Berkley Library Discussion Revives Interest in Unsolved Oakland County Child Killer Deaths

Berkley Library Discussion Revives Interest in Unsolved Oakland County Child Killer Deaths

(Sam Gurwin, April 9, 2018)

Berkley, MI – Many memories of mothers and fathers in 1976-1977 involved carefully watching children as they walked in groups to schools throughout Oakland County.

That is because an unknown person was lurking, abducting and murdering children.

Even after 41 years, the unsolved crimes cause a painful sense of undone business among this crowd last week at the Berkley Library for a presentation about the Oakland County Child Killer. In a discussion full of  theories, the night was memorably marked by the pleas of a woman fraught with frustration at the injustice of the crimes and the fact they remain unsolved to this day.  Some wanted to hear the stories and the theories, and this anonymous relative of a murder victim wanted the story to cease being told.

THE GENESIS OF A TALK

Within a 13 month period, at least four children were kidnapped, than found dead. Children were snatched up from Ferndale, Royal Oak, Berkley and Birmingham and found in Southfield, Troy, Franklin and Livonia.  The spread of malice across the suburbs caused widespread terror in Oakland County and beyond.

Local news reporter Jay Grossman, who now works as Communication Director for the City of Berkley, gave the presentation.

The idea to have Grossman talk sparked from The Reading Collective, a four-community book club affiliated with the Berkley Library that happens to be reading/viewing true crime literature & movies like “My Friend Dahmer.”  The group reached out to Grossman because he had covered the killings when they happened, and he agreed to “basically keep this story alive,” he said.

He added that his “biggest regret as a reporter is this case wasn’t closed”

THE PRESENTATION

“What I really want is for Oakland County to tell me what the hell happened” says Barry King, father of the last known victim Timothy King.

King spoke about a podcast and other renewed media coverage, seemingly optimistic that continued coverage may help someone come forward with information to bring a resolution.

The story of the struggle to get justice is ongoing to this day. The King family believes that a known pedophile was instrumental in the murders. They believe this, and always will even though police and county prosecutors dismissed him as a suspect in Timothy’s murder.

King has prepared a 19-page report called “Oakland County Child Killer: Coincidence or Cover Up?” which alleges conspiracy among various government officials including those in Oakland County, Wayne County, and several Police Departments.

Key points to the talk included:

(1) The 70s was a time of Serial Killers.

(1) The polygraph investigator claimed that the known pedophile suspect confessed during a lie detector test

(2) Grossman believes the case was never solved due to the randomness of the victims.

(3) A pedophile in jail knowledgeable about pedophile rings was questioned in Chicago.

(4) Two major law enforcement dragnets were performed during the time of the crimes.

(5) There was a police task force on this case from 2007-2010

(6) Case reopened in 2011 with no resolution

(7) There were 1000s of tips, and 100s of police officers worked on this case.

(8) Mr. King believes at this point only a “deathbed confession” will likely solve this case.

 

THE REACTION

Members of the audience included people who were children in the late 1970s who remembered the fear felt in schools and by parents.  An older couple wondered if the death of a Berkley Police Officer during the investigation might also be related.  Another attendee claimed when he was a child, he and a friend heard a young girl screaming from inside a Hazel Park School and saw one of the cars talked about on the news nearby, but he was unsure if the police ever followed up with the tip.

Concern was heavy in the air, as family and those who knew victims were present for the talk.  The case remains unsolved.  A Wikipedia page lists the victims, the suspects and other known details of the murders.

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