Chapter 5: Blue Gremlin – Cathy Broad Report

Tim’s sister, Cathy Board, has prepared her summary of the automobile investigations and it follows this paragraph.

July 2, 2001- June 3, 2006—Correspondence between retired Lead Detective for Birmingham, MI, Jack Kalbfleisch, who was on the OCCK Task Force, and various police officials and reports document disturbing facts ignored by investigators and reporters. None of the people he wrote responded to him. Garry Gray of the MSP did call him back and tell him the MSP would not investigate the Le Mans vehicle lead.

In an undated letter to Richard Patterson, then chief of the Birmingham Police Department, retired Det. Kalbfleisch explained, among many different facts and details, the following about the vehicles involved in these crimes:

“Based on a call after Tim King was abducted, it was assumed that a blue Gremlin could be involved. Information gleaned from the Robinson and Mihelich crime scenes would now indicate that a dark colored 1971-72 Pontiac LeMans with a v8 engine and some body damage was involved. The information was specific, but my memory as to the year is unclear.

The Troy PD was able to locate a man who observed the above described LeMans pull to the side of the I-75 at the location and the approximate time that Jill was dropped. The witness stated that the vehicle had a broken left tail light and possible body damage. He was certain about the make of the vehicle because he claimed he had owned the same type of vehicle in the past. When the vehicle at the Mihelich drop made the turn on Bruce lane, it made impressions in the snow banks on either side of the roadway. On the east side of the roadway, the left front bumper left a cone shaped impression in the snow bank. The vehicle then backed into the snow bank on the west side of the roadway leaving a complete impression of the rear of the vehicle.

The MSP crime lab didn’t take the measurements in the snow bank, but did photograph the impressions. FBI S.A., Mort Nickel, and I took copies of the photo of the rear impression to the big three auto makers in an attempt to identify the make of the automobile. GM was the only company that stated that the car could be one of their makes or models. They listed several midsized vehicles of the 71-72 year makes, but couldn’t be specific.

S.A. Mort Nickel was able to locate a photo interpreter at the University of Michigan and we brought him a copy of the impression in the snow bank. He was able to give the measurements within 1/32 of an inch. He also stated that the vehicle had a trailer hitch which had been pulled approximately one inch to the left (possibly from an accident). I took that information back to the GM building to determine if a more specific model could be identified. GM reported that the measurements belonged to a 1971-72 LeMans with a v8 engine.

Conclusion: Although much time has passed, I believe that releasing the information on the car could be the best lead in the case. The news release could state that recent information shows an interest in a vehicle of that description with the damage indicated. A former neighbor, a co-worker or a service station attendant may still recall someone who owned such a vehicle at that time. The other information listed in this report would only come into play after that information was obtained.

Due to the fact that neither the MSP nor our department could find the report that I submitted to the task force, I will contact the Detroit office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in an attempt to determine whether they have a report from S.A. Mort Nickel on the vehicle measurements and the name of the photo interpreter. I will request that any information that they locate, be forwarded to your office.”

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  1. Kate Shampine

    Didn’t I read somewhere the guy who spotted the car at 16 mile and I75 had a partial plate number? Can’t they somehow go back and pull all the Leman’s registered in Oakland County with the partial plate number? Seems like they should be able to do that, but maybe they don’t keep records from 40 years back. Just a thought. This is a travesty.

  2. Lisa Scallen

    As a child, (I am about the same age as Tim) My Dad used to live by Hunter-Maple. We frequently visited the grocery store and the pharmacy. If I remember correctly, the pharmacists’ name was Ron. My dad always parked in the back lot behind the pharmacy. I remember seeing a blue gremlin in the parking lot just about every time we went there. It must’ve belonged to an employee of one of the stores in the shopping center or restaurant (Monaghan’s) My memory of that time is very clear, almost photographic. I remember being terrified every time I saw that car!

    The task force was headquartered at my old elementary school (Valley Woods) on Bellvine Trail in Beverly Hills. It was about a block away from my Mom and Step-dad’s house. I actually rode my bike to the task force and told them about seeing that car every time we went to Hunter Maple.

    I also told them about an incident that happened to me in Troy. I was at an Italian restaurant (Caprarro’s) with my Dad. I had to use the ladies room. I walked into the restroom and was just about to enter the stall, but I had a “funny feeling.” I looked down and saw a pair of a very large men’s shoes hiding in the stall behind the door. I ran out of there as fast as I could and outside to my dad, who had already gone to get the car. We had already left the restaurant and were nearly home before I could compose myself enough to tell my Dad about the incident. I believe he may have called the police to report it, but am not sure.

    1. Barry King Author

      Hi Lisa,

      My name is Michelle Boehm, and I am the manager of Barry King’s social media presence. How scary and traumatizing that must have been for you at the time all of this was going on. It is a real tragedy and we are thankful for your bravery in coming forward. Barry King has this message and should be reaching out to everyone in the near future.


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