Wednesday, March 30, 2016

North Fox Island and The Oakland Child Killer

Secrets and Lies

Date Published 06.14.11

Were it to happen today, the Oakland County Child Killings would be a leading, Nancy Grace-obsessed news story.  We'd know the victims' names, how many cents the boy had in his pocket when he went to the drugstore for candy and disappeared.

The details are ready-made for a media culture ravenous for high drama --- over a 13-month period, four white, middle class kids, two boys and two girls, were abducted, kept alive for several days, and murdered.

The killer was dubbed "The Babysitter," because the children showed evidence of having been cleaned and fed their favorite foods.  A catchy nickname, but inappropriate, in my opinion.  I prefer The Murderer.

The truth is the case registers very little with the general public.  It's only when I encounter people from Detroit of a certain age --- especially those who, like the victims, were 10 or 11 years old in 1976-1977 --- that there's a look of pained recognition, a somber pall at the memory of a boogeyman come to life.

"That did happen, right?"  a man who grew up in suburban Detroit said to me once.  "Why do I feel like I might have imagined it?"

"Probably because it's never talked about," I said.

Not only did it happen, but the most recent developments in the long-unsolved case are so sensational, so like the broad twists in an amateur paperback mystery, that were I to watch the plot unfold in a thriller on cable I'd snort and say, yeah right.
Secrets and Lies 

Part 1

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