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.
You might be wondering, why the flurry of posts? I have been searching for my notes of my discussions with “Sebastian” after a reader posted a really valid comment after watching Children of the Snow. I can’t find the notes–I have allowed many people access to my information and while I have no regrets about that, the information is never, ever returned the same way I gave it. I will respond to the comment later by memory. In the meantime I have found so many documents that cry out to be made public.
First, the friendly letter from Assistant FOIA Coordinator Linda Ortiz dated January 12, 2010, describing the deal they will give my Dad on non-exempt records relating to Chris Busch and Greg Green. This was after my Dad and my brother had filed a FOIA request and then a lawsuit when the MSP initially told them to fuck off. At least the $11,525.49 was less than the $800,000 figure quoted to web sleuth Helen Dagner when she requested documents on the entire OCCK case.
Next, my notes on the first two big binders of documents. In a classic penny-wise, pound-foolish fashion, no one would agree with me that we should make two sets of copies of the documents so that one would stay in pristine order and the second could be reviewed simultaneously. No, the one set would be parsed out–a few binders at a time. When I was done reading, I could return and then the next set would be sent. In fairness, the $11K sticker shock might have influenced this. However, over the years many people from then news media, authors , videographers and podcasters have been given access to the documents. Again, this is ultimately for a greater good, but it means some chunks of documents end up out of order and then a big search has to happen to locate them.
The numbers I reference are the Bates stamps placed at the bottom of the FOIA pages when they were received by the law firm. As always, despite the $41.33/hour and $66.63/hour the MSP allegedly paid staff to separate exempt and non-exempt materials, there are numerous redaction errors. Names show up that maybe shouldn’t and probably many pages which were really not exempt were excluded from production.
But what is contained in those FOIA documents, even with redactions, is pretty eye-opening. This is just a sample of my notes.
An investigation by The New York Times took a deep look into the disturbing and horrifying explosion of pictures online of children being sexually abused. This investigation found an insatiable criminal underworld that had exploited the flawed and insufficient efforts to contain the sick and twisted adults who post and seek out images and videos of children being tortured, raped and assaulted.
In 1998, there were over 3,000 reports of child sexual abuse imagery online. In 2018, there were 18.4 million such reports, including over 45 million images and videos flagged as child sexual abuse. “Law enforcement agencies devoted to the problem were left understaffed and underfunded even as they were asked to handle far larger caseloads.”
“[I]nstead of trying to crack down on this horrific epidemic, many people just choose to look the other way:
Some state lawmakers, judges and members of Congress have refused to discuss the problem in detail, or have avoided attending meetings and hearings when it was on the agenda, according to interviews with law enforcement officials and victims.
Lack of funding, lack of interest and expanding demands by sick fucks spells an explosion in child sex abuse and child pornography. I think of people who knew or suspected what Frank Shelden and Gerald Richards were up to in the 1970’s and said nothing, and what neighbors of Chris Busch knew and kept to themselves. Nice work allowing the sexual abuse of children to multiply due to your silence/complicity.
And keep your eyes wide open when you contemplate this article describing the open gate for pedophiles on “YouTube’s Digital Playground.” (On YouTube’s Digital Playground, an Open Gate for Pedophiles, by Max Fisher and Amanda Taub, The New York Times, June 3, 2019.) These sick fuckers are EVERYWHERE. Thank you to a dear friend for sending these articles which are truly disturbing wake up calls. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/03/world/americas/youtube-pedophiles.html
The Investigation Discovery documentary about the Oakland County Child Murders Children of the Snow, which first aired in February this year on the ID channel, will air on Hulu beginning October 1. This will be a way to reach a larger audience perhaps. We all know all it takes is one person to come forward and tell the truth for a case to be blown wide open.
Thank you to a reader who pointed me to yet another podcast about the OCCK case. This one is quite good. Check out the two-part series on Crime Junkies, https://crimejunkiepodcast.com/conspiracy-north-fox-island-the-oakland-county-child-killer-part-1/ and https://crimejunkiepodcast.com/conspiracy-north-fox-island-the-oakland-county-child-killer-part-2/. The other excellent podcast on this case is the long form podcast Don’t Talk to Strangers, by Nina Innsted. https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/dont-talk-to-strangers-nina-innsted-MFEovfjK9Q7/ I’ve mentioned Nina’s podcast numerous times.
Both of these podcasts stand in stark contrast to the recitation of Wikipedia “facts” and the “if you wanted the fucking facts, go somewhere else” approach of some other crime podcasts dealing with this case. Bigger picture, which really helps. Say what you want about Fox Island and any intersection with the OCCK, it is fairly obvious that the approach to Fox Island allowed many criminals to go free and to continue to victimize children and at a minimum affected how the OCCK case was investigated. Police, prosecutors and judges in Michigan preferred the head-in-the-sand approach and giving rich people a Get Out of Jail Free card. Children were simply collateral damage, even if they ended up in the morgue. Oops. Should have taken some of those other complaints seriously and moved on them more quickly and publicly I guess. I will give them this; their approach gave them almost 35 years of cover. And they still might win in the end.
As I listened to Crime Junkies today I was again struck again by the perverseness of the failures of the legal system when it came to Frank Shelden and his cronies and to Chris Busch and his family. Relatives of these men who benefitted by way of inheritance from these monsters should be making charitable donations to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the name of all Michigan children living and dead. Or maybe in the names of the honest cops who got fucked over by the old guard of the MSP and Brooks Patterson and Dick Thompson (who thought they knew better than everyone how to make this all go away). Not guilt by association mind you, but Karma seems especially important here if you ask me.
People still express interest in the DVDs prepared by my Dad called Decades of Deceit. Dissemination has always been cumbersome and my attempts to deal with that have not worked out very well. I will point out that the DVDs are now five years old, for what that’s worth. We need to get them up on Youtube. I am still trying to get many of the FOIA documents accessible online as well. Wish me luck. As is the case with shit that is painful, everyone moves at their own pace. My suggestions can’t really be turned into demands given the circumstances.
Here is an email I received today, September 5, 2019, from a woman who called the Michigan State Police tip line and has yet to receive a call back. I have edited it to omit last names and addresses for publication here. I got her permission to post it, with the edits. It is one of quite a few I have received over the past few months from people who have been blown off after calling the tip line. Emails quite similar to this one.
Hi Mr. King & Cathy,
I still haven’t heard back from MSP. I left a message on the tip line, 833-784-9425 on 8/18/19. I will call again.
Maybe my story is nothing, but maybe it’s something that can lead to a resolution. I’ve always felt the man was the OCCK so who knows. I’ll tell you what I remember, and if you have questions, please do ask. Being it was so long ago, my memory is faded, but the little I’m sharing is forever etched in my brain, clear as day.
Our experience happened in the winter of 1977-78 in Troy, several months after Timmy’s murder. Near Long Lake & John R Rds. We were 7/8 years old respectively at the time. Unfortunately I don’t recall the exact month; I do know it was the first winter after we moved to Troy (from Royal Oak in March 1977) because we had lots of snow, so it would’ve been somewhere between November 1977 – March 1978.
My friend Eddie & I were playing on the big wooded hills around a frozen pond in a huge field/woods at the end of Tucker Rd, which at the time was a dead-end gravel road. It was near where Wass Elementary was built later in 1978. (See attached map) This field, woods, hills & pond are now all long gone and since have been replaced with subdivision homes.
We were dressed in winter gear, snow pants, etc. and sliding down the hills onto the frozen pond. We’d climb back up the hills, and slide back down. We did this for hours. At one point, I had slid down and Eddie was still at the top of the hill. He said to me, “San, San!” and was pointing towards the other side of the pond from where we entered. I thought he meant he was going to go over that way, so I told him to wait for me. More panicked and still pointing, he said, “San, no, there’s a guy over there!”
I looked and there was a man standing at the edge of the pond, just standing there staring at us. He was wearing a dark army green winter coat with an attached hood that came out all around the face with fur around the edge. I couldn’t see his face but distinctly remember his very dark brown, almost black bushy beard that stuck out. He had his hands in his coat pockets and just stood there staring at us. It was very creepy.
I don’t remember, but I’m pretty certain he never came towards us or even moved.
Eddie slid down the hill to me and we hightailed it back to my mom’s house. We were really upset and freaked out; we really believed we almost got kidnapped. I was sick to my stomach over it, and shook up for days. Why didn’t my mom call the police? I don’t know. Maybe because he didn’t actually say anything or approach us, or maybe she thought we were being overdramatic kids with wild imaginations.
But that experience always stuck with me, to this day. I never reached out to law enforcement before because I doubted it was relevant even though I always felt in my heart it was the OCCK.
As I said in my previous email, when I watched the WDIV docuseries on the OCCK last month and learned who Christoher Busch was, and saw his picture, the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I instantly recalled that day in the woods as a child. I felt that was the same guy even though I never saw his face. I called the MSP tip line that very night because I felt that sure.
Again, maybe my experience is nothing or irrelevant to this case, but maybe the OCCK killer had ties to Troy that detectives never explored before. I just had to share this with you, just in case it does lead to something. I’ve never shared this with anyone else except my mom.
Again, I am so terribly sorry for your & your family’s loss of Timmy. I will continue to pray that they solve this case and your family can have some peace. I know closure is something that never really comes, but I wish you both love, light and peace.
So maybe the information this woman has is of no help. And, really, how could it be since the state police NEVER digitized the case files or any of the tips in this case? I can guarantee you someone else will reach out to me after reading this and describe a similar situation with a similar man wearing the same type of coat. There is just no way local law enforcement didn’t know who Christopher Busch was before and after the OCCK murders. Small towns–Bloomfield Village, Birmingham–back then the cops knew everything about everybody. And as I have described in past posts, the schadenfreude the cops must have experienced over this fucking freak who was born into wealth and was the son of a GM exec truly precludes any legitimate discussion that Chris Busch was never on the radar for exposing himself to kids, taking polaroids, filming child porn and then raping boys, long before Mark Stebbins went missing.
Some have made the mistake of assuming, because he was an obese, unkempt slob that he wasn’t smart enough to commit or be involved in these abductions and murders. I remember a few years after Busch’s name came to public light in 2006 and 2007 that two men who had known him told a relative of another victim that they always thought Busch was the OCCK and that he was really smart. The bad kind of smart. If you are reading this and knew Busch back in the day and have anything to offer beyond “hey, nice guy, not suicidal, good cook, friend to all–except my young son can’t be near him,” please comment here.
And speaking of “there is no way,” as I took a little walk down a horrifying memory lane this morning, there is NO WAY John Hastings did not know Chris Busch. That was a lie he told police, among other lies he has told along the way. They lived right around the corner from each other in the same little neighborhood, Bloomfield Village. They were about the same age. They were both losers in their late-20’s, underachieving and living off of their parents in a swanky little hood. I’m guessing trafficking in kids and child porn paid pretty good money compared to working at restaurants.
But back to the email, above. Notice she feels bad about reaching out to us. Even bad about contacting police, although she clearly has no faith in them. Are you telling me a person like this does not warrant a call back, if even to thank her for her time and a short explanation of how the information can/cannot be used? They are probably thinking “yeah, Oakland County was crawling with pedophiles and creeps in that era, there’s nothing we could do then or now about it.” I’ll tell you what people like me are thinking: Start answering that fucking tip line and at least pretend to do your job. Sure, most of the information is at this point not actionable, but just a little time and effort may connect the dots in a way you don’t expect. That is, if you want to connect the dots.