Detroit lawyer files suit alleging cover-up in Oakland County Child Killer case

(WXYZ) - A Detroit attorney has filed a $100 million dollar lawsuit against the Oakland County Prosecutor, the Oakland County Sheriff and the Michigan State Police.

He's expected to hold a press conference Tuesday, where he'll announce other potential victims of the child killer.

The lawsuit alleges a conspiracy, cover-up, and misconduct by the prosecutor.

The members of two of the victims' families have led a very public battle for more information about who killed four innocent children in the 1970s. But those family members - who've been so public about their quest – say the announcement of this press conference took them by surprise and they don't know what to expect.

Thirty-six years may have passed since the Oakland County Child Killer first struck – but for the families of the children who were murdered – the pain will never vanish.

"It never goes away.  It never dies.  And anybody who says there's any closure – there is no such thing," said Kristine Mihelich's stepfather, Tom Ascroft.

Between 1976 and 1977, Kristine and 3 other children who lived along the Woodward Corridor were abducted, held for days, and then murdered.

Despite the fact that secret grand juries in both Oakland and Wayne Counties have been hearing testimony about the killings – Detroit attorney Paul Hughes is calling a press conference. Hughes says he's representing Debbie Jarvis, Kristine's mother. 

But the other family members who have been actively pursuing answers in the case for years – including the King family, Ascroft, and Kristine's sister Erica McAvoy -- say they knew nothing about the upcoming press conference.

"We're really saddened that something would happen like this, without us being notified," Ascroft told 7 Action News Investigator Heather Catallo.

Hughes tells 7 Action News that he plans to suggest that as many as 11 additional child serial killer victims could be connected to the four  – and he's suggesting a cover-up with-in law enforcement. 

Hughes also announced a website to solicit donations to fund his efforts.

On the site, a donation of $1,500 will get you a copy of the report that will allegedly be submitted to the Department of Justice, or DOJ, once that report is finished.

"When I saw it, when my daughter Erica saw it, and a few other people, we were upset.  Because we weren't asking for money, we don't want money," said Ascroft.

"I lost my son, and I know what it means to lose a son. For somebody to say donate money to me, I can solve this crime – it pisses me off," said Oakland County Executive Brooks Patterson. Patterson was the prosecutor during the child killings.

"We were doing everything we could as these crimes became more expansive and went from 2 to 3 to 4.  To suggest that somebody in that system would have had any reason to protect the killer and cover up legitimate evidence, that's an outrage," said Patterson.

Hughes won't say what evidence he has to connect the four children to additional victims, but says he will turn it over to the DOJ if they answer his call to investigate.

But the DOJ is already involved – the FBI's labs have been used to analyze evidence in this case, and FBI agents have helped the Task Force over the years.

Extensive profiles of the victims of serial killers are already maintained the in FBI's ViCAP system – a national law enforcement database that automatically looks for links between other potential victims.

"In our experience, we have had all sorts of leads and claims that we investigate," said Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper.

Cooper can't discuss any case that's currently before the grand jury – but she did tell us she doesn't know how someone who hasn't been part of the investigation can cry foul unless he or she knows all the facts.

"If somebody wants to write a book, somebody wants to become famous, somebody wants to make $1,500 a hit on whatever it is he's selling in this press conference he's calling - that's not fair. It's not fair to people who are legitimately looking and investigating and trying to find it – its definitively unfortunate to have family members exploited again and again," said Cooper.

The press conference is scheduled for Tuesday morning at 11:00 a.m. 7 Action News will be there, and we'll bring you all of the latest information right here on WXYZ.com.

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