Already Gone is a true crime podcast hosted by Nina Innsted, a life-long Detroiter who aptly describes herself as a connector of dots. She shares “stories of the missing, the lost, the mysterious and the murdered.” Episodes 34 and 35 discuss the Oakland County Child Killer case. I ran across the podcast in the iTunes store, while looking for a different podcast. You should listen to both episodes if you have any interest in this case.
Innsted begins both episodes by strongly advising “listener discretion,” which is well-warranted. This is a ready-made horror show; a story no one could make up. It is an easy mark for a true crime podcast or a fiction book. Every single possible element of depravity and injustice is present and begging for resolution of some sort. Begging at the very least for some kind of explanation of how there are somehow no answers in this heinous case. No answers or explanations of any kind after 40-plus years and hundreds of thousands of dollars.
I have listened to other podcasts about these murders. They have been disturbing, but tired recitations of information that was contained in news and magazine articles back in the day. Some of this information we now know is erroneous and its repetition is maddening. I have to commend Innsted for her research, for reading between the lines and the courage to connect up some dots. This is made more difficult because of the refusal of Oakland County officials and the Michigan State Police to come clean and tell the public where all the money went, why the investigation ended in failure, why we should not suspect a cover up, and how they will prevent such egregious actions and errors in future investigations. It would be crazy to expect the FBI to weigh in on their involvement. All these particular agencies do is double-down in their shameful refusal to advance the case or close it and tell the public what they do know. No, these agencies much prefer the limbo that keeps any true inquiry or revelation at bay.
Innsted did a great job reading between the lines on L. Brooks Patterson and then Oakland County Medical Examiner Sillery. And no, James Vincent Gunnel’s younger brother, who Gunnels wanted “to keep out of it,” was never questioned. She focuses on the LeMans–with it’s detailed description that should have been given to the public early and often. Also, good observation about the $600,000 in federal grant money awarded to keep the task force open in 1978. If only we could get that money back and give it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Of note is the fact that, despite task force representatives saying publicly for years that there was absolutely no evidence in these cases (such a smart, fiendish killer!), a human hair was found on Mark Stebbins. DNA tests decades later (at the strong insistence of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office) showed a match between this hair and a hair found in pedophile Arch Sloan’s 1966 Pontiac Bonneville soon after the murder of Mark Stebbins. These hairs also matched a a human hair found on Tim King’s body 13 months later. (See, among other articles, “Is a political battle brewing in the Oakland County Child Killer case?,” by Heather Catallo at WXYZ Detroit, dated July 19, 2012.)
Innsted says at the conclusion of the second podcast: “Covering a story like this one, with such a significant impact on the community, came with a great deal of pressure. I wanted very much to do this case justice. I hope that I did right by these four children, Mark Stebbins, Jill Robinson, Kristine Mihelich, and Timothy King. They certainly deserve it.”
YOU DID. Thank you.
Very early this morning–like 3:30 am early, I woke up to the sound of my iPhone telling me I had messages and emails. I very briefly checked all of them. One was a very interesting email from a person who is writing a book about Fox Island. I quickly scanned it and vowed to reread it carefully later in the morning after more sleep. I do remember the person wrote that “they” are reading everything [FBI? Others who are not law enforcement?], but that she was writing me at this point anyway. Sounds like the book is close to publication.
Her email was coherent, well-written, and made sense. Quite a few of the emails I receive do not fall into those categories–at all. The part about “they” did not unduly surprise me, as we and others who have become involved along the way, have had similar experiences with computer and phone disruption, some of us at very similar times. Here’s what sucks: I get up this morning to reread that email and it is gone. Not in my trash, not in some weird folder. Couldn’t find it on my phone or computer using the search terms “Fox Island,” which appeared numerous times in the body of the email. GONE.
I need the person who sent me that email in the early morning hours today to resend that email, but more importantly to know that your email, complete with acknowledgement that someone/some entity would follow and read it, disappeared from my server. COMPLETELY DISAPPEARED. I don’t have your name. I will never again make the mistake of not printing such an email immediately. PLEASE RESEND YOUR EMAIL IF YOU CAN AND MAKE SURE YOU COPY IT TO OTHERS AS WELL.
Some of you who follow my blog and have commented in the past know what I am talking about. Phone disruptions, computer hacking. Even if this was law enforcement at some level, these are the kind of agencies and people who look first and get a search warrant second (or never). Long ago, when some of us were communicating on a different platform, we all experienced similar disruptions to cell and computer service.
Sound paranoid? It’s kind of justified. Just ask anyone who tried to look into the Franklin Scandal/Conspiracy. And I know just those three words “FRANKLIN CONSPIRACY/SCANDAL” will cause a big uptick in my stats tonight. Even from Belgium. Those Franklin guys got busted–sort of. No one involved in the horror on Fox Island ever did. Money can talk and money can shut people up. As strange as it sounds, however, the lid is starting to creak and bubble. There are a lot of people who have this on their radar all over the country and you can’t kill everybody or beat them all and toss them in psychiatric wards. You have a lot to lose, but you can’t hang on forever. You might outlast some more of us, but you can’t outlast everyone and you can’t deny the truth. No one foresaw DNA testing or the internet back in 1976-1978. You haven’t lost much sleep over this, I’m sure, but maybe you can start waking up at 3:30 am to think about this shit and where it’s going to lead. That would be only fair. You’ve had a 40-plus year reprieve.
It made me think back to an email I received from a person about a month ago, not a person who has not been previously involved but who has clearly done some interesting research, which stated, among other things:
I contacted you last year about suspicions that OCCK had mafia connections. During that time, I was hit with a DDOS attack and my iPhone was hit too. Those were weird times, and I was getting paranoid. My apologies.
Since our emails last year, I learned about . . .
Appeals of this nature are very hard to pursue due to the rigors and parameters of appellate law. Good for my Dad for pursuing it nevertheless. The legal system, the judicial system, media all involve being revictimized if you dare to stick your toe in the water. I hate that I am almost 60 years old and still expect people to do the right thing. There is one investigator who is still working the case. There are authors who are documenting what has been discovered. What we really need is a REAL investigative reporter who will pull all of this together. No short cuts, no biases, no other agenda, no deference to prosecutors and corrupt agencies like the MSP and the FBI. My Dad is right. The legal system dropped (and/or hid) the ball and made it impossible for current-day investigations to succeed. True investigative reporting can lay this all bare. The case will never be “solved” in the traditional sense (unless there is some miraculous DNA hit, which is still possible but unlikely). But it can be resolved. And those who participated in cover ups, Dirty Harry dealings and keeping a lid on mis and malfeasance will be revealed. What is concealed can be revealed. Some are banking on dropping dead before the curtain is pulled back. Some are already gone; we’ll see how your gamble works. L. Brooks Patterson, Richard Thompson, Jessica Cooper, Larry Wasser, Jane Burgess, Ray Anger, James Vincent Gunnells, Charles Busch and others. You’ve gotten really lucky so far. But you don’t deserve it and you know it. Rationalization abounds on all fronts. Shame on all of you.
I have just spent hours going through my blog comments. First, I want to thank everyone who had the courage to comment. Second, I want to apologize to so many who sent a comment to which I did not respond. Originally, I was not going to accept any comments. I really didn’t care what others thought–this was about my experience with this nightmare. I settled on a system where I have to “approve” a comment. Trust me, that helped all of us. It’s why I don’t accept calls from unknown numbers. Life it too short, and some people are too horrible. Also, it gives me the ability to receive information marked “do not publish” and to obscure/edit the names/emails of people who I know might be subject to being hassled.
For a long, long time, my life was in a place where literally all I could do is hit “approve” to your comment. I couldn’t respond. Seriously. You wouldn’t understand unless you suffer from PTSD. Most of the time, all is relatively good. But shit like this can grab you like a shark from down below. You are just swimming along . . . and then . . . you are fucked. I know, you might think that only happens to 18-year-olds stuck in some fire-fight in Viet Nam, but try spending a week with cops living with you 24/7 for 6 days while your brother is missing when pedophile/killers are on the loose in a county in Michigan where they can’t get their shit together to make an arrest for 13 months–OR EVER. Then try spending the rest of your life without anyone acknowledging what you went through and then suffering though the cops needing your “input.” This our personal Viet Nam. Then try being cast as total assholes by law enforcement for asking questions and demanding answers. I try not to be a hater, but it takes so much effort.
One of the common themes of comments and emails I have received over the years is “Your anger is justified.” YA THINK??? HEY, LAW ENFORCEMENT–READ THIS ENTIRE BLOG, ESPECIALLY THE COMMENTS!!! A LOT OF THESE PEOPLE WENT TO THE COPS AND WERE BLOWN OFF!!! You are just getting around to this? Seriously?!
I was thinking the other night, after emails from someone who was ignored by the police back in the day: After everything all of us have been through–the families of the OCCK and other child victims from back in the heyday of child pornography and murder–can’t we just have the truth? THE FUCKING TRUTH, YOU DIRTY BASTARDS?? Apparently, that is asking too much.
I believe some in law enforcement decided back in the day that they knew better than we did. That they were going to take care of business. That justice couldn’t be served up in Oakland County and fuck all the rest of you. No more kids go missing and you families can just eat it for the rest of your lives. Yeah, you guys with your combined IQ of 110. Nice work. That was back in the day when these guys literally got away with a lot of shit, including murder. Power of the badge–maybe even especially in the suburbs, where y’all wanted to feel extra safe.
Email me at email@example.com if you have information, even if the cops blew you off. I will make it public if you want. If you want it kept in confidence, I will honor that. I have my mojo back. Let’s go.
Books area on the horizon. They will have biases, as you can imagine. Think about setting a Google Alert for Oakland County Child Killer. That should do it. If you want a copy of Decades of Deceit, send check for $20 to The Tim King Fund (benefits abused children) to 1509 Yorkshire Road, Birmingham, MI, 48009. If you can’t afford, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will make sure you get a copy.
Again, to all of you who sent comments, even if I disagree with you, thank you for stepping up. To those of you who need to read this entire blog–mostly the comments–get started.
I will start with what is most important. To the person who sent this comment to my blog, please contact me asap at email@example.com. More in the next post.
“Hi Cathy,I was a teenager in Detroit at the time and my father had a stamp and coin store at Eastland Shopping Center. One of his customers was E. Harwood Rydholm, a big executive at Chrysler. Mr. Rydholm told my dad that the OCCK was the son of a powerful GM exec and that the police were protecting GM’s reputation so he probably wouldn’t be arrested. Mr. Rydholm passed away in 1987. The ghastly part is that Mr. Rydholm told my father this shortly after Kristine Mihelich went missing.
Watch the new Netflix true crime documentary The Keepers. Still think priests, cops, businessmen and senators didn’t/don’t do this stuff? That there are never cover ups? That prosecutors always do the right thing? That people forget about crimes that happened over forty years ago? And ask yourself why the Oakland County Child Killer case stays in the shadows to this day. The women who came forward in this case are strong and brave, even more so in the face of such manipulative criminals and those who protected them.
Forty years ago today, yes FORTY YEARS, my family learned, via a news ticker at the bottom of a black and white screen of the Johnny Carson Show, that the body of a young boy had been found on the side of Gill Road in Wayne County, Michigan. My brother, the fourth (known) victim of the Oakland County Child Killer(s), had been missing for six days. The other three known victims had been found on roadsides in Oakland County. My Mom and I, who were in the living room with the t.v. on, knew what this news ticker meant. One or two hours later, cops showed up, along with our parish priest, and we knew what we already knew–that my brother was dead. While it took decades to actually see an autopsy report (and it took a t.v. show to get us additional notes from that very sad autopsy), we knew in our hearts what had happened during the week my brother Tim was held captive and tortured.
To those who think they are “sparing” the family by lying to them and concealing information, I say: Fuck you. Fuck you, and your lies, and your rationalization and the selling of your souls. Fuck you who didn’t come forward; fuck you who blew off people who did come forward, who you knew deserved more consideration and still blew off; fuck you who took calls from H. Lee Busch and Larry Wasser and living relatives of the attorney who represented Chris Busch and blew us families off. Fuck the judges in Oakland County who let pedophiles off the hook with nary a slap on the wrist then and now. Fuck you who lied to my Dad and the other parents of victims of the Oakland County Child Killer(s). Fuck you then, and fuck you now.
The investigation is over. The current investigators don’t have the balls to say that for public consumption. Maybe they are waiting for a chance to investigate on their own or for book or movie deals. Fuck you, too. You are no more entitled to closure than we are.
Forty years. Active investigation? Get real. You keep it “active” so nobody can get all of the relevant documents. It is not an active investigation. It is a BOTCHED investigation.
This past week, Ray Anger, a Berkley PD member who was always “close” to this investigation, died. None of us lives forever. Isn’t that right, L. Brooks Patterson and Richard Thompson?