OCCK

As mentioned in Chapter 3, the King family always thought it was unlikely that a Blue Gremlin was involved in the 1977 abduction of Tim. The information I received from the Michigan State Police on December 15, 2010 and subsequent information described in Chapters 4, 5 and 6 universally support the original King family conclusion.

When you can’t sleep during the night and no one will talk to you, conjecture is the only basis for your conclusions. Chasing the Blue Gremlin lead probably led to a lot of wasted time. There were a lot more Pontiac LeMans on the road than Blue Gremlins in 1977; would this extra follow up be a burden? Did one or more of the leading suspects die, perhaps by murder or suicide, and therefore could not be identified or charged? Why didn’t Oakland County take some action when retired Detective Jack Kalbfleisch contacted officials this century? If you can’t sleep tonight, can you think of any sensible reasons for silence?

Law enforcement not only owes the families of the four victims an explanation for this serious oversight, but also the media and the public. They are entitled to this additional automobile information that could help in solving the most heinous unsolved crime in the State of Michigan.

As I told you in Chapter 2, the two major concerns of the OCCK investigation, which came to my attention after December 15, 2010, were the incorrect automobile information and the attempts by the Oakland County Prosecutor to deny me access to the October 28, 2008 Search Warrant Affidavit for the former Busch residence. I will discuss the second major reason in the following chapters.

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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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