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In order to grant the public access to government records, Michigan passed FOIA in 1976. In most lawsuits the plaintiff has the burden of going forward in presenting its case and the burden of proof on contested matters. However, FOIA places this responsibility on the public body.

FOIA also lists a number of exemptions related to documents which the public body is not required to produce. To gain an exemption a public body must indemnify the document and indicate the basis for the exemption.

As I mentioned earlier, in my FOIA action against the Michigan State Police, I received 3,411 pages. However, the documents did not contain the Search Warrant or the Search Warrant Affidavit and the Michigan State Police did not claim any exemption. The Oakland County Prosecutor produced nothing and this decision has been upheld by the Oakland County Circuit Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals. This is true even though the Michigan Constitution states that all citizens have a right to confer with the prosecutor (Article I, Section 24).

Earlier this year there was a great deal of publicity over the video tape of a police officer shooting a Chicago citizen. After I commenced the publication of this blog, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, suggested that police information should be available to citizens within 60 days after the shooting. However, in Michigan this time period continues for at least 40 years. While I seldom agree with the Chicago mayor on political matters, PERHAPS MICHIGAN SHOULD TAKE SOME LEGISLATIVE ACTION TO PROVIDE THOSE MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC WHO PROVIDE GOOD INFORMATION IN CRIMINAL CASES WITH THE REASONS FOR FAILURE TO PROSECUTE.

P.S. Tim King died 39 years ago on March 22, 1977

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OCCK

In order to obtain the April 29, 2011 suppression orders from the 48th district court, the accompanying Ex Parte Motion to Clarify Order of Suppression of the October 28, 2008 search warrant and affidavit filed by the Oakland County Prosecutor states as follows:

4. That this Court has issued sixteen orders continuing the suppression of the search warrant and affidavit in this matter. The last issued March 23, 2011, and to continue to in force to May 18, 2011.

The expiration date on the fifteenth Order of Suppression expired on March 7, 2011, 840 days after October 28, 2009 Search Warrant Affidavit was issued. The sixteenth Order was not issued until March 23, 2011. Obviously, one or more of the 15 orders of suppression were issued after the expiration date of a 56 day period. Whenever the first order was not renewed within the 56 day period it can no longer be suppressed. This occurred all subsequent orders of suppression were improperly entered. The statute contains no provisions allowing the prosecutor to obtain ex parte orders once the 56 day renewal period is breached. Is my interpretation correct? Did the Oakland County Prosecutor advise the 48th district court of this interpretation when the order was entered?

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OCCK

In my 57 years of practice, I have no criminal law experience except for a few drunk driving cases early in my career. The Michigan Search Warrant Statute came to my attention when the Oakland County Prosecutor presented the April 29, 2011 orders in both my Michigan State Police and Oakland County Prosecutor FOIA lawsuits. The Order stated basically that no one could have access to the Busch search warrant file in the 48th District Court for the search of the former Christopher Busch residence on October 28, 2008.

The last sentence of Section 9 of the Michigan Search Warrant Statute (Act 189 of 1966) specifically provides that the suppression orders authorized by the statute do not apply in FOIA cases:

(9) On the fifty-sixth day following the issuance of a search warrant, the search warrant affidavit contained in any court file or court record retention system is public information unless, before the fifty-sixth day after the search warrant is issued, a peace officer or prosecuting attorney obtains a suppression order from a judge or district court magistrate upon a showing under oath that suppression of the affidavit is necessary to protect an ongoing investigation or the privacy or safety of a victim or witness. The suppression order may be obtained ex parte in the same manner that the search warrant was issued. An initial suppression order issued under this subsection expires on the fifty-sixth day after the order is issued. A second or subsequent suppression order may be obtained in the same manner as the initial suppression order and shall expire on a date specified in the order. This subsection and subsection (8) do not affect a person’s right to obtain a copy of a search warrant affidavit from the prosecuting attorney or law enforcement agency under the freedom of information act, 1976 PA 442, MCL 15.231 to 15.246. MCL 780.651 (9)

SECTION 9 SPECIFICALLY STATES IT DOES NOT APPLY TO MY FOIA CASES AND BOTH THE OAKLAND COUNTY PROSECUTOR AND THE 48TH DISTRICT COURT HAVE SUCCESSFULLY REFUSED TO DISCUSS THIS ASPECT OF MY CASE WITH ME.

In addition, Section 9 of the Michigan Search Warrant Statue also contains language suppressing the access to Search Warrant and Search Warrant Affidavits. All of the Search Warrant information is suppressed for 56 days. If the prosecutor wants to extend it beyond 56 days it must file a renewal order within the previous 56 day period. If no 56 day renewal order is entered the information is available to the public on the 57th day. The Statute does not contain any language allowing any public body to file subsequent suppression orders after the first 56 day period expires. I will discuss this further in chapter 11.

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OCCK

Attached as Exhibit A is the Search Warrant Affidavit dated October 28, 2008 prepared by the Oakland County Prosecutor and signed by the Michigan State Police. The 48th District Court gave me this Affidavit on April 1, 2013 after final orders had been entered in my two FOIA cases.

This eight page single-spaced Affidavit properly summarizes the 3,411 pages I received from the Michigan State Police regarding Christopher Busch and his companions, Gregory Greene and Vince Gunnels. In my judgment, the Affidavit contains no language which would exonerate these individuals as suspects in the murders of the four children.

In the following chapters, I will discuss the actions taken by the Oakland County Prosecutor, and perhaps other public officials, to deny me access to the Affidavit. After the reader finishes the following chapters, I will appreciate your comments on whether my conclusions are valid or incorrect.

Search Warrant Affidavit page 1

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Search Warrant Affidavit page 8

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OCCK

Tim’s mother died in 2004 and I married her friend, Janice Bollinger in 2008. Janice told me that her friend, Doug Wilson, was hypnotized by the Task Force. After a lengthy search, she located him and he is now employed by a Japanese automobile company in La Jolla, California.

When I contacted Wilson, he told me an interesting story. Wilson had visited the Hunter-Maple parking lot the night of the abduction and recalled seeing Tim. After some encouragement from his wife and friends, Wilson agreed in June 1977 to be hypnotized and tell the FBI what he had seen.

He recalled seeing Tim on a skateboard in the parking lot and even identified the place in the wall where his skateboard had hit the building. The Task Force located some orange markings at the spot he identified.

Wilson also identified two gentlemen. One was a young man who was running back and forth with no apparent goal. The other was an older gentleman in a Pontiac Lemans which drew his suspicions. Wilson even tried to remember the license plate on the Lemans but could only remember the digits 222.

Wilson then wrote me a letter which concluded as follows:

“When the session ended I had thought maybe only 15-20 minutes had elapsed, but when I looked at my watch I was shocked to see that 4 hours had passed. The agents were very excited about my observations. I was able to confirm the possibility that two men were involved. This was information that the FBI had only speculated on. From my description the sketch artist was able to get a pretty good likeness of each man. But, the most important information was my identification of the car that the older man was sitting in. It was a 1973 Pontiac Le Mans 2/door coupe.

It turns out that they already knew the make of the car. When the previous victim had been dropped off, the car had backed into a snow bank and left a perfect impression of the car’s rear bumper. As for the car’s license number, I could only remember the last three numbers: the three 2’s. For some reason the phrase I had made to remember the preceding 3 letters was not retrievable. To this day I still cannot remember it. I can only surmise that numbers are stored in a different part of the brain than the phrase would be.”

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OCCK

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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OCCK

Chapter 4: Blue Gremlin – Other Automobiles

After March 1, 2010, I filed a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) lawsuit against the Michigan State Police (“MSP”) requesting information on the Christopher Busch investigation. After the initial skirmishing, the MSP provided me with 3,411 pages on December 15, 2010. This was the first time the King family had any information that there were other automobiles involved in the abduction and murders of the four victims.

The body of Kristine Mihelich, the third victim, was found adjacent to a snow bank. The snow bank contained an imprint of a car bumper. The trailer hitch on this bumper was askew. No one measured the size of this imprint, but Lieutenant Jack Kalbfleisch of the Birmingham Police obtained a photograph of the imprint. He delivered the photo to the three Detroit automobile companies. General Motors advised him that the bumper probably came from a 1971 or a 1972 Pontiac Lemans or Buick Skylark.

The body of Jill Robinson, the second victim was found adjacent to I-75 in Troy, Michigan. A witness advised the investigators that he had noticed a 1972 Pontiac Lemans on the shoulder of the highway near where Jill’s body was found. It was very early in the morning of December 26 and there was little traffic on the highway. As this witness drove closer to the Lemans, the car pulled forward on the shoulder. The witness remembered the car because he had owned a Lemans at one time.

The MSP reports also indicate that a Pontiac or Buick was noticed at the site where the body of Mark Stebbins, the first victim, was later found.

Again, the MSP reports do not indicate any use of this information in searching for the Oakland County Child Killer or that this important information was made public at any time when it could have made a difference in the investigation.

There is no mention of a Blue Gremlin in regard to the murder of the other three victims.

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OCCK

Chapter 3: Blue Gremlin – 1977

The King family has always thought it was highly unlikely that Tim left the Hunter-Maple parking lot in a Blue Gremlin. The only automobile publically identified in the murders of these four children has been a Blue Gremlin.

On the night Tim was abducted his 16 year old brother Chris returned from a babysitting job after 10:00 PM and went looking for him in the neighborhood. When Chris got to the Hunter-Maple parking lot, he noticed 2 or 3 cars including a Blue Gremlin. Because Chris had heard that some of the Blue Gremlins had a special Levi upholstery, he even looked in the car to check the type of upholstery. When the information regarding the Blue Gremlin was made public several days later, Chris advised the police of his observation.

When I mentioned this sighting to Oakland County Chief Assistant Prosecutor, Paul Walton in 2012 or 2013 he advised me that this Blue Gremlin information was not in the original Chris King interview. All members of the King family, including Chris, made statements to the investigators on March 17; the day after Tim was abducted. The information on the Blue Gremlin sighting was in the papers several days later. That is when Chris told police about the Gremlin he saw in the parking lot the night Tim was abducted. Walton has not acknowledged this important time difference.

February 18, 2016

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OCCK

OAKLAND COUNTY CHILD KILLER

A FATHER’S STORY

Chapter I: Introduction

My eleven-year-old son Timothy was abducted on March 16, 1977, in our home town, Birmingham, Oakland County, Michigan. Tim was held captive for six days, sexually abused and then suffocated. His body was found in a roadside ditch in Livonia, Wayne County, Michigan on March 22, 1977. Tim was the last identified victim of the person or people who came to be known as the Oakland County Child Killer. The original Task Force formed to investigate his death and that of three other child victims terminated in December 1978. A new OCCK Task Force was formed in 2005 when new evidence was available. Except for occasional phone calls from the investigators asking me if I could identify certain individuals, no one from law enforcement advised me of the status of the investigation for more than 30 years.

In 2006 my children, Cathy and Chris received a tip on an unidentified suspect. Because of numerous complaints from other informants about the failure of Oakland County to investigate their leads, Cathy called the Livonia Police Department in July 2007 and talked to Detective Cory Williams. Cooperating with Detective Sergeant Garry Gray of the Michigan State Police, the investigators identified this suspect as Christopher Busch, the son of a General Motors Vice President. Busch was a four-time convicted pedophile who never spent a day in jail.

Jessica Cooper, the Oakland County Prosecutor, has not talked to me about this case. Thus far her silence has been supported by the legal system, specifically the courts in Oakland County and the Michigan Attorney Grievance Association. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and her staff have kept my family informed and have met with my family numerous times. My search for the truth began on March 1, 2010 when Donald Studt, the Police Chief in Birmingham, called to tell me Busch and his companions were no longer suspects. It is my current intention to write many chapters concerning my observations of the investigation and use this blog for publication.

Last year the King family was advised that the Michigan State Police, Oakland County and Wayne County were sharing information and otherwise cooperating in the OCCK case. Wayne County recently met with Chris and me to discuss the current state of the case. I will discuss this further in my summary. However I do wish to leave a history of my concerns over the 30 years of silence and governmental actions after 2007 when my family finally got involved.

I am concerned that solving the OCCK case murders has become a political problem rather than a criminal problem. After I finish this story, I welcome comments from readers of these posts.

February 10, 2016

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OCCK

Prologue

My eleven-year-old son, Timothy, was abducted in Oakland County on March 16, 1977, and his body was found in Wayne County in a roadside ditch on March 22, 1977. In response to my Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) lawsuit against the Michigan State Police, I learned after December 15, 2010 that Tim had been sexually abused. Furthermore, Tim had been suffocated by someone who held both his nose and mouth shut. Tim died in his hands. I cannot imagine a more heinous death.

After the death of Kristine Michelich, the third victim, my children recall a discussion I had with Tim. He was told not to accept a ride from a stranger. If anyone tried to force him to enter a car, he was instructed to drop anything he was carrying, run and scream. During the six days he was alive, I am certain he knew what would happen.

In July 2007, Tim’s sister, Cathy Broad, advised the Livonia Police Department in Wayne County of an unidentified suspect. Detective Cory Williams of the Livonia Police Department, and Detective Sergeant Garry Gray of the Michigan State Police, identified this suspect as Christopher Busch on November 30, 2007. Williams and Gray later identified the possible participation of two of Busch’s companions, Gregory Greene and Vince Gunnels. Thereafter the King family received encouraging reports on the Busch involvement from law enforcement. To my surprise, my friend, Donald Studt, now Birmingham Chief of Police, called me on March 1, 2010 at the request of Jessica Cooper, the Oakland County Prosecutor, to advise me that Christopher Busch and his companions were no longer suspects. When no one would tell me the basis for this conclusion, I commenced FOIA lawsuits against both the Michigan State Police and the Oakland County Prosecutor. Jessica Cooper and her staff have refused to talk to me about the March 1, 2010 conclusions. Thus far her silence has been supported by the Oakland County Circuit Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals.

The King family and the families of Mark Stebbins, Jill Robinson and Kristine Mihelich, the other three OCCK victims, deserve an explanation from the responsible public officials regarding the investigation of these murders. In particular, your local prosecutor should not have dictatorial powers to close investigation of valid suspects without explanation. The Michigan Constitution states that crime victims have a right to confer with the prosecutor (Article I, Section 24). Why should anyone submit a valid suspect to law enforcement if the local prosecutor can refuse to take action for undisclosed reasons? If the reasons are professional, even Jessica Cooper has gone public to explain her reasoning. However, if the reasons are political, personal, power in control or other nonprofessional reasons, all of which may be present in the OCCK case, silence does not protect the victims or the public. I welcome your thoughts and responses but request that you complete the entire story before making interim replies.

In 2008, both Wayne and Oakland County identified Christopher Busch as the best suspect the system had produced in over 30 years. The Christopher Busch lead was the result of the phone call my daughter made to the Livonia Police Department in 2009 with information on an unidentified suspect. Cory Williams of the Livonia Police Department and Gregory Greene of the Michigan State Police identified this suspect as Christopher Busch.

My Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Michigan State Police resulted in the delivery of 3,411 pages on the Christopher Busch investigation. However, the legal system has told me that the Oakland County Prosecutor has no responsibility to provide information supporting her March 1, 2010 phone call.

Last summer I decided to use social media to tell my story. This was awkward because of my limited knowledge of this new communication system. I would like to thank those youngsters (age 60 and under) for the education provided to me regarding this publication.

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