After forty-two years, it seems that most Americans don’t think about the mystery murderer that terrified the country long ago. The killer who the media dubbed “The Babysitter” has been long forgotten, as well as hopes of finding him. Some of the only people still actively pursuing the case are the family of Timothy King, the fourth and final victim of the murders.
For a while, Barry King, Timothy’s father, was content with the Oakland County Police’s work. He truly thought that the authorities had done their best. That changed in 2006, when a phone call led him to take the investigation into his own hands.
The call was from Patrick Coffey, an old neighbor who had grown up across the street from the Kings. He was a child at the time of the murders and was inspired by them to become an attorney so he could put criminals behind bars. “Much of the reason that I went into this profession was because of what happened to Tim,” Coffey said.
Coffey described an encounter he had recently experienced to King. He had been speaking with Lawrence Wasser, a polygraph examiner from Southfield. Coffey had mentioned that he became an attorney because of the Oakland County Child Killer case. This prompted Wasser to claim that he knew the killer’s identity. Wasser said he had done a polygraph test on the killer long ago in a case unrelated to the child killings. The unidentified culprit had somehow let it slip that he was the Oakland County Child Killer. Wasser also mentioned that the killer and his attorney were now deceased. He did not reveal any names. Later, when contacted by police, Wasser would claim that “Pat Coffey’s information is totally bogus.” Coffey still stands by what he heard.
After hearing Coffey’s revelations, Barry King was dumbfounded. After all, he hadn’t heard of a single advancement in the case since the task force disbanded in 1978. King informed his daughter, Cathy Broad, of the news. She contacted Livingston police with the new information. They now knew that the killer and his lawyer were both dead.
This narrowed the suspects down to one man: Chris Busch. By 2006, neither the public nor King had heard of Busch’s suicide, or the drawing of a screaming child in his apartment. Barry King said that Busch was the best lead they had. However, in 2006, police told King that Busch was no longer a suspect. This led King to believe that the police were hiding information. He filed a request for Busch’s police file under the Freedom of Information Act. The police handed over 3,411 pages of documents to the King family on December 15, 2010.
Barry King learned a considerable amount from the files. For one, there was a lot of information on Chris Busch’s history. In 1977, he and an accomplice, Gregory Greene, were charged with molesting a boy in Flint. When interrogated, Greene said that Chris Busch had killed Mark Stebbins, the first victim in the killings. He said that he and Greene had planned to abduct and molest young boys. He added that they had searched for boys in Ferndale, Royal Oak, and Berkeley. These were the locations where the first three victims had been abducted. Busch, on the other hand, admitted to being a pedophile, but not to killing anyone. He passed a polygraph test. Neither of the two was investigated any further. Greene pleaded guilty and received life in prison, while Busch was released on probation. To this day, it is unclear why they received different sentences for the same charges. Two months after Busch’s release, Timothy King, the last victim, was abducted.
The documents revealed that Chris Busch drove a blue Vega with a white stripe. This car looks very similar to the infamous blue Gremlin with a white stripe that was present at Timothy King’s abduction. It is possible that the witness would have confused the two cars.
Barry King still believes that Busch was the killer. There is evidence supporting him: Busch had molested kids in the past, and after killing himself two years following Timothy’s death, police found bloody ropes and a drawing of a screaming boy in his apartment. The boy bore a strong resemblance to Mark Stebbins, the same boy Greene claimed Busch had killed.
It took King twenty-eight years to find this information. Twenty-eight years of blindly wondering who killed his son, while the police held precious information just out of his reach. He didn’t even know about the drawing of the boy. While it bears a stronger resemblance to Mark Stebbins than to his own son, this information is still crucial.
In 2008, King convinced investigators to re-examine Busch’s polygraph test. The results came back different this time. Detectives discovered that either Busch had not been telling the truth or the tests were inconclusive. The authorities also got a search warrant to search Busch’s old house.
No evidence was found. In 2010, the police announced that Busch was no longer a suspect. King, however, thinks that the authorities are hiding something. He believes that the police had found Busch guilty of the killings years after the case, but covered it up. According to his theory, they did this to hide their embarrassing police work and/or to protect the status of Busch’s father. King has posted this theory and all of his evidence proving Busch’s involvement on his blog, afathersstory-occk.com.
Whenever the case is re-examined, Barry King always insists that Chris Busch was behind the killings. Jessica Cooper, the Oakland County Prosecutor, feels differently. “He believes that he has found the killer,” she explained. “We’ve explained to him why the person who he’s chosen is not.” Cooper also said that they’d prefer to focus on a living suspect. “…even if we could prove it, we couldn’t prosecute it,” she said. King still thinks that the killer’s identity is out there somewhere.
The identity of the Oakland County Child Killer remains a mystery that may never be solved. However, his killing spree will never be forgotten. In a world filled with malevolence, the only true way to destroy evil is to stick together and not lose hope. If this can be achieved, maybe atrocities like the Oakland County murders can be prevented.