent on his way. 2020-01-11_191303
His DNA does not match the hairs found on Mark, Tim, Krisine, and in Sloan’s 1966 Bonneville. I don’t know that he ever took the polygraph to be set up by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
This is the point of my post: If Helen Dagner had not kept after this, no one would really be the wiser about how this case got “handled” in the past. I would have never known enough to be very careful with that polygrapher tip. It would have gotten buried and we would have heard more of the same: Too bad, so sad, we just can’t wrap this case up. Ted Lamborgine, Richard Lawson, Arch Sloan, Christopher Busch, Greg Green, Vince Gunnels, David Norberg, Todd Warszchycha, John Hastings, John McKinney. Just names on a whodunit dance card.
Millions of dollars to create more rabbit holes. “You can be crazy and still be right.” And you can be smart and still be wrong.
Thanks to a reader for sending the following information about James Vincent Gunnels, victim and companion of Christopher Busch and Greg Greene.
As of December 16, Gunnels’ status with the Michigan Department of Corrections is “Absconder from Parole,” from Kalamazoo, Michigan. He is on parole for sale/delivery of meth.
Gunnels is the epitome of the child rape victim described in the June 17, 1977 editorial from the Traverse City Record-Eagle I posted yesterday. Emotionally and spiritually murdered, unable to erase emotional scars, may turn to lives of crime, drug addiction or prostitution. 2019-12-30_191653
None of Gunnels’ criminal history involves prostitution or violence of any kind to children. He has steadfastly maintained he knows nothing about the OCCK crimes. Another victim of Busch and Greene, (two years younger than Gunnels, who was born in 1961) who was also used as a lure to get kids close enough to abduct, was very forthcoming with investigators in March of 2008. He told investigators that Busch had him perform oral sex on a boy that Busch had brought down from up north and stated that it was the same boy that the police showed him a picture of in 1977 that was dead and identified the boy in 2008 as Tim King. 2019-12-31_083622. This victim also told police Busch kept handcuffs and a pistol in his car. He was clearly afraid of both Busch and Greene, as I’m sure Gunnels was.
But unlike this victim, Gunnels is saying nothing. As criminologist, Dr. Michael Arntfield opined in a recent podcast, these people, including Ted Lamborgine and Arch Sloan, are probably not talking out of fear of a person or people in high places, or their legacy. https://www.spreaker.com/user/jreubenappelman/episode6final. Gunnels was a minor when the OCCK crimes took place. He has had multiple chances to be honest, but he will never go there.
There is a lot about Vince Gunnels online and I have discussed him at length in my blog. Here’s a little more about Vince Gunnels.
And from 2012:
And from 2014:
When I find the transcript of a prison phone call recorded between Vince and his sister, provided in response to a FOIA request, I will post it. You can read it and decide for yourself if Detective O’Dell’s “license and registration, please” response noted above isn’t just a little defensive for good reason.