New suspect identified in Oakland County Child Killer case

Authorities announced they have identified a brand-spanking-new suspect in the Oakland County Child Killings in Michigan in 1970s. He was also known as “the Babysitter” because he kept the victims — there were at least two boys and two girls — captive for several days and bathed and fed them before he killed them.

The cops have DNA evidence to support their case against this suspect — his DNA matches hair found on one of the victims — and they also said that hair from the same animal, probably a dog, was found on all four victims. The suspect is identified as James Vincent Gunnels, a 49-year-old from Kalamazoo, Michigan with a history of property crimes. He is not in custody, as the police don’t have enough evidence to charge him. He was only in his teens at the time of the murders.

[I]nvestigators believe Gunnels may have been part of a group involved in the child killings or a lure to draw the kids closer to the killer. Gunnels was only 16-years-old at the time. Police investigating Gunnels have learned he was molested by a key suspect in the Oakland County Child Killer case — a man named Christopher Busch. Busch was convicted of sexually assaulting Gunnels.

From another article:

Gunnels said he was molested by Busch twice, once in Midland County and once in Montmorency County at the Busch family cottage on Ess Lake. He said he cannot remember the dates.

Gunnels insisted he has “no idea” how his hair got on Kristine’s body. When asked if it was possible that the hair had been transferred while he rode in Busch’s car he responded: “I haven’t a clue, no clue at all,” he said “There are a million ‘ifs.'” Concerning the admission to his sister, Gunnels said his words were being parsed: “I was there when what happened to me happened. I wasn’t there when anything else happened.

Busch is now dead; he killed himself in 1978. Incidentally, he owned a white terrier at the time of the murders. If the killer was Busch, it would explain why he apparently hasn’t struck since then (unless you count Kimberly King, I’m getting to her).

There are four known victims of the Oakland County Child Killer. Another possible is Kimberly King, a 12-year-old who disappeared in 1979 and was never found. I doubt she’s one of the victims, though. The other victims’ bodies were left out in plain view and were found quickly; no trace of Kimberly ever turned up.

Click on Detroit
The Detroit Free Press
The Detroit News (with pic of victim Kristine Mihelich)
M Live

“Sandy hair”

What on earth does “sandy” hair mean anyway? I see it used to describe red hair a lot, but I have never ever seen red sand. I also see it used to describe hair that’s kind of between colors. All the sand I’ve ever seen has been a pale blondish color, though I suppose it could come in any color rocks come in — that’s what sand is, after all, granulated rock. Whenever I encounter an MP with hair listed as “sandy” I take a look at the photo and judge for myself, and usually list it as “sandy blond” or “sandy brown” or whatever color it appears to be to me.