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  1. #1
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    MI - Oakland County Child Killer, "The Babysitter Murders" , 1976-77 #2

    For 13 months from 1976 to 1977, four children were abducted and killed. The killer was dubbed "the Baby-sitter" because he kept his victims alive for days, feeding and bathing them before murdering the children, leaving their bodies for others to find.

    The victims were 12-year-old Mark Stebbins, abducted while walking near his Ferndale home Feb. 15, 1976; 12-year-old Jill Robinson, taken in Royal Oak on Dec. 22, 1976; 10-year-old Kristine Mihelich, snatched near her Berkley home Jan. 2, 1977; and 11-year-old Timothy King, kidnapped from a grocery store parking lot near his home in Birmingham on March 16, 1977.



    This is a fresh start for those who have been actively discussing and sleuthing these cases. Please attack the post, not the poster, link all info to the MSM source or documents. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact a Mod. Please do not discuss previously moderated posts or any posters who have been moderated.

    Feel free to bring over any posts from the old thread that you feel are relevant.

    Thank you for your hard work!!!
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  3. #2
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    "The Babysitter" Oakland County Michigan 1976-77

    I started the origional thread on "The Babysitter" here on Websleuths back in 2004. Since that time, there have been close to 20,000 viewings of it.

    I hardly think that we need to start another thread from scratch and assign credit to a new "thread starter" because of some innapropriate comments that have already been removed.

    At least transfer the basic case summary and dates to get things started again. The way this thread is set up, it is absolutely necessary to look at the origional thread to comment on this one.

    <modsnip>
    This is a discussion type of forum, and therefore mistakes, misunderstandings and certainly disagreements take place. I, for one, certainly do not claim to have all the answers on this case or on any case for that matter. I hope none of my posts have offended anyone, but if so please don't hesitate to let me know.

    Here is a link to the origional thread:

    "The Babysitter" Oakland County Michigan 1976-77 - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community

    LINK:

    MI - "The Babysitter" Oakland County Michigan 1976-77 - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community
    Last edited by bessie; 06-26-2015 at 04:10 AM. Reason: repaired link


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  5. #3
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    Richard, I totally agree with you - why start another thread from scratch?


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  7. #4
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    The deed is done, and the thread is closed. This is a great opportunity for those who wish to resurrect discussion lines without the distraction.
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    It was very scary at the time that this was happening. I had 3 young children at the time and we were afraid to even let our kids go outside to play. We constantly watched for the car fitting the description of the suspect's vehicle. We read in the newspaper that the bodies were always put out by the road after a fresh snow. The whole thing was so bazaar. Years later, some people thought a certain man who had died had been the killer. He was eventually exhumed and his DNA didn't match a hair found on one of the children. Back to square one. I can't remember the name of the woman who thought she knew the killer and she followed him up north and talked with him and saw things he had collected in a box that appeared to have belonged to some of the missing victims. Police didn't take her very seriously. She had a blog about it on the Internet. I still think the police should have done more research into her claims and on the man she believed was the killer. I sometimes wonder if the crimes will ever be solved and if the killer is still alive.


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  11. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jan View Post
    It was very scary at the time that this was happening. I had 3 young children at the time and we were afraid to even let our kids go outside to play. We constantly watched for the car fitting the description of the suspect's vehicle. We read in the newspaper that the bodies were always put out by the road after a fresh snow. The whole thing was so bazaar. Years later, some people thought a certain man who had died had been the killer. He was eventually exhumed and his DNA didn't match a hair found on one of the children. Back to square one. I can't remember the name of the woman who thought she knew the killer and she followed him up north and talked with him and saw things he had collected in a box that appeared to have belonged to some of the missing victims. Police didn't take her very seriously. She had a blog about it on the Internet. I still think the police should have done more research into her claims and on the man she believed was the killer. I sometimes wonder if the crimes will ever be solved and if the killer is still alive.
    I believe she posted on here for a little while Jan-is this who you are thinking of? (Check the first thread for her posts)

    Quote Originally Posted by Helen Dagner View Post
    Hi,so happy to be here...and to see that Richard started this thread...i have been working on this case for over 14years...and i spent 9mo's with John...who told me he is the OCCK...or The Babysitter...as some still call him.I have over40,000 post on the web...and am still at it...I would like all of you...who are Interested to go on line...see what is out there...and then come back...and we can talk....http://www.geocities.com/jtoddmatthe...ders.html?This is the url...for the original story....you can however type into a search...Helen Dagner or Oakland County Child Killer...and you will find many post...of interest...This is the 28th year...that this case has gone unsolved.
    Quote Originally Posted by Helen Dagner View Post
    Richard,I do know where John is today,however because something has just come up in the OCCK case in the past two weeks...maybe I should hold off on telling you.Actually there are no dozen suspects...that was an error that was made by a Detroit TV producer...then picked up by that areas...newspaper media.I agree that most killings that stop...are for the reasons you stated...How ever John...is not your run of the mill Serial Killer...and I'm not really sure he has stopped...or that he ever did stop...I'm thinking now...that he may have just....changed his MO....I guess it may sound to some that John...was just bragging to me about the murders....but that wasn't the case....first he talked to me in the third person...then he made a Freudian slip...and I persued it.Richard,when john killed the 4 children,now known as the Oakland County Child Killer victims....he had already been practicing...for a few years...when he perfected his craft...that is when he designed his MO....his motive...was not to kill the children...like in being EVIL...he told me...at the time....he felt he was saving the children-from life as he knew it....and making a statement to the world...he said he had no other way of doing it...what ever his reasoning...the children still ended up dead.
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  13. #7
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    EXCLUSIVE: New Person Identified In Oakland County Child Killer Case

    POSTED: Wednesday, May 18, 2011
    UPDATED: 8:06 am EDT May 19, 2011


    snip
    There are four blockbuster new pieces of evidence:

    1. White animal hair connects all four cases.
    2. A DNA match from new hairs discovered on one of the victims leads to this new suspect.
    3. Police find a startling drawing at a suspect's home.
    4. A police report surfaces from the 1970s that sent investigators looking around a northern Michigan cottage Tuesday afternoon.
    http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/27944695/detail.html
    "LIGHTING THE WAY HOME"


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  15. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tfrohning View Post
    EXCLUSIVE: New Person Identified In Oakland County Child Killer Case

    POSTED: Wednesday, May 18, 2011
    UPDATED: 8:06 am EDT May 19, 2011


    snip
    There are four blockbuster new pieces of evidence:

    1. White animal hair connects all four cases.
    2. A DNA match from new hairs discovered on one of the victims leads to this new suspect.
    3. Police find a startling drawing at a suspect's home.
    4. A police report surfaces from the 1970s that sent investigators looking around a northern Michigan cottage Tuesday afternoon.
    http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/27944695/detail.html
    According to police reports obtained by the Defenders, police think the hair belongs to 49-year-old James Vincent Gunnels. Gunnels was in police custody until just one month ago, living in a halfway house in Kalamazoo. He has a long history of property crimes, but never has been charged in any criminal sexual case. The victims' families were recently told Gunnels would stay in prison for decades unless he cooperated in the Oakland County Child Killer case. But tonight Gunnels is a free man -- police saying they do not have enough evidence to hold him or charge him.
    According to hundreds of police documents scrutinized by the Defenders, investigators believe Gunnels may have been part of a group involved in the child killings or a lure to draw the kids closer to the killer. Gunnels was only 16-years-old at the time. Police investigating Gunnels have learned he was molested by a key suspect in the Oakland County Child Killer case -- a man named Christopher Busch.
    More at the link...


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  17. #9
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    I watched the news segment on this last night and was disappointed. Sounds like another dead end. This new evidence is largely useless. The DNA, as it turns out, is mitochondrial DNA which means that it did not narrow down the suspects to an individual but only to “one percent of the Caucasian male population” which Gunnels falls into. The problem is, of course, tens of millions of people fall into this category at any given time and thousands of them live in Michigan at any given time.

    The segment also brought up a snatch of a phone conversation overheard between Gunnels and his sister as she talked to him through prison glass while he was incarcerated recently. She told him his DNA was found all over the OCCK victims to which he responded, “I wasn’t there when it happened.” That response, obviously, could mean almost anything. What it cannot mean is that Gunnels was confessing to the murders or admitting any guilt at all. Also brought up was that Gunnels took a polygraph concerning the murders but appeared to be holding his breath to cause false readings. But what does this mean? Nothing or anything, take your pick.

    Busch’s death was covered in the segment including the showing of bloody ligatures found at the scene and a pencil drawing of a screaming boy said to look like Mark Stebbins. The problem, of course, is that it is only a drawing and could have been anybody. Even stranger was the picture of Mark Stebbins to which the drawing was compared for our convenience also appeared to be a drawing (???). How valid is comparing one drawing to another for identification purposes when photographs are available? Because, juding from the only photograph I've ever seen of Mark Stebbins, he actually doesn't look all that much like the drawing found at the Busch death scene. Maybe I'm wrong but why didn't they give us a photo to look at?? The segment also admitted nothing at the scene of Busch’s death linked Busch to OCCK including DNA testing of items removed from the scene. Whether anything there linked him to Gunnels was also not mentioned. While the segment presented the photos of the ligatures and screaming boy drawing as never before seen in public, the news of these items have nevertheless long been known among internet sleuthers.

    They showed Mark Stebbins's brother commenting on the drawing and saying it looked just llike his brother. What was not brought up was that the Stebbins family had originally accused Theodore Lamborgine as the one who kidnapped and killed Mark. Now, it's Chris Busch. The problem is, if you look at any of the main suspects, you can make them look guilty if you play up on certain things and downplay others. The bottom line is that there is no evidence Chris Busch was ever in any contact with any of the victims.

    What was just as noteworthy in the segment was not so much what was said but what was not. For example, the segment brought up that identical dog hairs were found on the bodies of all the victims. Yet, the type of dog was not identified nor was there any mention of a dog at the Busch cottage. They told us what certain victims had seen while they were there but did not say that any of them saw a dog. If they had seen one, why didn't the reporter mention this? Obviously nobody saw one and the dog is very important because if you find out who owned it, you find the killer. No one knows of Busch owning a dog.

    Regarding Jill Robinson being shot in the face with a 12-gauge shotgun, the segment revealed that one boy who had been to the Busch cottage where Busch molested or attempted to molest him stated that Busch had also taught him how to fire a 12-gauge shotgun. But the segment neglected to mention that no 12-gauge shotgun was ever recovered in Busch’s possession and even if he did have one that by itself, of course, doesn’t prove anything since 12-gauge shotguns are extremely common among gun-owners in the United States. Also not addressed is why Busch would have abducted girls when he was strictly into boys. In fact, no female victims of Busch have ever come forward that I know of. They also forgot to mention that Busch passed a polygraph shortly after he was busted as part of the North Fox Island porn ring indicating he did not abduct or murder Mark Stebbins.

    I think the killer was too careful to leave his/her hairs on the victims. Why go through all the trouble of bathing the bodies and washing the clothes only to leave hairs on the victims’ bodies? The hairs, in all likelihood, do not belong to the killer and may even have been placed deliberately to confuse forensics experts.

    None of this evidence could pass muster in front of a grand jury although the segment reported that police are discussing the possibility. Unless something vital was withheld in the segment, nothing was presented other than circumstantial evidence and nothing beyond a reasonable doubt. The evidence is, in fact, very weak. This segment is just the latest in a long line of news specials that surface every few years to remind the public about the killings. All claim to have found new evidence. None of the evidence ever leads anywhere and certainly nothing from this latest one ever will. In fact, police have released Gunnels saying they have no evidence that compels them to continue holding him.

    I think the police might be trying to close this case due to pressure from the families of the victims and Chris Busch makes as good a scapegoat as any. I think the cops want this case closed--whatever it takes. When members of Tim King's family stated on this segment that even if Gunnels had nothing to with the killings, since he had been in Busch's car a number of times and the children had his hair on their clothes, it puts them in Busch's car as well. Needless to say, a red flag went up immediately in my mind. If they picked up Gennel's hair in Busch's car, wouldn't they have picked up SOMETHING from Busch himself since it was, after all, his car??? And despite what they say, they NOT proven the hair was Gunnels' hair--it COULD be. They are going to hang this on Chris Busch if they can without anything solid to do it with and that means that if he is not the killer--and nothing concrete says he is--then the real killer is going to get away with it. And that will be a huge shame.


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    thinking is good

    Quote Originally Posted by Omori View Post
    . . .and that means that if he is not the killer--and nothing concrete says
    he is--then the real killer is going to get away with it. And that will be a huge shame.
    Whether you are right or wrong I am glad to know people are looking carefuly
    at the evidence & thinking about it all to be sure the truth comes out so whoever is guilty
    does not entirely get away with it.


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    I wonder if this dead guy is the same guy that a recent poster here told us about before the earlier thread was closed. IIRC, she said the guy was dead already, but he was one of the Long Island child molesters. I hope she comes back and tells us what she knows.
    “Every day that they don’t find something is good for me.“ Billie Dunn


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    She doesn't know anything and she proved over and over again. Please don't encourage her.

    What I wonder is if the cops, have checked out what type of dog the hairs belong to and have then looked to see who owned that kind of dog in this area. Since dogs owners are required to license dogs then there's a pool of potential suspects to look at. by combing the records. Too late now probably. I mean, they MUST have done that, you would think. The killer is too crafty to be caught that easily, I suppose.

    The dog ties these murders together so it's a MAJOR clue--perhaps the most important clue in this entire case. Whose dog was it?? It was obviously employed to keep the children company. Why wasn't this fact played up in the press? I was not aware of it before that news segment. Were the police only now revealing it??? And I still don't know what kind of dog it was. I mean, good god!! Put it out through the media and let the phone calls pour in and check out every damn one of them. If none of them pan out then we could be sure the area where this dog is kept is remote. It's really the most important clue they had, what were they doing sitting on it???

    Makes wonder what else they sat on that the pbulic needs to know and which probably would have broken the case long ago if they had. Idiots.


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  23. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omori View Post
    I watched the news segment on this last night and was disappointed. Sounds like another dead end. This new evidence is largely useless.......
    Very well said! I had the same thoughts as I watched the much hyped news report. Local media rolls out a "new evidence in the OCCK case" every year or two...usually around sweeps week.


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    It's going from bad to worse. I just watched the news and the the anchor guy says there's new information about Gunnels that News4 obtained from a woman who has involved herself in the investigation. I thought, "Oh, my god, I'll bet it's Terri Lynn!!!" And, sure enough, some woman by the name of Terri appears on my screen claiming she's been trading emails with this guy. I just looked at the ceiling and shook my head.

    One of the anchors introduced the case as one that has haunted residents "since the early seventies." Uhhh...the first murder occurred in 1976 and the other three in 1977. That would be the late seventies. This thing all over the place while all involved seem to be playing very fast and very loose with the facts.

    They once again say that Gunnels' hair was found on one of the victims but it is MITOCHONDRIAL DNA!!! It is not a positive match! And what did Gunnels say to Terri Lynn? Basically, that the authorities have treated him like the murderer when he is a victim of Chris Busch. That's it. That's what he keeps saying. He admits to nothing. He even told Terri Lynn that he was victimized by Chris Busch only and does not know the other people she's talking about but we know that she has a tendency to place unnamed, unknown suspects where none previously existed without offering a bit of proof in so doing so that's not surprising.

    Anyway the emails are on ClickOn Detroit so you can go there if you want to waste your time on this red herring.


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    Quote Originally Posted by katydid23 View Post
    I wonder if this dead guy is the same guy that a recent poster here told us about before the earlier thread was closed. IIRC, she said the guy was dead already, but he was one of the Long Island child molesters. I hope she comes back and tells us what she knows.
    Can you please elaborate on "Long Island child molesters". I am from Long Island.


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