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.
Over the 30 year period from 1977 to 2007, it was customary for the local television stations to review the Oakland County Child Killer case every five years. In late 2006, my children, Cathy and Chris, expressed an interest in joining in the 2007 programs. I advised them that I had no objection but that I would advise the revitalized Task Force of their intentions.
In late 2006, I called Michigan State Police Sergeant Garry Gray and advised him of this suggestion. In his response, Gray indicated he would like to meet with me concerning a new development in this case. I advised him that I could come in any afternoon next week. Twenty minutes later he called and asked if I could come in immediately and I met with him at the Oak Park station. During the conference we made arrangements to meet with my family and the Task Force the next week. I then visited the Oak Park Station with my son Chris and our friend Don Studt, now the Chief of Police in Birmingham. The Task Force was represented by Gray, his assistant Officer Robertson and Cory Williams, the Livonia Police Officer working with Gray regarding pedophile rings on Cass Avenue and in the Wayne and Oakland County. They advised me that the Task Force was following a lead on Ted Lamborgine, a long time participant in the Detroit Cass Avenue and the Oakland County child pedophile cases. The Task Force believed that Lamborgine was a possible lead to the identity of the Oakland County Child Killer.
The Task Force formally advised the King family that Gregory Greene was a potential suspect when his participation was discussed in the Michigan State Police reports we received on December 15, 2010.
Gregory Greene was a known pedophile and companion of Christopher Busch. The Michigan State Police reports have extensive history of his pedophile convictions in California, including one case in which Greene thought the boy was dead and dropped him off at a hospital. Fortunately, the boy lived. After he served his jail term in California he returned to his home town, Flint, Michigan. Greene and Busch were codefendants in the pedophile case in Genesee County, Michigan. Busch was granted probation and Greene was sentenced to life in prison for violating the same child. Greene died in prison in 1996.
In driving from Alma to Flint on January 28, 1977, Busch stated that Greene and he planned to have one of them get a day job and the other, a night job so that they could have someone present with a potential future victim. See Chapter 26 and 27. Busch did not answer the question when the police asked him what they would do when they were finished with a child.
The most upsetting part of the Greene story took place in Flint, on January 27 and 28, 1977 when Busch and he were investigated by the police. On more than one occasion, Greene stated that Busch had murdered Mark Stebbins the first victim. The Police Reports provided to me do not indicate that Greene was separately examined on his basis for this murder accusation.
After Green died, a former cell mate recalled discussing the OCCK Case with Greene. However, the Michigan State Police reports do not discuss content of these discussions. The Police Reports indicated that Greene was continuously in jail after January 28, 1977 and if this is true he could not have been personally involved in Tim’s murder.
When Chris Bush was arrested on the Genesee County charges in Alma MI, on January 28, 1977 and after waving his Miranda rights, Busch made statements to the arresting officers. He admitted that he was a homosexual and liked young boys who tend to be 10-15 years old. Partial results of this interview are summarized in paragraph 3-S of the search warrant affidavit in Chapter 8( Exhibit A) which reads as follows.
“Busch told detectives that he and Greene had discussed and planned how they would kidnap, hold and molest young boys. Busch stated that he and Greene agreed that one would work days and the other nights, so that one of them would always be with the kidnapped child. Busch further described 3 locations where he picked up young boys in the past. These locations are as follows:
• 9 Mile and Woodward are in Ferndale;
• In Royal Oak near 13 Mile Rd and Woodward;
• In the area of 12 Mile and Greenfield Rd, more specifically, Hartfield’s Bowling Alley and the 7-11 party store located directly across the street.
Doan reported that he asked Busch what they intended to do with the child after they were through with him. Doan wrote in his report that Busch could not answer. “
The above locations are where Mark Stebbins, Jill Robinson and Kristine Mihelich were abducted. My judgment is that this location is not coincidental.
In 1976 and 1977 were these locations identified by any other child victims or pedophile suspects?
When Christopher Busch was identified as a possible suspect in November of 2007, the only members of his immediate family then surviving were a brother, Charles, and two nephews, Brent Busch and Scott Busch. As previously noted in the Search Warrant Affidavit, Christopher Busch had pedophile sexual experiences with both of his nephews. In 1977 or 1978, Brent Busch asked his uncle where Tim King was abducted and Christopher Busch drove him immediately to the site and showed him the location. Brent Busch advised the investigators that you do not forget things like that.
Charles Busch was originally reluctant to talk to the investigators. However, he finally agreed to meet with the FBI. Before beginning the interview Charles Busch requested that the FBI to place both of his nephews into “witness protection program” if his statement led to further investigative action. To my knowledge no one has asked him for an explanation why he made this request.
Charles Busch also told the FBI that his brother was arrested in Birmingham for sexual activity with a young boy he met through the Big Brother program. This is the only information I have on this crime.
Richard Lawson, a convicted murderer and pedophile activist in the Detroit Cass Avenue Corridor, wrote me a letter and asked for a meeting to discuss the OCCK case. I had met Lawson previously and had little respect for him. Dave Binkley of my law firm agreed to visit with him. Binkley was under instructions not to talk to him about anything other than the Christopher Busch involvement. Lawson advised Binkley that his associate Bobby Moore, used to take young boys to visit with H. Lee Busch, the father of Christopher Busch. Lawson has subsequently died and I am not aware as to whether or not the Task Force followed up on this information.
IF CHARLES BUSCH FEARED THAT SOME HARM MIGHT COME TO HIS NEPHEWS, THIS HARM WOULD COME FROM SOMEONE WHO WAS STILL ALIVE. SHOULD THE TASK FORCE ASK CHARLES BUSCH TO CLARIFY THIS REQUEST?
In response to his investigative subpoena, Wayne County Circuit Judge Timothy Kenney ordered that Lawrence Wasser to identify his potential suspect. Wasser filed an immediate appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals which instructed him to provide a similar answer. Wasser advised the Wayne County Circuit court that he could not remember the name of the potential suspect but he would be willing to meet with Cory Williams and Garry Gray to discuss the matter. When Wasser met with Williams and Gray on November 30, 2007, Wasser provided the following statements:
1.) He was asked by Jane Burgess to take the polygraph on behalf of a criminal suspect
2.) The suspect of Burgees stated that he was polygraphed by Ralph Carter and he passed a polygraph regarding the OCCK case
3.) Both the attorney and the suspect were deceased
Williams and Gray then determined that Carter had polygraphed 5 suspects in the OCCK case including Christopher Busch. Of the 5 Carter polygraphs, Busch was the only instance in which both the suspect and the attorney were deceased.
After Busch was identified as a suspect the OCCK task force continued gathering evidence regarding his participation in the murders. During the future investigation, the Task Force also identified Gregory Greene and Vince Gunnels as Busch companions who were possible participants in the murders.
I will discuss the involvement of Green and Gunnels after I complete the possible Busch participation.
The OCCK Task Force served an investigation subpoena on both Patrick Coffey and Lawrence Wasser. Coffey flew from California at his own expense. Coffey was advised that giving false testimony in murder cases was a felony. He then gave testimony and, to my knowledge, no one has challenged the truth of his story.
After he was served with the subpoena, Wasser hired James Feinberg as his attorney and sought dismissal of the subpoena. At the hearing, Judge Timothy Kenny and Feinberg had the following exchange:
“The Court: And it is further my understanding based on the arguments that have been made before the Court that Mr. Wasser denies that conversation.
Mr. Feinberg: That’s correct.”
After Wasser was ordered to give the name of his person of interest, he made several public comments denying the truth of the Coffey statements. Coffey then commenced a libel action against Wasser and Feinberg for those alleged false statements. Wasser and Feinberg paid Coffey a sum of money. The Settlement Agreement specifically states that Coffey and Wasser had a different interpretation of their 2006 conversation.
How do you have different interpretation of a conversation which never took place?
I commenced this story with two of my major concerns over the investigation of my son’s death. For 30 years the King family, and to my knowledge, the families of the other three victims, relied on law enforcement to identify the killer or killers. It was more than 33 years after Tim was abducted that the authorities provided me with any information. In response to my FOIA action, the Michigan State Police provided me with 3,411 pages on December 15, 2010.
My first major concern was the automobile identification process. I outlined these concerns in Chapters 3 to 7. There was little or no basis for emphasizing the participation of a blue AMC Gremlin when the files make substantial reference to other automobiles. In particular, a Pontiac LeMans was identified as being involved in three of the murders and the fourth murder even referred to a Pontiac without identifying the brand. This has continued for forty years. Why? Was this tactic deliberate? There were a lot more Pontiac LeMans on the road than there were AMC Gremlins. Is it possible for the current investigating officers to correct my perceived omissions?
My second concern is the lack of information from the Oakland County Prosecutor and the Oakland County authorities. It is my understanding that on October 28, 2008, the date of the Search Warrant, the Oakland County Prosecutor, the Wayne County Prosecutor and the Michigan State Police all believed that Christopher Busch was the best suspect at that time. I was unaware of the Search Warrant Affidavit until the Oakland County Prosecutor went to Court without my knowledge and perhaps the judge’s knowledge of my involvement to deny everyone access to this document. Was this done with a suggestion or cooperation of the Oakland County officials? Why did Jessica Cooper advise me on March 1, 2010 that Busch was no longer a suspect?
In continuing my story, over the next chapters I will discuss the following:
a. Identification of Busch as a suspect
b. Identify, Christopher Busch, Gregory Greene, Vince Gunnels, Ted Lambrogine and Archibald Sloan, the only suspects identified to me by law enforcement, and
c. The chronology of the events leading up to my FOIA lawsuits.
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