After spending close to a year working on a documentary about the investigation into the abduction and murder of his 11-year-old son, Barry King says he feels some relief in having his side of the story put out in the public domain.
“I am sleeping through the night,” he said recently. “It’s a story I’ve wanted to tell in its entirety for a long time.”
During 1976 and 1977, four children from Oakland County were abducted and kept alive for six to 19 days before they were murdered and tossed by roadsides. The case has never been solved.
“Decades of Deceit” is the latest effort in the King family crusade to get some answers in 37-year-old cold case. In recent years, Barry King has held several press conferences, given presentations at local civic organizations and done countless media interviews. In January, Cathy King Broad, sister of Tim King, began a blog about the case (catherinebroad.wordpress.com). It now boasts close to 76,000 hits.
The six-hour video chronicles what has transpired in the case since 2007 when the King family provided the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office with a tip that led to the investigation of Christopher Busch, the son of a prominent Bloomfield Hills General Motors executive and four-time convicted pedophile. Wayne County investigators then discovered Busch had been investigated by the task force during the time of the child killings in 1976 and 1977, but was repeatedly given probation on rape charges of minor boys. Busch committed suicide in 1978.
“There was just this horrible clarity about the errors made in the investigation,” Cathy King Broad says in the video. “And dirty dealings that must have taken place to keep this information from ever seeing the light of the day.”
Turf war hinders case
As each new piece of evidence implicating Busch was uncovered, the King family had high hopes law enforcement could close the case. But instead, a turf war over competing law-enforcement agencies ensued, and the fallout has “hindered” the investigation, the Kings say.
By March 2010, King says in the video: “We learned that the Oakland County Prosecutors office had determined that lead we provided them was no longer valid … All I’ve ever wanted was an explanation as to why they have excluded Busch.”
In an interview last year, Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper told The Detroit News the Busch lead amounted to “a theory.” She said they were no longer pursuing the case against Busch because they did not have the “science” to prove the case in court.
But in the video, King lists a number of people who he says stand to lose if it’s ultimately determined that Busch was involved. They include a forensic polygrapher who violated attorney-client privilege when he confided that Busch had confessed to him about the crimes; law enforcement officials who allowed Busch to repeatedly get a free pass; and a host of individuals involved in two 1970s child pornography rings linked to the case that operated out of Detroit’s Cass Corridor and North Fox Island near Charlevoix.
Little hope of closure
Barry King fully acknowledges that he’s accusing a lot of people of manipulating the evidence.
“Many people have said to me, ‘Barry, nobody could have covered up what happened to your son,’ ” he said. In response, King points to the cover-up in the Columbine High School murders. For five years after the rampage, “more than a dozen public officials agreed to lie and keep secret” the existence of a search warrant affidavit that could have prevented the massacre.
King says he would welcome the opportunity to be proven wrong about Busch. “I wouldn’t hesitate to issue apologies, either,” he said. But in the absence of any evidence to refute the case against Busch, King says he can only conclude “my son has been failed by the only people that can help him: the cops, the judges and the prosecutors.”
Asked if he felt the case would be solved in his lifetime — King is 82 and suffers from diabetes — he said: “I was hopeful, but the more I investigate, the more I think widespread pedophile activity involving people in high places had something to do with Tim’s death. Now, I don’t know that I’ll ever see it solved.”