Who Is The Oakland County Child Killer?

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Victims

  • Mark Stebbins
  • Age: 12 years old
  • Hometown: Ferndale, Mich.
  • Last Seen: 1:30 p.m. Feb. 15, 1976
  • Body Found: Feb. 19, 1976 in Ferndale, Mitch
  • Cause of Death: Suffocation, sexually assaulted

At 1:30 p.m. on Feb 15, 1976, Mark talked to his mother on the phone to let her know that he was leaving the American Legion Hall to head home but he never made it. When Mark’s mother found that it’s 11 p.m. but Mark still had not come home she was scared and tried to find Mark but after a while, she couldn’t find him then she called Ferndale Police Department to report Mark missing. The Police Department started searching for Mark that night. At about 11:45 a.m., Feb 19, 1976, A businessman left his office building and headed towards the drug store inside the New Orleans mall he found that there was a body lying in a snowbank in the parking lot. He immediately called the police department. Mark’s body was found after four days wearing the same clothes, he was last seen in. The autopsy showed the cause of death asphyxia by way of smothering, but the report also showed rope burns on his neck, wrists, and ankles. It appeared that Mark was also sexually assaulted.

  • Jill Robinson
  • Age: 12 years old
  • Hometown: Royal Oak, Mich.
  • Last seen: Late afternoon of Dec. 22, 1976
  • Body Found: 8:45 a.m. Dec. 26, 1976, near I-75 and Big Beaver Road in Troy, Mich.
  • Cause of Death: Shotgun blast to her head.

Jill left her home on December 22, 1976, After an argument with her mother over dinner preparations. She packed her backpack and took his bicycle from home. Jill’s father, Thomas Robinson, made a call to police at 11:30 p.m. the day she left. At 8:45 a.m. on Dec 26, 1976, Jill was found on the side of I-75, north of Big Beaver Road. She was lying on her back, fully clothed, not bound in any way, but had a shot of 12-gauge shotgun on her head. The killer had transported her here, then shot her at close range in the head with a shotgun. After the autopsy report came, they found that Jill has been captive for three days and she is not sexually assaulted.

  • Kristine Mihelich
  • Age: 10 years old
  • Hometown: Berkley, Mich.
  • Last Seen: Jan. 2, 1977
  • Body Found: Jan. 21, 1977 — she was missing for 19 days — she was found in a snowbank along Bruce Road in Franklin Village, Mich.
  • Cause of Death: Suffocation

Kristine reported missing on Jan 2, 1977 after she couldn’t reach home while returning from the 7-Eleven store on 12 Mile Road at Oak shire. After 19 days a mail carrier found her fully clothed body on the side of a rural road in Franklin Village. Police said there were no signs of violence and that she was in the same clothes she was last seen in. Her body was on its back, knees drawn up. When Kristine’s body was found in a snowbank at the end of a dead-end street in Franklin Village, it was so frozen officials had to wait until the following day to perform an autopsy, because of the body’s frozen state.

  • Timothy King
  • Age: 11 years old
  • Hometown: Birmingham, Mich.
  • Last Seen: March 16, 1977
  • Body Found: March 23, 1977, in a ditch along Gill Road, about 300 feet south of 8 Mile Road in Livonia — He was missing for seven days.
  • Cause of Death: Suffocation, He also was sexually assaulted

On a cool March evening, Timothy King left his Birmingham home with 30 cents he borrowed from his older sister, Catherine, and headed to the corner store. He wanted some candy and it wasn’t rare for him to make this trip of about three blocks. He left with his skateboard and football, headed toward the Hunter-Maple Pharmacy. After failing to return home, an intensive search was made by two teenagers on the evening of March 22 to cover the entire Detroit metropolitan area, before her body was found in a shallow trench along Gill Road in Livonia. Autopsy reports showed whoever had Tim took care of him. They fed him his favorite meal, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and cleaned and groomed him thoroughly before they suffocated him. But they also raped him while he was held captive.

Other Possible Victims

There were different kidnappings and murders around the Oakland County region during a similar period. These are not explicitly attached to the four casualties above because of the varieties in the cases.

  • Cynthia Rae Cadieux

Cynthia Cadieux, 16, of Roseville, was found bludgeoned to death on January 16, 1976, in Bloomfield Township. At 1:05 a.m. On Jan. 16, a driver noticed something on the side of the road. What the person saw was the naked, lifeless body of Cynthia Rae Cadieux. It appeared that her skull was crushed by a blunt instrument. Police revealed Cynthia was raped and sodomized — possibly by more than one person. This case was looked at under a microscope that was designed to find the link or links between several other dead children in the Oakland County area.

  • Jane Louise Allan

Jane Louise Allan was a 14-year-old girl from Royal Oak. She was considered a runaway because she had done so five times before. She was last seen hitchhiking along I-75 in Pontiac on Aug. 7, 1976. Her body was found in a lake in Miamisburg, Ohio five days later. Police said she died from carbon monoxide poisoning after being kept in the trunk of a car.

  • Kimberly Alice King

Kimberly Alice King was 12 years old, she disappeared from Warren on September 15, 1979. Authorities believe she was abducted and that her disappearance is connected to the unsolved killings

About the killer, or killers

All related killings happened on days that it snowed. All children were last seen within a mile of Woodward Avenue between 9 Mile and 15 Mile roads. All children were fed and cared for. The killer(s) either bathed them or made them bathe. Both male victims had rope burns on their wrists and ankles. A psychological profile created by police described the killer as fanatically clean, smart, and sexually abnormal. The big lead police had — even as of March 24, 1977 — was the witness who saw Timothy King speaking with a man inside a blue AMC Gremlin. Police say the man described by witnesses was between 25 and 35 years old, white, with dark brown hair cut in a shag style. He had muttonchop sideburns, a fair complexion, and a husky build. He was driving a late model blue AMC Gremlin with whitewall tires.

Investigation

After the disclosure of Mihelich’s body, Investigators saw similarities shared by her case and those of Stebbins and Robinson, and reports were delivered warning the public that a serial killer was possibly operating in the Oakland County area. The Michigan State Police drove a gathering of law-implementing authorities from thirteen communities in the arrangement of a team, dedicated exclusively to the examination concerning the killings of the three children.

The task force checked out more than 18,000 tips, which resulted in about two dozen arrests on unrelated charges. The investigation also led to the busting of a multi-state child pornography ring operating on North Fox Island in Lake Michigan. After all of this investigation not much was found in the investigation and the task force disbanded in late 1978, turning the case over to the State Police. The killer never struck again after this.

Major Suspects

A few weeks after the death of Timothy King, a Detroit psychiatrist who was working with the task force received a letter from someone identifying themselves as “Allen”. The letter was poorly spelled and was very guilt-ridden, maybe. Allen claimed he was a slave for his roommate Frank who was indeed the Oakland County Child Killer. Allen spoke about how fearful and remorseful he was and was losing his sanity. He even talked about wanting to commit suicide. He wrote how he had accompanied Frank on road trips to scope out boys; however, he was never present during the abductions. Allen explained that Frank did indeed own a Gremlin but that he dumped it in Ohio and it would never be seen again. Allen claimed Frank committed these murders because he was traumatized by killing children in the Vietnam War. He wanted revenge on the rich people for sending forces to Vietnam. Allen then told the psychiatrist to print a certain code word in that Sunday’s Free Press paper. He did this and then received a phone call from Allen offering photographic proof in exchange for guaranteed immunity from prosecution. They arranged to meet at a bar in Detroit but Allen never showed. He was never heard from again.

Allen seems like a pretty messed up person who may be guilty and trying to reach out. The fact that he never showed up to the bar or tried to reach out again is both questioning and creepy. Did Frank find out he was planning on telling and murder him? Did Allen make all of this up for attention? Or, which I think may be the case, was Allen the serial killer who was guilty and almost wanting to turn himself in? Maybe he wanted the guilt to go away and wanted everyone to know why he was committing these murders, but he just made-up fake names and a fake roommate. Then when the time came to meet someone, he chickened out. We may never know.

The next suspect was a man named Archibald Edward Sloan. He was a pedophile who had victimized young boys in his neighborhood. Hair samples in his Pontiac were matched with hair found on the bodies of Timothy King and Mark Stebbins. Archibald’s DNA did not match that of the serial killer’s, and as there was no more evidence connecting him to any crimes he was let go. He claims he often would lend his car to his pedophile friends during the time the serial killer was on the loose.

Yet another main suspect was a man named Chris Busch. Timmy’s family was the pushing force against Busch, really believing he had involvement in the murders. Busch had been in custody for child pornography shortly before Timmy was abducted. He committed suicide in November of 1978 and bloodstains were found in his apartment. A hand-drawn image of a boy who resembled Mark Stebbins, the first victim, screaming in agony was found pinned to the wall where he committed suicide. After his suicide, there were no more murders by the Oakland County Child Killer.

James Vincent Gunnels was only 16 when the crimes occurred; however, his hair was partially matched with hair found on Kristine Mihelich. Oddly enough he had been sexually assaulted many times by Chris Busch when he was younger. The hair match was old and not enough to charge Gunnels with murder. Police gave him a lie detector test about the Oakland County killings and say he intentionally held his breath to try to make the test inconclusive. While in prison for an unrelated crime he was recorded talking to his sister on the phone about the case. She explained how police found his DNA on one of the victims and Gunnels responded by saying, “I wasn’t there when it happened.” Police believe he could have disposed of the body and was working for the actual killer.

One of the last suspects was a man named Theodore Lamborghini. He was a retired auto worker in Ohio who had been involved in a child porn ring. He had pleaded guilty to 15 sexual-related accounts involving young boys. He was offered a shorter sentence if he took a polygraph test about the Oakland County killings but declined the offer. He has never been linked with the Oakland County murders.

Although this guy was a bad person, I do not believe he was the Oakland County Child Killer. He always sexually assaulted boys and two girls were murdered in the Oakland County case. Oddly, he would not take a polygraph, however.