OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. (WXYZ) — It’s one of the most notorious unsolved cases in Michigan: The Oakland County Child Killer case. Now, a local author has written a new book about the murders.
For four decades, detectives, victims’ families, reporters, and filmmakers have all tried to learn the truth about the unsolved case.
“The Snow Killings” explores the horrific murders of four children along the Woodward Corridor that terrorized the community from 1976 to 1977.
“I wanted to get as much as I could, as close to the truth about what happened to these kids as I could,” said former Detroit News reporter Marney Rich Keenan.
Keenan spent the last decade piecing together the massive case for the book.
“This is the death of four children, the unsolved death of four children that really impacted generations of people in this area,” said Keenan.
Keenan documents the King family’s quest to expose the lead into a key suspect.
Eleven-year-old Tim King was the last known victim of the Child Killer, and his father, Barry King, has tried for years to find the truth about what happened behind the scenes in this investigation.
In 2006, the King family unearthed the lead into Christopher Busch, a four-time convicted pedophile who was polygraphed about the case, and let go by law enforcement shortly before Tim King was abducted in 1977.
“I’m convinced he was involved,” King said.
The 7 Investigators were the first to reveal Busch’s autopsy report after he allegedly killed himself inside his family’s Bloomfield Township home. Keenan tracked down the cops who were there that day in 1978.
“It definitely looked staged. And I don’t know anybody that looks at that scene and thinks it was a suicide,” Keenan said. “I talked to investigators who were at that suicide scene who said yeah, we thought this was our guy.”
Keenan says her book contains evidence that law enforcement covered up the Busch lead. But she does not say Busch was the killer.
“We know for sure that he was involved, but by no means do we know that he was the killer,” Keenan said.
The 7 Investigators' own reporting has shown over the years that part of the reason detectives moved on from the Busch lead within the last decade was because of stronger scientific evidence on a man named Arch Sloan. DNA evidence from 3 hairs that have been found potentially link Sloan to the case.
“One of the hairs was found on Tim, actually in his mouth. Another hair was found on Mark Stebbin's clothing, and the third hair was found in Sloan’s car,” Keenan said.
The 7 Investigators were the first to report that Sloan also failed a polygraph about the child killings.
“Sloan isn’t talking, despite being given incredible offers, to get out of prison on a tether, and a new identity, he refuses to talk,” Keenan said.
The Michigan State Police task force is still working on the case, and when asked about Keenan’s book, told us they don’t comment on fiction.
In the book, Keenan details the in-fighting between police and prosecutors that has plagued the investigation for years, and alleges cover-ups have hindered the case.
“The truth matters. It needs to get out. There was a lot of deceit and it needs to get out,” Keenan said. “I don’t know that it’ll ever be solved, but the fact that this went on-- that the families were not only victimized but they were deceived, a whole community was deceived.”
The Oakland County Child Killer Task force is still operating and still chasing down leads.
If you have a tip about this case, you can contact the Michigan State Police at 855-642-4847.