Defenders find new evidence in Oakland County Child Killer case

Victims' families fight to have investigative documents made public

Author: Kevin Dietz, Local 4 Defenders, @KDietzLocal4
Published On: Feb 07 2012 08:34:20 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 22 2012 04:36:27 PM EST
DETROIT -

The Local 4 Defenders have found never before seen evidence in the Oakland County Child Killer case.

Investigators were told the files were destroyed, but the Defenders went digging. Someone saved a copy all these years just in case it might lead to the identity of the Oakland County Child Killer.

The Defenders turned the documents over to the Oakland County and Wayne County prosecutors' offices, and to the Michigan State Police, which is in charge of the task force investigating the murders.

"You go up there, do a little homework and provide it to us. God bless you," said Barry King, whose son Timothy King was among the victims killed.

The King family had never before seen dozens of the documents which detail facts and information that police and prosecutors never knew.

Now, the documents are open for investigation for the first time. They include an investigator's notes from a sexual predator investigation in Montmorency County. It reads, "The Oakland County task force that was involved in the investigation of the kidnapping and homicide of five juveniles ... became involved in this matter." The document is dated Jan. 31, 1977. That was before Timothy King was abducted and killed.

"It's disturbing that chunks of evidence are missing or haven't been looked at," said Chris King, Timothy King's brother.

The King family had no idea that there was a task force before Tim's abduction and no idea that he might be the 6th victim. They were told for more than 30 years that there were only four victims: Mark Stebbins, Kristine Mehalic, Jill Robinson and Timothy King.

"We just want to make sure police and the prosecutors have done their due diligence and have done their job," Chris King said. "We just want to make sure that police have all evidence, look at all the evidence and follow it where it leads."

Sources say the task force is looking at the possibility of at least two more victims.

The victims' families are suing law enforcement to release more documents. They want everything known about the Oakland County Child Killer made public, citing John Walsh of America's Most Wanted. Walsh did just that to find out who killed his son, Adam.

"(Adam's) father, John Walsh, fought the judge to the end about making the records available to the public," Barry King said. "They finally made it available to the public, and two new witnesses show up, tying young Adam to the principle suspect."

The King family and police are pouring through the new documents discovered by the Defenders. They are finding several new clues. They say the documents show known suspects have been changing their stories.

Last summer, the Defenders reported that investigators from Wayne County took a road trip to northern Michigan. They were looking for physical evidence and criminal files involving two suspects in the case: Christopher Busch and James Vincent Gunnels. Gunnels told police he was abused by Busch at a family cottage in Montmorency County. However, when investigators arrived at the cottage, they found it had been torn down and the 35-year-old files were destroyed to make room for newer cases.

A Local 4 viewer saw the Defenders' reports and called with a surprise: They had saved a copy of the files, just in case.

Now, that viewer's gut instinct may help solve the case of Michigan's biggest unsolved serial murder mystery.

The King family is hoping the new files provide them with the information needed to solve the case.