Oakland County Child Killer case: Court denies victim's father's 3rd appeal for more information

Timothy King among 4 Metro Detroit children killed by unknown suspect in 1970s

DETROIT - The Michigan Supreme Court has denied Barry King's latest appeal to have the Oakland County Prosecutor Office release more evidence from the Oakland County Child Killer Case. 

King's son, Timothy King, was one of four children between the ages of 10 and 12 who were abducted and held for days before being killed during a 13-month period from February 1976 to March 1977. The unknown killer became known as the "Oakland County Child Killer."

There have been hundreds of suspects over the years, but the killer remains unknown to this day.

King family focuses on suspect Christopher Busch

Barry King and his family have remained vocal about who they think is responsible. The father has a blog -- view it here -- in which he focuses on suspect Christopher Busch, a convicted pedophile who lived in Bloomfield Hills and committed suicide in 1978, shortly after Timothy's death. 

In 2008, police followed up on new leads and focused the investigation on Busch, who, in the 1970s, lived in Bloomfield Township. The police obtained search warrants for the house where Busch had been living, to search for trace evidence that could be connected to the murders. By 2010, Busch was no longer considered a suspect in the Oakland County Child Killer Case. 

Barry King was not convinced.

"I don't want the case solved by conjecture and hearsay and coincidence and suspicion. I want to know what the facts are," he told Local 4

He has filed three appeals in this case. In his most recent appeal Barry L. King v. Oakland County Prosecutor filed Dec. 13, 2016 (now denied by the Supreme Court), King summarizes the case as such: 

Plaintiff was the father of Timothy King, who, in March 1977, was 11 years old when he went missing after he made a trip to a drugstore in Birmingham. Timothy’s body was later discovered and Timothy, along with three other young children, were suspected to have been victims of the ‘Oakland County Child Killer,’ who has yet to be identified and prosecuted. However, various agencies have continued to investigate leads in the matter over the decades.

In 2008, the police followed up on new leads and focused the investigation on Christopher Busch, who, in the 1970s, resided in Bloomfield Township. The police obtained search warrants for the house where Busch had been living, to search for trace evidence that could be connected to the murders. The search warrants were issued by the 48th District Court. In 2010, defendant advised plaintiff that Busch was no longer considered a suspect in the murder of his son. 

Requests for evidence to be opened

Under the Freedom of Information Act, King has filed requests for documents from the agencies involved as he seeks answers to questions about his son's death. Although he has received some documents, King wants more information on the investigation from the prosecutor. He wants to open up all the evidence police and prosecutors have in this case. The King family hopes the public will read it and help solve the case.

King also filed suit seeking an order "compelling the Oakland County prosecutor to confer with him regarding the status of the investigation pursuant to the Crime Victim’s Rights Act." He has accused to the Oakland County prosecutor of acting in bad faith "in obtaining an order of suppression for evidence relating to a 2008 search warrant and affidavit."

On Tuesday, the Michigan Supreme Court announced the leave to appeal Barry L. King v. Oakland County Prosecutor has been denied because the court is "not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this Court."

The case remains under investigation.

Oakland County Child Killer case timeline:

1976:

February: The first victim, Mark Stebbins, goes missing on Feb. 15. He was last seen in Ferndale. Stebbins' body was found four days later on Feb. 19 in Southfield.

December: Victim No. 2, Jill Robinson, goes missing on Dec. 22. Her body was found four days later on Dec. 26 along Interstate 75 in Troy.

1977:

January: Two more children go missing in Oakland County. Kristine Mihelich went missing on Jan. 2 in Berkley. Her body was not found until Jan. 21 in Franklin.

Gregory Greene, 27, was arrested on child sexual assault charges. Greene leads investigators to 26-year-old Christopher Busch, telling them Busch killed Stebbins. However, Busch and Green both pass polygraph examinations. Greene was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting young boys. Busch gets probation for the same charges.

March: On March 16 of the same year, nearly two months after Greene's arrest, the third victim, Timothy King, goes missing in Birmingham. King was found dead March 22 in Wayne County -- near 8 Mile Road in a Livonia neighborhood.

1978:

November: Busch is found dead from a what is ruled a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. A drawing of a boy was found in Busch's room at his home in Bloomfield Township. It would take decades for police to decide the sketch resembles Stebbins.

December: The task force which had been working the case shuts down.

Decades pass without resolution. Christopher Busch was still a prime suspect.

1999: 

A team of experts travel to a recluse area of Wyoming to exhume the body of then prime suspect David Norberg.

County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who was Oakland County prosecutor during the abductions, organized the trip to Wyoming.

"It always has been a long shot, but we think it's a shot that's worth taking," he said at the time.

DNA samples were taken and tested, but there was no match. The investigation moved on. 

2008:

The police follow up on new leads and focus the investigation on Christopher Busch, who, in the 1970s, resided in Bloomfield Township. The police obtain search warrants for the house where Busch had been living, to search for trace evidence that could be connected to the murders.

2010:

Busch no longer considered a suspect by Oakland County prosecutor.

2012:

February: Suspect James Vincent Gunnels tells the Local 4 Defenders that he had nothing to do with the child killings.

Police investigators had said Gunnels was the best lead in the 35-year-old serial killer mystery. His DNA is a mitochondrial DNA match to a hair found on the body of victim Kristine Mihelich.

June: Oakland County prosecutors open files with new evidence in the Oakland County Child Killer case. Prosecutors say the evidence points away from Busch as a suspect in the investigation. The prosecutors say the families of the victims and media outlets continuing to push Busch as the Oakland County Child Killer have misinterpreted public documents and have not seen the real evidence. They say a new suspect will be named.

July: Local 4 Defenders learned there is physical and DNA evidence linking an associate of 70-year-old Arch Edward Sloan to the male victims in the series of killings which began in the 1970s. This associate left hair at the crime scene of the two slain boys. Sloan is reportedly the owner of the car where the hair was found.

Sloan's criminal history dates back to 1959 when he was arrested at the age of 18. He was busted for gross indecency between males. He served 50 months in jail and was released in August 1963.

It is believed Sloan worked at a garage or gas station near 10 Mile and Middlebelt roads during the time of the Oakland County Child Killer murders. Seven years after the death of Timothy King, Sloan was arrested again. He was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. The offense took place in October 1983. He was sentenced to life in prison in January 1985. He has been behind bars since.

Oakland County Child Killer case unsolved 40 years later -- watch:

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