Mark Stebbins was taken on February 15, 1976. He was the first of four victims of what became known as the Oakland County Child Killer (OCCK). Although the name implies a singular suspect, the evidence suggests the involvement of multiple individuals. Jill Robinson was abducted on December 22, 1976 and found dead four days later, shot in the face with a 12‐ gauge shotgun. Kristine Mihelich was last seen alive on January 2, 1977 and her body was found 19 days later. The police records reflect that law enforcement was engaged in a mostly good faith effort to solve the OCCK case until January of 1977. It was at this point that certain individuals entrusted to enforce the law and keep us safe abdicated their responsibility. They focused on protecting one of the suspects, clandestinely placed the blame on another and covered up their ill‐fated decisions. These decisions of public officials, specifically the Oakland County Prosecutor, directly contributed to the kidnapping, sexual abuse and murder of the last of the OCCK victims, Timothy King in March of 1977. The coverup has been going on for the past forty‐four years.
Christopher Busch is at least one of the monsters responsible for kidnapping, raping and murdering Tim King. He admitted it before he killed himself in November of 1978. He made this admission during a polygraph test taken by a private polygrapher, Larry Wasser, who was retained by Busch’s attorney. Wasser accidentally let it slip in 2006 that he polygraphed the man who murdered Tim King. Wasser shared this information with a fellow polygrapher, Patrick Coffey at a trade conference in Las Vegas. Patrick Coffey grew up in Birmingham, Michigan and was neighbors with the King family. Tim’s abduction and murder left a strong impression on Coffey and drove his decision to pursue a career in law enforcement. During the previous 29 years, Chris Busch’s name was never publicly associated with the OCCK case. It was deliberately concealed and buried at the command level by those with authority.
The odds of Wasser sharing this information with someone who grew up near and knew the King family are astronomical. The fact that it happened in Vegas is poetic. Once Busch was identified, the investigation that should have happened thirty years ago finally commenced. Part of that investigation involved interviewing Chris Busch’s now‐adult nephew, Scott. Scott was one of the countless victims who were molested by Chris Busch. Like most of those victims, Scott was not able to tell his story and get the help he desperately needed when his uncle was still alive. Public officials were more concerned about protecting the reputation of Scott’s wealthy grandfather than the vulnerable victims of a child rapist. When he was finally interviewed by the police, Scott recounted how he once asked his uncle Chris to take him to the parking lot where Tim King was last seen. Chris drove Scott to the location that was two miles from the Busch family home located in Bloomfield Village. Chris did not simply show Scott the area at the intersection of Woodward and Maple that was being reported in the news. According to Scott, Chris Busch pointed to the exact spot where Tim King had stood.
We do not know Busch’s involvement in the murders of the other three OCCK victims and while it is likely that he was connected to those killings as well, that is beyond the scope of this book. We will focus on the events surrounding the deliberately bungled investigation. We will review evidence of how the conductor who knowingly orchestrated the catastrophic mess was focused only on protecting the child‐raping son of a wealthy elite. We will prove how this single‐minded effort led to the murder of last OCCK victim, Tim King.
The most comprehensive and current account of what is known about the OCCK case, its victims and suspects was written by Marney Keenan titled, “The Snow Killings.” Her October 26, 2009 article in the Detroit News is attached at the end of this book for those unfamiliar with this case and provides more than enough background information to provide context to this analysis. This is not a retread of the ground already covered by Keenan. It is not my goal to “solve” the OCCK case. There are too many documents that were withheld, too many secrets kept, too many people with knowledge who died. There are too many monsters to follow down too many dark rabbit holes that only lead to too many nightmares. The is book explains why the OCCK case remained unsolved.
It is tempting to characterize the inferences and conclusions drawn from the facts presented in this work as hindsight. This is not such a case. The analysis presented is limited to what was known at the time. What follows demonstrates the distinction between hindsight and a deliberate attempt by those who controlled the investigation to cover up what they did and, more importantly, did not do. The principal actor, L. Brooks Patterson, managed to escape accountability during his life, but his leadership and management of this case should forever be connected to his legacy.
Writing this book was a balancing act because I am not discovering Patterson’s crimes with the reader in the opening chapters. It was only after analyzing the case file and understanding what happened that I felt compelled to tell the story that was ignored for more than four decades. I was seething upon completing my analysis. It is a gross understatement to describe what he as Oakland County Prosecutor (OCP) and his second in command and best friend, Richard Thompson, did as shocking. I know how important it is that I restrain my contempt for them as I lay the foundation for their actions that transcend criminal behavior. Otherwise, I run the risk of being dismissed as just another political hack with an axe to grind. I know it is necessary that I keep a civil tongue, particularly in the early chapters where, to the objective reader, my outrage will seem unearned. That said, I am not a Vulcan. I do not apologize for my inability to provide a robotic narrative bereft of emotion while describing how public officials knowingly allowed monsters to prey on children. Dear reader, I ask for your patience. I know that as I introduce these people to you, my tone will cross the line. I know that I will not be able to keep a civil tongue. I ask that you withhold judgement if you feel in the early chapters that these people do not deserve the invective that I direct at them. I ask that you wait until the end and then decide for yourself whether that tone is justified.
At times it may seem as though the crimes committed by the OCP and his cohorts are repeated excessively in this book. This is deliberate. Their crimes have been covered up for more than four decades. They neither acknowledged nor answered for their crimes since committing them 44 years ago. With all attention focused on the killers, the jackals who let the monsters run free escaped scrutiny. No one—not even the police—could imagine that those entrusted to enforce the laws could ever allow something like this to happen. Repeating their crimes an infinite number of times would not be enough. Also, it is important to remind ourselves of the severity of the crimes that were committed lest we lose sight of the issue and the conversation devolves into “playing politics.” Those seeking to muddle the issue must be repeatedly reminded that public officials focused their efforts on protecting a child‐raping murderer.
This is a cautionary tale with the expectation that those with authority will finally take action. It is a reminder of what happens when we choose leaders who are self‐servants instead of public servants. It demonstrates what happens when there is no process for accountability. Hopefully, this will also help those trapped in a mental prison where answers were withheld for decades and provide a sense of closure by answering the most important question:
How can we keep this from happening again?