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Episode 7 - We Got Shaggy, We Got Snoopy...UGH! (David's part 1 of 2)

SARAH:

Oakland County Child Killer


Victims of the Oakland County Child Killer
Victims - TL - Mark Stebbins, TR - Jill Robinson, BL - Kristine Mihelich, BR - Timothy King

—------- The Victims —-------


The first victim of the Oakland County Child Killer was 12-year-old Mark Stebbins, of Ferndale, MI.

He had been walking home from the American Legion Hall where his mom worked as a bartender. There was a pool tournament going on there that Mark didn’t care to stick around for, so he chose to walk the three blocks (in the daylight, mind you) and go home to watch a movie. He would never make it home. The Stebbins family would go to the police station to file a missing persons report around 11 pm the evening Mark went missing, only to be told by the police that they had to wait 24 hours before they could file it.


Mark was last seen on February 15, 1976. Four days later on February 19, 1976, his body was found by someone who was out walking their dog. His body was located behind an office complex and kind of tucked behind a low wall, but not so much that he wasn’t on full display. He had been sexually assaulted and then strangled to death. There were two cuts on the back of his head and rope burns on both his wrists and ankles. This could mean that he was tied up during his captivity. When found, he was wearing the same clothing he had on as when he was last seen. The weird part is that the clothes had been cleaned and put back on his lifeless body before he was put outside for someone to find.


After the killing of Mark, it shot fear into the homes and hearts of everyone in Oakland County and surrounding counties, almost on the brink of hysteria.



The second victim was 12-year-old Jill Robinson, of Royal Oak, MI.

She had gotten into an argument with her mother, Karol Robinson, a recent divorcee, and decided she was going to run away instead of staying home and working things out with her mom. She packed a backpack with clothes and planned to take off on her bike - the family assumed once she left, she was about to head to her father’s house which was five miles from where she lived. Unfortunately, she obviously never made it.


Jill was last seen on December 22, 1976. Her bike was found a day later on December 23, 1976. Her body wouldn’t be found until three days after that on December 26, 1976. The cops came to the family's house and knocked on the door. It would be opened by Jill’s younger sister. The police told the girl that they found her sister's dead body. She had been shot in the face and dumped on I-75 near Big Beaver Road. Half of her face had been shot off - the work of a 12-gauge shotgun. She was found face up, neatly laid out in the snow, clothed in what she had disappeared in, with her backpack on her back. Just how she left. However, it was evident she had been bathed, and just like with Mark, her clothing had been washed and put back on before her body was put on display. She was within eyesight of the police station.



The third victim would be 10-year-old Kristine Mihelich (MEE-HEH-LICK), of Berkley, MI.

Kristine had headed out to go buy herself a magazine from a nearby store. As she walked to return home, she would be abducted.


Kristine was last seen at 7-11 around 3 pm on January 2, 1977. Her lifeless body would be discovered on January 21, 1977, by a mailman in Franklin, MI. She was also fully clothed in what she wore the day of her disappearance, and like the 2 children before her, her clothing had been washed and she was redressed. Her body had been partially buried in a snowbank with her eyes closed and her arms folded on her chest, like how you would see a body lying in a casket. Kristine’s autopsy stated that she had been smothered to death no more than 24 hours before she was found.


She was kept for 19 days. Her mother, Deborah Jarvis said the reason why they kept her so long was that she was so sweet. Deborah went on TV numerous times begging her daughter’s abductor to let her go, she even offered 17k (which was raised by her neighbors and the townspeople) as ransom money if they brought Kristine back to her.



The last known victim of this killer would be 11-year-old Timothy King, of Birmingham, MI.

Timothy’s sister, Kathy, had given him some change so he could go get some candy from the corner store. So, he took off on his skateboard and went to the store. This is where he would last be seen.


Last seen March 16, 1977. His body was found by two teenage boys on March 22, 1977. He had been sexually assaulted and then suffocated. He was wearing what he was last seen in, though it had been freshly washed and pressed. His skateboard lay next to him At this point, detectives knew they had a serial child killer on their hands. Timothy’s autopsy revealed he had died 6 hours prior to being found, and had been fed before he was murdered.


A woman saw him talking to a man in the parking lot of a pharmacy, and then he was gone. His father went on TV and begged the perpetrator to not harm his son and told Timothy directly to stay strong. King’s mother wrote a letter, and it was printed in the Detroit News which stated that she wanted him back home so that she could give him his favorite meal - Kentucky Fried Chicken, which sadly is what he had been fed right before his life was cut short.


There were other children that were abducted and murdered between the four victims I just talked about, though those would never actually be linked to the Oakland County Child Killer.


As an aside - the asshole that killed these children would also be dubbed “The Babysitter” and “The Babysitter Killer”, as they say, he must have had some sort of feelings, seeing how he “took care of them” afterward by washing the victims and their clothing before carefully redressing them. I personally find that to be a sick fucking link between babysitters and murderers. No sir, I don’t like it, which is why I will NOT be calling him that.


—------- The process —-------


They organized the largest manhunt the US had seen up to that point to try and find the killer, or killers. The gaps in time between each case made it hard to connect the dots, but after Timothy came up missing, and then found murdered, things became a lot clearer to detectives.


The suspected kidnapper was driving a blue AMC Gremlin. This led to authorities questioning every owner of a Gremlin within Oakland County. A sketch was created of both the car and the man suspected of the kidnapping. He was described as a white male between the ages of 25 and 35. He had a dark complexion, shaggy hair, and sideburns. It is said that he must have had a job that allowed him freedom of movement and made him seem trustworthy to kids. He would have been familiar with the area and would have been able to keep the children captive for long enough without making their neighbors suspicious. There was a theory out there that the pedophile community may have the killer of these children in it. The detectives and their helpers check more than 18,000 tips that came in. One of those tips would lead them to discover a multi-state child pornography ring operating out of North Fox Island in Lake Michigan. But this would not pan out as being a part of the Oakland County Child killings.


After the Gremlin became the vehicle that was focused on, Timothy’s brother, Chris, told everyone that he doubted that was the suspect's vehicle, as he had also seen it in the parking lot, hours later. Chris wasted his breath telling the police about seeing it back in 1978, since no one believed what he had to say about it.


A few weeks after Timothy was found by investigators, a letter written by only the name “Allen” had been sent to a psychiatrist Bruce Dantos’s office. In the letter, “Allen” stated that his roommate Frank was the Oakland County Child Killer. Claims were made that Frank had been in Vietnam and was suffering from PTSD, and that is what caused him to kill the children. “Allen” also wrote in the letter that he was living as Frank’s slave and that Frank was a sadomasochist. “Allen” had left instructions within the letter for Bruce Dantos to contact him in the local newspaper. He then called the psychiatrist to set up a meeting in a local bar, and of course, “Allen” never showed up. Nor was he ever heard from again beyond that point.


—------- The Suspects —------


Chris Busch, a pedophile, was at one point the prime suspect in the investigation. He was the son of an executive from General Motors. It is said that he was seen with Timothy King just a few days before the boy's body would be found. That was enough for the police. They caught up to Busch and arrested him, but he was later released on a plea deal. Chris Busch would be found dead in his home from a supposed self-inflicted gunshot in November 1978. Bloody rope was found in his closet. There was a picture of a young boy screaming hanging above his bed. Timothy King’s father, Barry, swears it looked just like his son, but that didn’t stand as proof. Barry, a lawyer, was always on the hunt for more information about his son’s murder. He was given thousands of pages from the FBI and the task force working in the Oakland County Child Killer case. This pile of information would include the details of Chris Busch’s suicide. One piece in particular shook Barry - that would be a line that stated Busch’s gunshot was not self-inflicted, as he did not have any gunshot residue anywhere on him - most importantly, on his hands. Had he done it himself, it would have been almost impossible as the weapon fired was a rifle, also he would have had much more residue on his fingers. Yet he had none.


Almost four decades later, the Michigan State Police would reveal that there was hair found on all four victims. It was a white hair, which belonged to a dog. During this release of information investigators told the news reporters they believe that there was more than one person responsible for the murders.


Archibald Edwards Sloan became a suspect when hair samples gathered from his 1966 Pontiac Bonneville matched samples that had been found on the bodies of both Timothy King and Mark Stebbens. Even with the match, police could not tie Archibald to the other victims - even after he confessed that he would sometimes allow his pedophile friends to use his vehicle, they let him walk free.


He wound up being charged with two counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct for things unrelated to the case I am telling you about. He was sentenced to life in prison in January 1985. While incarcerated, he was interviewed by detectives from the Oakland County Child Killer task force in both 2010 and 2012. He was given a polygraph, and detectives have since confirmed that he failed one of the polygraphs in regard to this case.


John Wayne Gacy was arrested in Chicago in 1978 and charged with more than 30 murders - this part most anyone already knows about. However, during the times the Oakland County Child Killer was active, Gacy was reportedly in Michigan for part of it. A witness reported to police that he saw one of the victims talking to two men and that one of the men looked like Gacy. Forensic evidence preserved from the case was tested in 2013 to see if Gacy was a match. He was not, and investigators do not believe he had any involvement.


Theodore Lamborgine would wind up being the last major suspect in the killings. He was taken to court by the family of Mark Stebbins in October 2007. The family had accused him of being the one that kidnapped, raped, and murdered Mark. The Stebbins family were after a wrongful death conviction and 25k in damages.


In 2006, Lamborgine admitted to being involved in a pedophile ring and sexually assaulting a number of young boys. He refused a polygraph test concerning the Oakland County murders. But even if he had, it wouldn’t have mattered. In 2012 DNA tests ruled him out as the person that killed King and Stebbins.


Lamborgine’s pedophile ring partner, Richard Lawson was also in prison for life. Lawson claimed another member of their 5-person pedophile group, Bobby Moore had done the killings. Unfortunately, Bobby Moore had died prior to Lawson giving this information.


Sadly, after decades spent trying to find the person, or people, responsible for killing his son Timothy - Barry King would pass away at the age of 89 on November 20, 2020. His daughter, Catherine Broad, stated in a blog post that he (Barry) died in his own bed, on his own terms. She also stated that he was diagnosed in August of 2020 with a motor neuron disease. Very soon after that he was no longer able to speak or swallow. He passed away without ever knowing who took his son from him so long ago. He would never come to learn why, and honestly - I don’t think any of us ever will.


With all of that said, no one has ever officially been charged with the deaths of these 4 children and the case remains unsolved to this day.


Is it possible that the investigators/detectives/police missed something that could have led them directly to the unfathomable piece of shit that did this? It’s possible. They didn’t have access to the resources and technology we do today. I really wish that this had been solved, if for nothing more to give peace to the family members of each child. I can’t even begin to imagine what they went through, and most likely still do go through on a daily basis. My heart breaks for them, and for the four innocent lives that were taken way too soon.


My takeaway from this - don’t let your babies roam the streets on their own. The world is a sick and scary ass place. Over the years it has only gotten worse. Hell, even now as a full-ass adult I wouldn’t want to walk the streets on my own. Keep your babies safe, keep your eyes open - and the age-old phrase holds true…if you see something, say something. Sooner rather than later.



 


DAVID:

Tony Kiritsis and the Dead Mans Line - Part 1 of 2


Dick Hall and Tony Kiritsis and the Dead Mans Line
Dick Hall (left) and Tony Kiritsis (right)


During my time spent in the fire service, one of my captains would say “the fire service is a science of alternatives.” This is probably very fitting for all forms of public service. On a cold February day in 1977, a man by the name of Anthony G. Kiritsis, or Tony, was also known as. It would push law enforcement and lawmakers to the point of thinking outside of the box in a three-day hostage situation for the best possible outcome. This is the case of the deadman’s line.


Anthony “Tony” G. Kiritsis was born on August 13, 1932, to Greek immigrant parents George and Magdaline Kiritsis. Tony would grow up with Three brothers and a sister. Tony would describe later on during his trial his father was very violent and strict with them growing up. Which I will go over in his trial. I couldn’t find much about his early life and childhood. In all the articles and videos I had watched there were mentions of him selling cars and being a bartender. He achieved the rank of corporal in the Army. Tony was friends with many police officers from around the area as well. His neighbors in his apartment complex would say he was very helpful with groceries and other tasks. Friends said that Tony was a good friend but also could be a bad enemy.


In December 1972, Tony and his father would purchase 17 acres of land in Speedway, Indiana, for a shopping center featuring a grocery store. Fast forward to Feb 8, 1977, when this all starts. Tony would enter Meridian Mortgage at 129 East Market St. in Indianapolis, Indiana, like had many times before, but with different plans this day. Tony is a short stalky man with a clean-cut appearance. He would enter the office this day wearing a cardigan sweater over a dress shirt and a blue medical sling. Also carrying department store suit box and rolled up blueprints. The receptionist found this a bit odd as the high temperature that day was only -9 degrees at the time.


Tony requested to see the chairman of Meridian Mortgage, M.L. Hall, with whom he had been working on a real estate deal for a shopping center that Tony was developing in Speedway, IN. Unfortunately, he was out of town, vacationing in Florida. The receptionist did inform him that his son Richard will be in the office shortly.


A little after 8 am Richard Hall enters the office and isn’t the slightest bit surprised to see Tony waiting. Hall was familiar with Tony as he had witnessed heated debates about the property with Richard’s father about the loan he had taken out with them for the property development. Richard Hall was pleased to see Tony was there as he figured he had found a way to settle the debt he had with their office.


Richard Hall would ask Tony to come into his office for a private chat. He was aware of the sling Tony was wearing as he had seen it many times before in the previous visits he had made recently. Tony had previously explained he was going to have surgery on his arm. To make a connection with Tony, hall had asked about his surgery and had gone noticing the blueprints and suit box he was carrying.


Tony would ask Hall if he could close his office door so he could adjust his jockey shorts real quick. Hall knew Tony did odd things and didn’t give it much thought as he laid the plans out on a conference table with his back to Tony. Tony would tell Dick Hall to turn around, and the next thing he sees is Tony has taken his arm out of a sling and has a .38 pistol pointed right at him and tells him to kneel on the floor. The sling and blueprints were just a ruse. At gunpoint, Tony takes off Hall's suit coat and starts to is taking his modified semi-automatic shotgun from the box he was carrying it in. Hall would plead with Tony “you don’t want to do this, and you can stop this.” his only response was “No, I’m going to continue.”


According to the website for the documentary “Deadman’s Line,” which is all about this incident. Tony was inspired by an episode from season 3 of Hawaii 5-0 named “The Double Wall.” The main character meets with a dying inmate holding a hostage while confessing a murder, unlike the television show that used medical tape.


Tony Kiritsis’ version would use steel cable instead. The steel cable from what I could see in front from the pictures online was attached just above the muzzle on the rib of the shotgun in a loop that would go around Hall’s neck and down through the trigger guard to a ring on Kiritsis’s trigger finger. In some pictures, you can also see there would be a loop around Tony’s neck as well even though it wasn’t reported this way. With all the phone calls Kiritsis would make during the standoff he would explain that if police tried to shoot him or tried to rescue Hall, his shotgun would kill Dick Hall if the wire is pulled tight enough. He would also remove the safety from the shot as well and hand this to Hall. I believe this could possibly show he wasn’t bluffing. He would also load this modified shotgun (Remington 870, most likely) with a #5 shot, which is a popular shell used for pheasant and duck hunting.


After handing Dick Hall the safety for the shotgun, he calls 911.


Tony would spend 50 minutes on the phone with dispatchers asking for several of his friends on the police force and going on rants about Meridan Mortgage and how they fucked him. Other things he would say during this call would state more than once that he isn’t afraid to die he just doesn’t want to die. Also would show concern for Dick Hall’s family more than once. Tony would also mention his original plan was to “ kill four of them right out on the street when they went to lunch with a browning automatic.”


Tony would also demand a police escort out of the building and to have a four-door hard top waiting along with a police escort for the car as well. Multiple times during this 50-minute call to dispatch, Tony’s range of emotions would change rapidly anywhere between polite to enraged. Tony would also explain more than once that if they tried to intervene by either rescuing Hall away from him or killing him, the shotgun would go off.


At 9:04 am, Tony Kiritsis would grow impatient with waiting on the police and decides to leave the building. Officer Ray Brunk would be the first to encounter the pair in a hallway as they make their way to the lobby. Brunk believed this to be a textbook type of hostage situation and would move closer slowly in hopes of diffusing the situation. Tony felt that he was about to be rushed and would take his .38 and jam it into the stomach of Officer Brunk and tell him, “I want you to take a look at this,” meaning the deadman’s line,” I don’t think you understand how serious this really is.”


Even being this close, he determined that it was best to back away as he noted the cable was too tight and thick around Dick Hall’s neck to disable the deadman’s line. Tony would put his revolver back under his belt and continue to make his way outside. Shortly after this, another officer came through the doorway of the stairwell after he had volunteered to check in on Brunk as they could not reach him on the radio as they assumed he was on a different channel.


Officer Coffman would put the shotgun he was carrying to Tony Kiritsis’s head, hoping it would persuade him to back down, Tony was unfazed by this and kept telling the officers he didn't mean them any harm and that he likes cops. Officers Brunk and Coffman, along with their Capt Don Mills, just joining them shortly after Coffman arrived, are starting to grasp how serious of a situation they have on their hands. Tony suspected they would try and keep him on the fourth floor where the mortgage office was located, so he would start shoving Richard Hall down the hallway to make their exit. To show the police how serious he was about this, he ordered Richard to give them the safety he was holding on to from the shotgun.


At 9:10 am, after walking down floor flights of stairs, Hall and Kiritsis would emerge from 129 Market and onto the streets of Indianapolis. For the next thirty minutes, Tony would lead somewhat of a parade, you could call it, on the streets of Indianapolis, with IPD running ahead to clear a path on the sidewalks and surrounding him and Dick Hall. Now I could only imagine what these people thought when they saw this walk by so calmly I did find an article of recaps from people that witnessed it first hand so this is one quote I selected two to give you a feel of what it was like for those that witnessed this as they went by.


This could have been a much shorter walk if Tony had not made the mistake of not turning right when they exited the building to where his car was parked in a nearby lot. But instead, he goes left down Market St. toward Pennsylvania. They would turn onto Pennsylvania, heading south, and would disappear into a parking garage for a few minutes where surprisingly but not really as well known as Tony was for the area, he runs into someone he knows and asks for his car, but they refuse to give up their car to him. They would re-emerge from the parking garage and continue south down Penn. St. to E. Washington heading west.


During this walk, Tony would be surrounded by LEO with guns drawn, but any time they would get close, Tony and Hall would stop, and Tony would become more agitated with them every time he would stop and have an outburst, somewhat taunting the police calling them.


Dick Hall could be seen walking with his hands in his pockets calmly, but this is more than likely trying to keep warm as it was only -9 degrees the day this happened. Hall would recount on one of only three times he ever talked about this ordeal that he did think about trying to escape, but Tony had him convinced that he was in total control with his outbursts during their walk. He did think and was also told if he could have gotten Tony’s gun to the side of his head to where it wasn't pointed directly at it, it would of more than likely only deafened him.


At one point, they stop at the corner of Illinois and Washington street while in the middle of one of his outbursts at the cops, telling them to do their job. Kiritsis and Hall would slip on a patch of ice hitting the ground. As they got up, everyone around watched in horror as they went down, thinking this was it Dick hall is going to die right here; fortunately, it wasn’t enough to force them to be pulled far enough apart to cause the shotgun to fire.


Finally reaching Senate and Washington St., the duo would enter a police car that was blocking traffic and headed west to Tony’s apartment, where he held off police and even the national guard for 63 hours from storming his apartment.



........And this is where we end for this Part 1. Part 2 will be out next week!

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