Newport Beach police announced the arrest of the man who kidnapped, sexually assaulted and strangled 11-year-old Linda Ann O’Keefe in July 1973. This was yet another solve made through family tree DNA.
Linda’s case involved nuclear DNA (semen), which was obviously stored correctly during the intervening 45 years. In the OCCK case the first three autopsies were conducted by a medical examiner who was completely ill-equipped to handle any autopsy, let alone a murder. There is only mitochondrial DNA, from hairs which were MISLABELED, misfiled and probably stored poorly for decades. Someone asked me the question even if mtDNA gets thousands of hits, can’t they still do that and then cross-reference with the top 20 suspects? Good question.
One of the above articles describes how a picture of Linda hangs in the Newport Beach Police Department for all to see. I bet the Newport Beach PD didn’t make jokes about the investigation into her murder or hack on her remaining family members. The culture of a law enforcement agency DOES make a difference.
A reader had questions and suggestions about Sloan’s Bonneville. There certainly would be ways to figure out the relative of the MSP trooper who bought that vehicle, as well as get a list of everyone employed by the MSP at that time to figure out whose relative bought that car. Yet again we are faced with a double-standard. The Sloan vehicle is important–but not that important. Mitochondrial DNA is awesome when it is from the hairs found on Tim and Mark and allegedly also found in Sloan’s car, but no good when it is mtDNA found on Kristine’s body.
Another reader asked about client/membership lists from N. Fox Island. To my knowledge, Gerald Richards destroyed all those documents before police got to Frank Shelden’s office to take a look. The very small MSP file I saw on the investigation into Shelden listed four or five men who had received communications from the sick fuck Shelden. Of course their names were redacted. I remember one was a bank exec, one was a principal and one was a parole officer. They had no idea!! what Shelden was up to–they were just donating to the boy’s nature camp. If these men are still alive, someone in LE should pay them a visit. If I ever get ahold of unreacted copies, I will publish them on this blog. Back in the day there would have been a way to look at who was involved and figure out if anyone from law enforcement was participating or covering up. But the FBI clearly preempted the MSP and, as most of you will recall, their records on Fox Island were lost in a “catastrophic flood.” As one of the victims of those animals at N. Fox Island said, you have to have a lot of money to play that game–exclusive rights to go up to the island while young boys were “at camp.” You know there were some bigwigs on that list and they lived double lives. Animals.
If you have any information or even suspicions, PLEASE call the tip line at 833-784-9425. I’m sure the police can keep your name out of any discussion they have with a suspect or his family and associates. One of my readers made the point that time is of the essence. Act while there are still momentum and pressure in these cases. This is probably it.
Call the tip line even if you have spoken to police multiple times before. Posting here or emailing me just adds another step to the process. Tonight the Investigation Discovery show “Children of the Snow” airs. It is a four hour series airing tonight and tomorrow night. The case will get world-wide exposure, not just in metro Detroit.
Nothing I say to police will advance your lead. You have to get up the courage and call the tip line. If you don’t hear back, then you can email me and I will put you in touch with other documentarians working on this case. I don’t have police powers. I can’t research your lead. I don’t have access to police files. I only have access to the $11,000 worth of redacted documents the Michigan State Police deemed compliant with FOIA requests. I have no sway with police. The necessity of this blog has ensured that.
Whoever did this has had his lived his life for over 40 years with no repercussions. His family has been able to move on without any repercussions. Was it not obvious in the WDIV series what this has done to the families of the victims in this case? Get your shit together and call the tip line. Don’t email me about how you know people in Michigan who killed kids and fed them to their dogs. What am I supposed to do with that information?
A couple of readers have mentioned that Fox Island is muddying the waters here. Probably so. Frank Shelden and Fox Island sell books and shows. I do think it is relevant as background for how the Detroit area law enforcement and media handled situations involving people with money and put men who were criminals ahead of children. While the Traverse City Record-Eagle was publishing a multi-part investigative series about Shelden and Fox Island in 1976-1978, the Detroit area media hardly touched it. And it WAS relevant to the general discussion at the time because it was going on at the same time the OCCK was hunting kids. But the MSP and Oakland County controlled the narrative. And that narrative helped keep the case from ever being solved.
But why not take a page from the two courageous men who described going to Fox Island back in the day as boys? They were filmed constantly while they “skinny dipped,” and one of them was physically violated. They spoke on camera. IF THEY CAN DO THIS, YOU CAN LEAVE A TIP IN THE OCCK CASE ON A RECORDED PHONE LINE.
DNA technology is constantly evolving. The needle in the haystack is easier to find if there is a name. Thus far the source of the DNA in this case is not in any data base or police files. This case has been unfairly elevated to one where only DNA will be accepted as a way to solve the case. Give police a name so we can get over this hurdle.
Busch–total slob and monied, worthless fat fuck. I agree, a kid probably wouldn’t go with him. But the fact is he approached many kids–males and females, and raped many boys. Lots of people also saying that the Busch lead derailed the investigation. Again–look at the larger theme. If he wasn’t involved, why did someone murder him and try to frame him as the OCCK? Why didn’t the prosecutor pick up the phone and tell the families about this back in the day? That answer is obvious. H. Lee Busch was going to make sure that never happened. But what did happen? Over the decades, cops mentioned this suspect–the son of a wealthy GM exec–to people on the street. It came up in conversations in bars and in stores. The name bubbled to the surface again in 2006–of course it eventually did. Officials would gladly talk about David Norberg, Ted Lamborgine and many other potential suspects in the press, but Busch and Green? No way! Something really stinks in this investigation and I hope that becomes more obvious after the ID show airs. Misfeasance or malfeasance? See for yourself. Either way, it didn’t work out for Mark, Jill, Kris and Tim.
Tonight and tomorrow the case will reach a worldwide audience. But in a few weeks, this will all die down and go away. Oakland County is banking on that. SO PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL IN YOUR INFORMATION EVEN IF YOU HAVE SPOKEN TO POLICE BEFORE. 833-784-9425.
How interesting this will be in comparison/contrast to the footage on WDIV’s look into the child killings. Glad people went on the record.
Last night WDIV/Local 4 Detroit aired a primetime special called “Child Killer,” examining the history of the Oakland County child killer case. You can access the special here:
The five-part docuseries is also available. Access this link and then scroll down and click on the individual chapters.
Thank you to Senior Producer Jeremy Allen and his staff, as well as to Investigative Reporter Kevin Dietz, for your obvious hard work. You didn’t go down any rabbit holes and you presented important parts of this story. The public needs to know. Hopefully someone comes forward and the tips are scrupulously investigated. I also thank all who participated by being interviewed. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for anybody. But there is something important about being honest about the past. That in itself is a tribute to the child victims who never had a voice in what happened to them or how the story has been told. The film from back in the day was extremely powerful. Don’t look away.
Tonight this segment aired on the 6 o’clock news on WDIV Channel 4-Detroit:
The courage it took for these two men to speak, on camera no less, about their victimization by Frank (Francis) Shelden and Jerry (Gerald) Richards is unbelievable. I’ve written about Frank Shelden and his cronies and the N. Fox Island “boys nature camp” a few times on my blog. See, for example, https://catherinebroad.blog/2013/03/12/north-fox-island-circa-1975-76/. Author M.F. Cribari discusses this and more in Portraits in the Snow: The Oakland County Child Killings . . . Scandals and Small Conspiracies (2011), https://www.amazon.com/Portraits-Snow-Killings-Scandals-Conspiracies/dp/1432768026. J. Reuben Appelman writes about it all in The Kill Jar, Obsession, Descent, and a Hunt for Detroit’s Most Notorious Serial Killer (2018), https://www.amazon.com/Kill-Jar-Obsession-Detroits-Notorious/dp/1507204027/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_t_0?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=MWBZ9YZ9EA6DDP042NPK.
Every 98 seconds a person is sexually assaulted in this county. https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence. According to RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network), 1 in 10 children will be abused before their 18th birthday. They say 1 in 7 girls and 1 in 25 boys. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center reports childhood sexual abuse before the age of 17 at closer to 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys. https://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/publications_nsvrc_factsheet_media-packet_statistics-about-sexual-violence_0.pdf.
According to the website Darkness to Light, End Childhood Sexual Abuse, “[c]hild sexual abuse is likely the most prevalent health problem children face with the most serious array of consequences. https://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/publications_nsvrc_factsheet_media-packet_statistics-about-sexual-violence_0.pdf. According to this site, only about 38% of child victims disclose; some never, ever disclose. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center states that only 12% of child sexual abuse is reported to authorities. According to Child USA, studies show that the average age to disclose is 52, with the median age 48. https://www.childusa.org/sol/. According to Darkness to Light, there are at least 42 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse in the United States today.
That’s a lot of people carrying a tremendous amount of pain for many decades. Thank you to these two brave men for shining a light on the monsters out there who look normal but are anything but. Frank Shelden should have been writing checks to all of his victims via civil suits. In fact, I think his heirs should write big, fat checks to nonprofits like RAINN, Darkness to Light, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center and Child USA. You got more than blood money; you got horror money.
I am assuming there will be more of these interviews on tonight when WDIV airs the hour-long show about the child killings. Thanks again for your courage gentlemen.
Thank you, Kevin Dietz and Channel 4 Detroit, and thank you to all who participated in creating this series on the child killer case. Oakland County citizens–demand that these tips be adequately investigated. Local officials from the prosecutor’s office don’t get to just show their face on film and continue business as usual. Make sure these tips are investigated, keep the public apprised and don’t use this tip line as a garbage disposal and another reason for “no comment.”
This Wednesday, February 13, 2019, WDIV-Detroit Local 4 will premiere a primetime special: “Child Killer” — and a five-part digital docuseries of the same name — that follows “the heartbreaking and riveting true-crime story” about Michigan’s Oakland County child killer case that is still unsolved 40-plus years later.
The “Child Killer” special airs at 10 p.m. this Wednesday. The digital docuseries, available on ClickOnDetroit at 11 p.m., chronicles this case from February 1976 to the present. It is said to feature never seen before video and interviews from the crime scenes. I am grateful for the exposure of these cases and the chance to get people talking for real about these crimes. I am hopeful there is accurate information and not a recitation of the myths and fabrications that line the entire sordid history of the Oakland County child killer case.
Thank you to a reader for sending me the information about the date and time this show and docuseries will air.