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Murders by Oakland County Child Killer highlighted on Children of the Snow

Oakland County Child Killer victims photo
Mark Stebbins, Jill Robinson, Kristine Mihelich, and Timothy King were murdered by the Oakland County Child Killer. Pic Credit: Family Photos

The Oakland County Child Killer is featured in a two-part docuseries in Children of the Snow on Investigation Discovery.

Between February 1976 to March 1977, four children—Mark Stebbins, 12, Jill Robinson, 12, Kristine Mihelich,10, and 11-year-old Timothy King— were abducted for several days before they were brutally murdered and sexually assaulted.

Their bodies were cleaned and left in various locations of Oakland County, Michigan.

Christopher Busch became a person of interest when a witness spotted him at Ess Lake with a group of teen boys. Just three days later, Timothy’s body was found.

In November 1978, Busch was found dead in his home from an apparent suicide.

Police discovered a chilling drawing in his bedroom.

It was of a young boy being tortured, and officials believe the boy in the drawing resembled Mark.

Arch Sloan, a convicted pedophile, was also a suspect in the Oakland County Child Killer case.

Inside his 1966 Pontiac Bonneville was a hair matching the hair found on one of the victims.

Police said the hair was not his.

Sloan was incarcerated at the Ernest Brooks Correctional Facility, serving a life sentence for a 1983 rape when he was interrogated by police in 2010 and 2012.

It was later revealed that he took a polygraph test and failed the questions pertaining to the murdered children.

However, he was not charged.

For decades, investigators worked diligently to find the Oakland County Child Killer, naming several suspects along the way, but no one has been charged.

Investigators said there has been no physical evidence linking anyone to the murders.

It wasn’t until 2011 when investigators named a new suspect: James Vincent Gunnels, who was 16 years old at the time of the murders.

Police said a hair found on Kristine’s body was a mitochondrial DNA match to Gunnels.

Although he is not believed to be the killer, police said he may have helped with the murders by luring the children to the killer.

Gunnels was not arrested as investigators said the mitochondrial DNA match was not enough evidence to charge him.  

The Oakland County murders remain unsolved, and the family is hoping new national exposure will lead to the killer being brought to justice.

Children of the Snow — The Darkest Winters: Part One, airs at 9:00 p.m. on Investigation Discovery.

Part two of Children of the Snow airs the following day at 8:00 p.m.

Angelica N. Sumter is a freelance journalist who has covered true crime for more than 10 years. In addition to Monsters and Critics, her work... read more
Angelica N. Sumter

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