Between 1976 and 1977, the Metro Detroit area was gripped with fear when an unknown assailant kidnapped and murdered at least four children. “The Babysitter Killer” then displayed the bodies on various Detroit streets. Local residents are still hoping for a resolution to these unsolved child murders in Michigan attributed to the Oakland County Child Killer, yet no suspect has ever formally been charged.
The families of the murdered children have been waiting 40 years for answers. As the case grows older and colder, it becomes increasingly more possible a culprit will never be caught. There are odd aspects to the case that cause some to speculate that the authorities purposefully covered up the murderer's identity. If true, this means the four children who lost their lives - Mark Stebbins, Jill Robinson, Kristine Mihelich, and Timothy King - may never have justice. Instead, they join numerous other unresolved murder cases of history.
In 1976 and 1977, investigators found the suspected victims of the Oakland County Child Killer in a different area from where the unknown abductor had taken them. The children were all wearing freshly washed clothes and placed in an area where they would be easily found. Authorities discovered three of the four children’s bodies lying on top of snow throughout Oakland County, Michigan.
Serial killers are known for their ritualistic behavior. The Oakland County Child Killer displayed his victims' bodies in a particular and consistent way, leading investigators to categorize the murderer as a serial killer.
Investigators theorized three other child murders that occurred in 1976 may be linked to the Oakland County Child Killer. Authorities eventually connected the death of 14-year-old Sheila Srock to Oliver Rhodes Andrews. However, the remaining two cases were never solved.
14-year-old Jane Allan and 16-year-old Cynthia Cadieux may be two other victims of the Oakland County Child Killer.
In 1978, Chicago police apprehended John Wayne Gacy and charged him with more than 30 murders. Gacy was reportedly in Michigan during at least part of the time when the Oakland County Child Killer was active. An eyewitness reported to authorities that he saw one of the victims talking to two men and claimed one of the men had a resemblance to Gacy.
Forensic analysts tested evidence preserved from the Oakland County Child Killer case in 2013 to determine if Gacy was a match. The results did not incriminate Gacy, and investigators don't believe he was involved with the four murders.
The most promising suspect of the murders was Chris Busch, son of a financial officer at General Motors. Busch, who had a criminal record of pedophilia, committed suicide in 1978. At the time, authorities searched his room and found a drawing depicting a young boy screaming. A boy who investigators determined looked like Mark Stebbins, the first known victim of the killer.
Authorities didn't reveal the picture to the victim's families until decades later when Timothy King's father, Barry King, asked for documents on the case. Although local law enforcement notified the task force when the drawing was found, it appears not to have played into the investigation.