Date Published 07.20.12

Developments in an unsolved case True Crime Diary has examined in the past.


Prosecutors in Michigan announced a breakthrough in the Oakland County Child Killings.  In 1976 and ’77 an offender dubbed “The Babysitter” abducted four children, two males and two females, and kept them alive for a period of time before murdering them and dumping their bodies along roadsides.  The male victims had been raped.


The case haunted suburban Detroit.  The last 35 years have been chock full of shadowy leads and frustration; investigators working the cold case got a reputation for being unnecessarily secretive.  It was hard to discern if the information vacuum hid embarrassment over dead-end leads or was a cover-up of someone in particular.  The family of victim Timothy King felt more attention needed to be paid to Chris Busch, who as a rich, well-connected kid in Bloomfield Township had a suspiciously lucky run of wrist-slaps after being accused multiple times of sexual offenses involving young boys.  Busch killed himself in 1978.  The Kings wanted to know more about what Busch said to investigators before he died.  The investigators didn’t feel the need to share.  Barry King, Tim’s father, filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit.


Busch, along with a cohort named Gregory Greene, looked good for the serial murders, and they still might, but Tuesday’s announcement certainly qualifies as an unexpected twist.  Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper announced that a hair police found in a serial sex offender’s vehicle in 1976 matched hairs found on two of the four victims.  It appears investigators had already known that the hairs collected from the two victims matched, confirming for them that the same person was responsible.  But only recently, through advancements in DNA technology, were they able to match those hairs with one found in a 1966 Pontiac Bonneville owned by a man named Arch Sloan.

Arch Sloan

That the match was with evidence found in Sloan’s car isn’t so unbelievable.  Sloan, 70, is serving two life sentences, having been convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Wayne County in 1983.  He has four prior convictions of sexual assaults against young males going back to 1959.  The Detroit Free Press reports that in the 1980s a psychiatrist said of Sloan, “Defendant was only capable of sexual satisfaction with children.”


Sloan is a pedophile.  But here’s another twist: mitochondrial DNA from the hair found in his car didn’t match Sloan’s. 


It isn’t his hair.


Investigators believe Sloan loaned his vehicle to someone.  Whom?  He isn’t talking, which is curious since it’s been 35 years and he certainly has nowhere to go.


In support of the theory that Sloan wasn’t directly responsible for the child killings is the fact that while his sexual offenses were undoubtedly heinous they don’t appear to have been violent.  He bribed his 1983 victim with $5 and told him not to tell anyone.  That’s a far cry from The Babysitter, who bound some of his victims, smothered others, and shot one in the face with a shotgun.


One possibility is that the Oakland County Child Killings was a group effort, perpetrated by a pedophile ring.  I realize this theory directly contradicts my last post, in which I argue that in a crime by multiple offenders one will always turn on the other, to the public’s advantage.


But it may be that investigators never correctly identified the weak link here and pushed hard.  Or it may be that one of the offenders did turn on their associate, but it fell on deaf ears.  In Jan. 1977 Chris Busch’s associate Gregory Greene, 26, a serial pedophile from Flint, told investigators during an interrogation that Busch killed Mark Stebbins, the first of the The Babysitter’s victims.


It remains to be seen if investigators can link Arch Sloan to Chris Busch, or Gregory Greene, or another good suspect.  Apparently some people, searching their memories, are calling in with tips about Sloan’s gang of friends back then.  I’d be particularly interested to know if Sloan was at all associated with the infamous North Fox Island child porn ring, in which young boys were flown by a rich pedophile to an isolated island north of Michigan under the guise of a social program, "Brother Paul's Children's Mission."


It may be there that Sloan joined forces with other like-sick-minded individuals.  Maybe even this guy, who was mentioned in a Traverse Record-Eagle article about the bust-up of the ring:



"Police confiscated eight rolls of film from Christopher Busch, 25, of Birmingham."







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RT @emilynussbaum: The artful @hodgman's straightforward case for Hillary:
@Twaikuer @pattonoswalt @daveanthony Know what he does believe in? PAC $. Took 10K from HRC pac 2006. That means he's in her pocket.#BSLogic
@Twaikuer @pattonoswalt @daveanthony Good one. Unfortunately Bernie on record as not believing in charity.
@johnlevenstein Thanks for asking, btw. That's the kind of elevated discourse missing lately. A lot of mud slinging. #I'mNotAboveItEither
@johnlevenstein Can't convey it all thru Twitter but yes, she has flaws. Too poll-driven, burned needed bridges, trouble owning mistakes.