The search warrant affidavit (Chapter 8 Exhibit A) prepared by the Oakland County Prosecutor contains two subsections discussing the Christopher Busch polygraph history. They provide as follows:
(3) V. “Affidavit has obtained and reviewed a polygraph report prepared by Ralph E Cabot, who at that time was a Michigan State Trooper and a member of the Polygraph Unit at the Flint Post. Cabot reported that he conducted a polygraph test of Christopher Busch on February 15, 1977. During the pre-test interview, Busch admitted that he was sexually attracted to young boys. He denied that he had anything to do with the Stebbins kidnapping and murder. Cabot tested Bush and concluded that he was being truthful. Based on these polygraph test results, Busch was not investigated further as a suspect in the Oakland County child murders.
Y. Affidavit further states that the polygraph charts from Christopher Bush’s polygraph test administrated by Ralph Cabot were recently reviewed by three polygraph examiners, Lt. Robert Dykatra of the Michigan State Police, Tim Larion of the Livonia Police Department and former State Police polygraph examiner John Wojnaroski. Affidavit was told by three examiners that the polygraph charts do not indicate truthfulness, and that at best, the result should have been deemed inconclusive. “
This information was made available to me on April 1, 2013 when the 48th district court granted me access to the search warrant file. Three experienced polygraphers believed Busch did not pass the January 27, 1977 polygraph test, while the conclusion of the initial polygrapher to the contrary was published and apparently relied upon by law enforcement for over 35 years.
The timing of the original conclusion that Busch has passed a polygraph test is particularly disturbing to the King family. This polygraph was taken on January 27, 1977, and Tim was abducted on March 16, 1977. If Busch had not passed the January 27 polygraph examination, he may not have been granted bail as a murder suspect. Furthermore, as noted in Chapter 29 the codefendant in Genesee County, Gregory Greene, more than once told the investigating officers that Busch had killed Mark Stebbins.
Is it possible the elimination of Busch and is companions as suspects on March 1, 2010 was an effort by Jessica Cooper to protect those officials who relied on a polygraph test to terminate further investigation on this portion of the case? The Oakland County Prosecutor concluded in 1977 that Busch was not involved because he passed a polygraph test. Are the victims and the public entitled to similar information when three other polygraphers disagree with this conclusion?
In the first letter I have received from Jessica Cooper is dated November 13, 2009 following the one and only meeting with the Oakland County Task Force on October 27, 2009. In this letter she states as follows:
“In addition, the publicizing of some information, such as that related to polygraphs is actually a crime.”
On November 13, 2009, I had no information that Ted Lamborgine, Christopher Busch or Vince Gunnels had been polygraphed. Therefore, I assumed that the quotation was related to the polygraph that Lawrence Wasser/Christopher Busch which was discussed in Chapter 21. It is my understanding that Wasser never commenced the Busch polygraph. I did not understand why any reference to their conversation was a crime under the polygraph statute. If any prosecutor or criminal lawyer reviewing this chapter has legal authority to the contrary, I would appreciate having this brought to my attention.
Imagine my surprise when I received the Michigan State Police reports on December 15, 2010. The report contained newspaper articles which L Brooks Patterson, then the Oakland County Prosecutor, was quoted as saying that Chris Busch was not a suspect in the Mark Stebbins murder because he had passed a polygraph test. The MSP reports also indicated that Oakland County Chief Assistant Prosecutor, Richard Thompson, was present at Busch’s polygraph presumably to determine if Gregory Greene and/or Busch were involved in the murder of Mark Stebbins, the first victim.
On November 13, 2009 was Cooper warning me that any reference to the Wasser/ Busch polygraph, which was never taken, was a crime while the statute provides some exemption to prosecutors? Am I entitled to an explanation from Jessica Cooper why her office is entitled to publicize polygraph information while I or any other victim is not?
On October 5, 2012 Laurie Brasier of the Detroit Free Press filed a FOIA request with the Oakland County Prosecutor for all documents related to the Oakland County Child Killer investigation. Paul Walton, Chief Assistant Prosecutor, returned 169 pages, including his Affidavit stating that additional documents were exempt. On October, 2012, Brasier filed a second FOIA request for the following documents.
1. All documents provided to the family of Timothy King
2. Birmingham Police Department Reports regarding the investigation
3. Documents related to the vehicles the police investigated including the Blue Gremlin
4. Autopsy reports detailing the condition of the children’s bodies
Please note that we are not seeking photos, as they are exempt, and that we will not be publishing details, except to confirm that the only one child seemed to have been bathed.
Walton responded to the second request with an additional 51 pages including a June 17, 2012 Free Press article by David Ashenfelter. It also includes reports from retired Birmingham Police Lieutenant Jack Klabfliesh and report dated September 7, 1978 from A. Robertson, the Michigan State Police Officer in charge of the original Task Force. Both of these reports make reference to several automobiles other than a Blue Gremlin.
This is another example of the Oakland County Prosecutor providing information to the media that she denies to the victims and the courts.
On June 19, 2012, Kevin Dietz of Channel 4 requested the following information from Jessica Cooper:
“Pursuant to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, please accept this request for the following records:
1. A copy of the Christopher Busch CSC file that we reviewed in your office on Monday, June 18th 2012”
Including the standard cover letter the OEP response included 121 pages.”
OBVIOUSLY, THE OAKLAND COUNTY PROSECUTOR SHOWED THIS INFORMATION TO KEVIN DIETZ PRIOR TO HIS FOIA REQUEST.
Am I entitled to an explanation from the Oakland County Prosecutor? Were these documents shown to Kevin Dietz prior to his request?
Should the Oakland County Prosecutor explain to the Oakland County Circuit Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals, why this information was made available to Channel 4 while arguing in my FOIA cases that it was exempt information under the Freedom of Information Act? Is it just happenstance that Jessica Cooper was running for reelection in 2012?
In reading my Story, please remember that the government did not provide me with any documents until I received the Michigan State Police reports on December 15, 2010. It was more than 9 months after the March 1, 2010 phone call telling me Christopher Busch and his companions were no longer suspects. It was only after December 15, 2010 that I determined the identification of the blue Gremlin as being incorrect.
It was not until April 1, 2013 when I was finally granted access to the 48th District Court Files that I obtained the information of the abuses by the Oakland County Prosecutor of the Michigan Search Warrant Statute to prohibit my access to this file. In obtaining the Suppression Orders, the Oakland County Prosecutor (a) ignored the statutory provision indicating that the statute was not applicable to FOIA cases, (b) obtained the orders without any supporting testimony or facts, and (c) submitted to the Oakland County Circuit Court two true copies of orders dated April 29, 2011 which were not identical.
Do you agree with the King family that the officials owe me an explanation on the blue Gremlin and search warrant questions?
My Story then discusses the 5 identified suspects in Tim’s murder and most of this background information provided to me after the Michigan State Police Reports were delivered.
The rest of my Story will discuss various subjects that came to the attention of the King family after December 15, 2010. In reviewing these future subjects, please remember that Jessica Cooper told me on March 1, 2010 that the suspects identified by my children were no longer suspects. Thus far we have reviewed no evidence exonerating these suspects. Did she make this determination based on her dictatorial powers as a prosecutor and were other Oakland County personnel also involved in this decision?
Prior to the March 1, 2010 telephone advice from Jessica Cooper that Busch was not a suspect, my family had requested only two documents concerning Tim’s death. First, after Christopher Busch was identified, Cathy’s attorney friend, Lisa Milton, requested a copy of his suicide report from the Bloomfield Township Police Department on January 24, 2008. The Township replied that the file had been destroyed and therefore could not be produced.
Twenty three months later, on December 3, 2009, Heather Catallo of Channel 7 gave me the suicide report. Interestingly, when I received the Busch file from the Michigan State Police on December 15, 2010, there was a note that the suicide report had been delivered to the Michigan State Police in February 2008.
In 2011, I visited the Township Police Department for an explanation. The Township advised me that it received a call in February from the Michigan State Police and an officer was instructed to locate the file. After a day and a half he determined that the file had been misplaced and delivered it to the State Police. However, the Department took no action to advise Milton. At our office when we destroy a file we add it to a destroyed file list but apparently the Bloomfield Township Police Department does not keep tract of destroyed files. The Township should adopt this practice.
In early November 2009, my secretary also called the Genesee County Circuit Court and asked for the criminal files on Christopher Busch and Gregory Greene. She was advised the Court could not locate the Greene file and that the Busch file was in the archives. She would order the file from the archives and make it available in a few days. When I called the Clerk for the Busch file the Clerk advised me that the file could not be located. On February 17, 2010, Catallo gave me both files.
These are not be the only incidences when the responsible government officials made files available to the media which have been denied to the King family. I will discuss these future media disclosures in later chapters. The victims should be entitled to the same or better treatment as the media.
After October 27, 2009 there are several inconsistences the King family believes may indicate a lack of cooperation between the various investigating personnel. Two events took place during the meeting which should have warned us about the validity of these concerns.
Prior to the meeting Kym Worthy, the Wayne County Prosecutor, was upset because the Task Force had apparently not advised her of the meeting. Fortunately, Cathy had written requesting her presence. In retrospect, I have no knowledge whether Worthy’s concern was valid, but there was no reason why both prosecutors should not have been present if one of them was present.
I was also concerned because no representative from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office or the various Oakland police agencies were present. I noted this in my November 9, 2009 to Captain Harold Love as follows:
“We are confused as to the current members of the Task Force, particularly because there were no Oakland County Law enforcement personnel or FBI representatives at the conference.”
Several times in the remainder of this story I will make reference to facts indicating disputes between the various authorities indicating they may have been more interested in who solves the case than solving the case.
The King family agreed to take no further action until December 1, 2009. I exchanged voicemails with Dave LewAllen of Channel 7 in November and agreed to meet with him on December 1, 2009. Channel 7 interviewed Ericia McAvoy and me on December 3, 2009. Thereafter, at the request of Wayne County, the King Family agreed to take no further public action until after April 1. This all ended with the March 1, 2010 phone call from Jessica Cooper closing the case on Busch and his companions.
Chris and I invited Erica McAvoy and her stepfather, Tom Ashcroft, to attend the October 27 conference. When we arrived, the four of us were shown into a small conference room. After half an hour we were asked to join the attendees. Present were Captain Harold Love of the Michigan State Police and four or more additional officers including Garry Gray, the Task Force commander, Oakland County Prosecutor, Jessica Cooper and two of her assistants including Paul Walton, Wayne County Prosecutor, Kym Worthy with her assistant Robert Moran, a Wayne County inspector and several Livonia policeman, including the recently retired Cory Williams. Once the introductions were complete, I asked the following five questions which I confirmed in a letter to Captain Love on November 9.
• Are there any other persons being investigated currently except for Busch and his possible cohorts?
• Who are possible cohorts and what do we know about them?
• What additional polygraphs do you wish to take and what is time schedule?
• Who is the Oakland County prosecutor currently handling this case?
• Give us the name, address and phone number of the responsible lab personnel.
• Do you have the name and address of the informants who turned in Busch? We would like to thank them.
The Task Force did not answer any of these questions.
McAvoy then asked the Task Force about the DNA match between a hair found on her sister’s jacket and Vince Gunnels. At that time, I had no knowledge of DNA. Walton then gave a lecture on Mitochondrial DNA (“mDNA”) and stated that it was not good evidence and compared it to blood type. I later learned mDNA is received from your mother and will include anyone with her heritage unlike true DNA which is almost 100% good evidence of a match. My supplemental research indicates that mDNA evidence is admissible only if there are other sufficient facts involving the suspect.
It was apparent to me that we were being stonewalled and I made inquiry as to whom I should direct additional questions. The Michigan State Police said the Prosecutor and the Oakland County Prosecutor said the Michigan State Police. However, Love volunteered to accept that role and I did have further contact with him in November.
This and the following chapters will discuss the history of the Busch investigation before the March 1, 2010 phone call removing him as a suspect.
During 2009 the King Family attempted to obtain information from Oakland County concerning the status of the Christopher Busch investigation. In June my daughter, Cathy called the Victims’ Rights Office of the Oakland County Prosecutor and received no reply. On June 24, 2009 I wrote the Oakland County Prosecutor requesting an update on the investigation. We received no reply to either inquiry.
Several times in 2009, my son Chris and I asked for a meeting with the revitalized Task Force without a favorable reply. I finally set a deadline date of September 30 and called Michigan State Police Sergeant Garry Gray on that date. He returned my voicemail and we agreed on a meeting date of October 7, 2009. On October 6 Gray’s superior officer, Captain Harold Love, called me to adjourn the date for one week to October 14. During the interim week he called me to advise that there would be no meeting on October 14 with no suggestion of an adjourned date.
On or about October 20, I received a phone call from Erica McAvoy who identified herself as the sister of Kristen Mihelich, the third victim. McAvoy advised me that she had received a phone call from her Mother on Friday, October 16, suggesting that they visit with the Michigan State Police on the status of the investigation. Gray agreed to meet with them on Monday, October 19 and showed them books on the three major suspects; Christopher Busch, Vince Gunnels and Gregory Greene.
After October 20, I received a phone call from the Michigan State Police indicating that the Task Force would meet with the King family on Tuesday, October 27. In view of the comments from McAvoy, my son Chris and I looked forward with confidence that we would receive similar information to that given to the Michelich family.