“The previously unreported infighting between prosecutors and detectives illustrates how official missteps fueled years of false turns and dysfunction as the infamous killing spree remained unsolved.”
This is so tragic and maddening on so many levels, not the least of which is that suspect Rex Heuermann continued to contact sex workers while this clusterfuck of an investigation dragged on for over a decade, and he probably continued to kill.
Here are a few contrasts between the Gilgo Beach investigation and the OCCK investigation.
While the police and prosecutors clashed in the Gilgo Beach investigation, at least they interacted! L. Brooks Patterson and Richard Thompson washed their hands of the OCCK investigation, beginning to back down and skulk away soon after Kristine Mihelich’s body was found, and certainly after my brother was abducted and murdered. The various prosecutors over the years were actually involved in the Gilgo Beach case, even as it turned cold. (Can’t give a pass to the two prosecutors who helped cover up Police Chief James Burke’s beating a shackled suspect who stole Burke’s sex toys and porn from his truck during the height of the investigation, however.)
Heuermann’s arrest “came quickly” after a new district attorney took office last year. He assigned a task force from four law enforcement agencies, who conducted a comprehensive review of every item of evidence and information in this investigation. What must that be like?? What the literal fuck?
How much must Patterson and Thompson enjoyed the keystone cop action going on between the local Oakland County PDs and the Michigan State Police? Did the prosecutor ever step in and demand that all of the agencies share information (here’s looking at you, Oakland County Sheriff’s Department–then and now)? The history of the prosecutor’s office in the OCCK case is the definition of lack of leadership (and that’s the best that can be said of it). Patterson was all too happy to let this case twist in the wind at the MSP and his successors continued to look the other way. It defies legitimate explanation.
Patterson was never held to account. He and his chief deputy simply waited it out, knowing the killings were stopped, and then they moved on in their careers and their lives. When you damage so many people, is your own life damaged? Or do you just keep climbing to the top of the next dog pile? The four OCCK victims mattered not in the face of the reputations of these pigs.
Have you ever done something so terrible, so heinous, that for the rest of your unindicted, unexamined life you tell yourself and your version of a god that you will do right in the future, you will make up for this horrible error in judgment, this lapse in ethics, this criminality, every single day of your life? Or do you just give up after a time; fuck it, what’s done is done?
I wonder what that must be like. It might drive a man to heavy drink. Or radical and cruel religious views. Either way, it’s not enough. It’s sickening to even think about.