DETROIT (WXYZ) - The battle between the Oakland County Prosecutor and the attorney for some relatives of the Oakland county child killing victims is heating up.
And, it will soon be official. A legal move to take the 36-year-old mystery away from Oakland County authorities, so federal officials can take it over, is one month away.
Is this part of a lawyers wish list, or can the attorney make this happen? It’s both, as attorney Paul Hughes explains it.
He intends to ask a federal judge next month to order the Oakland County Prosecutor, sheriff’s department and State Police to turn over the mountain of information from decades of tips and leads, because his clients, like Debbie Jarvis, want answers they say they haven’t been getting about the probe.
“I truly believe there is information out there,” Jarvis tells 7 Action News. “ I’m not that naïve. I know some cases just don’t get solved , but I do believe there is enough information out there that we can move this on.”
Jarvis was there in attorney Hughes office in Detroit this morning, along with Michael Stebbins, the brother of murder victim Mark Stebbins, who was the first of the four children found murdered between 1976 and 1977 in Oakland and Wayne Counties.
Debbie’s daughter Kristine was also identified as one of the four children believed to have been killed by the same person, or people.
Both stood in support of Hughes who, today, announced he’ll be adding to the hundred million dollar federal lawsuit he’s filed against prosecutor Jessica Cooper, a request to take the child killer investigation to federal officials in Washington.
“We feel this is necessary,” Hughes told reporters at the morning press conference, “ because this investigation has become nothing more than a smoke screen and a political football with the offices of Oakland County.”
For Hughes and the families, he says it’s a matter of trust in the ongoing efforts to find the people responsible.
“Just trying to get this matter turned over to the Department of Justice so that these people and the other victims families can finally get answers as to what happened during this bungled investigation,” he says
As a counter to the Attorney Grievance Commission complaint that Cooper filed against Hughes last month, Hughes now says what Cooper has said about him, he feels, is slander. So he’ll file his own complaint against the prosecutor.
Michael Stebbins is the brother of the first child killer victim. The fighting between attorneys isn’t what he wants.
“If it is a political deal, it doesn’t need to be in an arena being kicked around like a pig skin,” Stebbins told 7 Action News. “ I would just like to have fresh eyes on the case, so maybe we can get some kind of closure.”
Hughes has, in court documents and in public statements, introduced the speculation of a man he calls Bob, a mysterious, anonymous figure who has his own theories on the case. Bob has spoken at length to Debbie, but she’s never paid him, she says.
“No, absolutely not. Never. I’ve offered money. And he says absolutely not,” she says.
She quickly added, “This ridiculous idea that Mr. Hughes and Bob are running some sort of a scam to get money? We’ll, if they can find any money they’re good investigators cause, trust me there’s nothing there.”
Oakland County prosecutor Jessica Cooper told 7 Action News in a telephone interview this afternoon she doesn’t believe a federal judge has the authority to order the county to surrender the case to federal agents or justice officials.
But, more importantly, she said, “the FBI has been part of this investigation in the various task force assignments for decades.”
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