Show Notes: Oakland County Child Killer, Three True Crime Locations to Visit

This show, “Michigan and other Mayhem”, is a sort of factual, slightly comical, always earnest podcast about interesting stuff in Michigan and around the world. It is done by two sisters-in-law (Ali and Jenn) that like to talk about random interesting stories.  Expect cults, mysteries, murder, fast-talking, and a couple of mental palate cleansers… and cuss words.  Those happen on this show, a lot.

Episode 16: Oakland County Child Killer, Three True Crime Locations to Visit

Click Here to Listen to Episode 16

Warning: This podcast occasionally contains strong language which may be unsuitable for children.

Alerts:

  • Pretend podcast music (because we couldn’t find any we liked enough for a theme song).
  • Ali has a weird laugh. It is often loud.

Today’s podcast will be about the Oakland County Child Killer, which was suggested before our first podcast launched, and 3 True Crime locations or museums.

Jenn thought the Oakland County Child Killer was a solved crime, but it is really a closed cold case. She also looked up True Crime Museums to visit, but one location listed was actually a home that was the scene of mass murder, that you can spend the night in.

Ali received private axe throwing lessons from her mom for a Christmas gift.  Ali is going to work on accuracy and distance to up her odds of surviving a serial killer. Run, turn, throw. Remember that.

Jenn is a klutz.  The other night she hit her eyeball when she opened a cabinet door she has opened for over 20 years. Then she jumped on her son and ran into his fist in the process.  A few weeks ago she hit her elbow on the bathroom and lost feeling in her arm for a week. Jenn’s son is now worried about axe throwing.

Axe throwing is a challenge for Ali because at home her husband won’t let her use a knife. (Too dangerous.)  Her dinners arrive on the dinner table already cut and if she asks for a knife, she’s handed a butter knife.

Jenn decided she’d be one of those girls that trip while running away from a bad guy.

Corrections!  Ali is in a constant state of getting corrected.  Potawatomi IS NOT pronounced pot-a-wah-toe-me but pata-wata-me.  Also, thank you, Shelly, for letting me know that in the Rudolph special, his girlfriend’s name is Clarice, not Cindy.  Maybe I was thinking about Shelly’s girl, Cindy?  I have no idea why I do such things.

Clarice reminds Ali of Silence of the Lambs, and Cindy is from the Grinch.

Oakland County Child Killer 

The Oakland County Child Killer (OCCK) was a person, presumably male, that was responsible for the deaths of at least four children between 1976 and 1977, a 13-month period. This person was also referred to as The Babysitter or The Babysitter Killer because the children were held for 4 to 19 days before being murdered.

The OCCK was responsible for the death of two boys and two girls between the ages of 10 and 12 years old. His identity remains unknown.

1st  victim, 12-year-old Mark Stebbins.

Mark was last seen leaving an American Legion hall on Sunday, February 15, 1976.  He had told his mom he was going home to watch a movie on television.  When Mark wasn’t at home by 11 p.m. that night, his mother called the police to report him missing.

Mark Stebbins was found February 19th, neatly laid out in a snow bank, less than a 20-minute drive away from where he disappeared.  There were rope marks on his wrists and ankles, and it was believed that he had been bound throughout his captivity.  Mark had been sexually assaulted with an object, had two lacerations to the back of his head, and he had been strangled. He was wearing the last outfit he was seen in. According to a witness in the area, his body had to have been placed on the parking lot snow bank before 9:30 that morning.

The 2nd  victim, 12-year-old Jill Robinson.

Jill had argued with her mom about chores and ran away from home, right before Christmas, Wednesday, December 22, 1976. The day after her disappearance, her bike was found behind a hobby store.

Jill’s body was found the day after Christmas, December 26, 1976, on the side of an Interstate in a nearby city. She was shot where she lay, on her back on the ground, with a 12-gauge shotgun blast to the face. Evidence showed she has asphyxiated also. Her body was covered in snow when Jill was found. Jill was within view of the Troy, MI police station. She was fully clothed and still wearing the backpack she had bundled up while running away.

The 3rd victim, 10-year-old Kristine Mihelich.

She was last seen on Sunday, January 2, 1977, at a 7-Eleven, around 3:00 p.m., buying a magazine. Kristine’s mom reported her missing three hours later.

Her body was found by a mail carrier 19 days after she was reported missing.  Kristine’s hands were on her chest, in what is considered the typical funeral pose. Kristine was smothered to death. A medical examiner determined that she had been dead for less than 24 hours.

The 4th victim, 11-year-old Timothy King.

He had was last seen on Wednesday, March 16, 1977, around 8:30 p.m. Timothy left home on his skateboard to go to a corner store. Timothy left via the store’s back door and was never seen again.

His disappearance was heavily covered in the media, considering the deaths of the three previously abducted children.  Law enforcement had just made the serial killer connection after Kristine’s death.  She was the third victim.

Timothy’s father and mother, Barry and Marion King, pled for the release of their son both on newscasts and via letters to the Detroit News. In Marion’s letter, she spoke of hoping her son would come home so that she could serve him his favorite meal, Kentucky Fried Chicken.

On March 22nd, six days after his disappearance, two teenagers driving down the road saw Timothy’s body in a ditch. His skateboard was placed next to his body. His clothes had been neatly washed and pressed. Timothy had been suffocated and sexually assaulted with an object. A postmortem autopsy revealed that he had been fed fried chicken before he died. It was determined that he had died six hours before his body was found.

There were two other known child abduction and murders in the area around the same time.

Cynthia Cadieux, age 16, had been abducted and bludgeoned to death on January 15th, 1976.  Cynthia left a friend’s home around 8:30 p.m. and her corpse were found five hours later. She was nude and had been raped.

Jane Allan, age 14, was found floating in a river in Ohio, after hitchhiking out of Royal Oak, Michigan. Her wrists were found bound behind her back, using strips of cloth from a t-shirt. Decomposition was too advanced to tell if she had been sexually assaulted. It was believed that she had died via carbon monoxide poisoning.

At the time, the search of the killer was the biggest in US history.  The children’s deaths were covered by both of Detroit’s newspapers-the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press.  They were also talked about on radio and television news shows. The Michigan State Police were part of a task force that included officials from 13 communities.

The killer of these children was never found, but the police were able to bust a multi-state child prostitution and pornography ring that was operating out of North Fox Island in Lake Michigan. A wealthy man, Francis Shelden, grandson of a former Michigan governor, bought North Fox Island and created a program called “Brother Paul’s Children’s Mission”.

The island was supposed to be a retreat for at-risk young boys. In reality, it was a secluded island where wealthy clients flew in to have sex with little boys. It grew to be the largest child pornography distribution network in the country before being shut down.

Suspects: at least five before the investigation was shut down, December 1978.

Suspect, Chris Busch, was the son of a high-level General Motors executive. This is the person that Barry King, Timothy King’s father, believes is responsible for the deaths. Gregory Greene, Chris’s friend, and Christopher Busch were both arrested for criminal sexual conduct charges. Gregory told police that Chris had killed Mark Stebbins, the first missing child. Both passed polygraph examinations regarding the serial killings. Gregory was convicted and sent to prison for life for sexually assaulting a young boy in a different case.

Chris Busch was given probation for the same charges.  He also had his bond reduced from $75,000, an amount that both he and Gregory shared, to $1,000. Christopher was convicted again of paedophilia and was again given probation. The men were said to be driving Christopher Busch’s car, a blue Vega with a white stripe.

Chris was suspected to be involved in the child pornography ring on North Fox Island and was a convicted paedophile.  He also lived in the area of the children’s deaths. Bloodstained ligatures were found in his apartment, along with a sketched image of a boy screaming in agony.  The face of the boy is supposed to that of the first victim, Mark Stebbins.  It was also said that the hoodie that the boy in the picture is wearing, matches Mark’s clothing.

It was believed that Chris committed suicide on Thursday, the 16th of November 1978, via gunshot. His maid arrived at his residence on a Monday, the 20th,  and found his front door locked with a chain from the inside and mailed piled up in front of it. Chris was supposed to have started a new job that day. The maid went to the neighbor’s house and they called Chris Busch’s brother, Charles, and the police. (because of no cellphones people)

They had to break the chain across the front door to get in. A TV guide was found in the living room, opened to Thursday’s movie guide. According to the police report, Chris was found lying face up on his bed with a gunshot wound to the head, and a .22 rifle next to him still pointed at his head.  There are sections of the document that have been whited-out, so I wasn’t able to read every word. Mostly, from what I could tell, names were blocked out.

However, Christopher Busch was not found with gunshot residue on his hands. He did have visible scars on his wrists from a previous suicide attempt two years prior.

In 2008, police followed up on new leads and focused on Christopher Busch.  In 2010, he was declared no longer a suspect. Barry King, Timothy’s dad, has filed three appeals in his son’s case. Charges against Chris Busch are marked “do not release under any circumstances”. Mr King would like all documents related to the case to be opened to the public and has used the Freedom of Information Act. Barry King’s last appeal filed on December 13, 2016, was denied by the Michigan Supreme Court.

Suspect, John Wayne Gacy, was also investigated. John is known for being a serial killer of at least 33 young boys.  There were times that he worked as a clown for children’s parties.

A witness to Timothy King’s abduction had mentioned two men in a car talking to the boy.  The description of one of the men matched John Gacy. This same suspect said the men were driving a blue Gremlin with a white stripe. Some believe she saw Chris Busch’s blue Vega that was known to have a white stripe.

John Wayne Gacy was also in Michigan around the time of the murders. According to DNA tests done in 2013, he was not involved in the killings.

Suspect, James Vincent Gunnels, was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Chris Busch as a young teenager. James was also one of the children who had been involved in the North Fox Island child prostitution and pornography ring. His hair was a mitochondrial DNA match for hair found on the body of the first female victim, Krisitine Mihelich. However, the DNA was do degraded no further testing could be done.

Suspect, Archibold Edward Sloan was a known paedophile. Hair samples were found in his 1966 Pontiac Bonneville that matched both murdered boys, but he often let his paedophile friends borrow the car. An associate of Archibold was linked to the bodies of the two slain boys.  They found his hair at the crime scene. Archibold Slone worked in the area of the killings. He was later arrested again for first-degree criminal sexual conduct and has been sentenced to life in prison since January 1985.

A more obscure suspect only goes by the name of Allen. Allen claimed to be the sadomasochist slave of a roommate named Frank, and Frank was the serial killer. A letter he sent to the police was poorly written and showed signs of guilt over the killings.

Allen claimed that he helped Frank cruise for children, but that he was never around when they were abducted. Frank’s motivation was being traumatized by killing children in Vietnam. He was retaliating by killing the children of people who were affluent citizens, as he felt he wasn’t compensated for going to war. Allen claimed that Frank drove a blue Gremlin but that he got rid of it in Ohio.

A psychiatrist with the task force, Dr Bruce Danto, believed the letter to be authentic. Allen had Dr Danto send him a coded message in the personal ads. When Dr Danto did as instructed, Allen called him and offered photographic evidence. Allen never showed up at the meeting spot and was never heard from again.

Evidence that connects all four murders, is a hair from the same white dog was found on all four victims.

The OCCK is an unsolved cold case.

3 True Crime Places To Visit

The Crime Museum in Washington, D.C.  It is a museum that talks about all sorts of crime in the US.  Their current exhibit is on Alcatraz.  The interesting fact about the museum is that when it was established in 2008, it was the first for-profit museum of crime.  One of the owners is John Walsh.  His son Adam was lured away from his mom at a mall and killed.  There is a studio in the museum that was used to record Unsolved Mysteries.

Jenn can’t watch Unsolved MYsteries on Hulu because she is too cheap to pay for Hulu without commercials and too spoiled to watch with commercials.

Villesca Ax Murders.  This is a family home where an entire family, and two guests, were killed with an axe.  It is in Iowa.  There were eight victims in total.  Josiah Moore family and two kids staying the night after a church function.  You can have day tours or pay a large sum of money and stay there.

Side note: Benny Evangelist.  We now know where his chopped off head was… placed at his feet.  His whole family was axed to death in Detroit.

In Hastings, England there is a True Crime Museum.  Jack the Ripper evidence and lethal injection beds are on display.  It is too much money for us to go.  Jenn was able to find a video of the inside of the museum that will be a part of the Continuing Conversation.

What is in Iowa.  Corn, potatoes, wheat and soybeans?

Ali then messes up the end of the podcast, after saying the same thing literally 20 times previously.  She is special.

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