Traverse City Record-Eagle

Other Views

May 9, 2012

Another View: Lawsuit seeks answers

The mother of one of four children slain by the person known as the "Oakland County Child Killer" in 1976 and 1977 has sued state and county officials, claiming they've withheld information that could lead to solving the murders.

The lawsuit also asks for $100 million.

We'd like answers, as would all who lived through those troubled times as children and adults. But we question if any answers will be forthcoming as a result of a lawsuit.

The person or persons abducted, held, killed and dumped four children, two boys and two girls: Mark Stebbins, 12, of Ferndale; Kristine Mihelich, 10, of Berkley; Timothy King, 11, of Birmingham; and Jill Robinson, 12, of Royal Oak.

Despite the creation of a huge task force of local and state law enforcement agencies, backed with federal funding, no one was brought to justice.

The lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court in the name of Deborah Jarvis, the mother of Kristine Mihelich. It claims Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper, Sheriff Michael Bouchard and Michigan State Police detectives blocked relatives of the victims from obtaining information. It asks the U.S. Department of Justice to take over the investigation.

Behind that are claims through Jarvis and her attorney that an informant and his associates have spent 5,000 hours and $100,000 in recent years investigating the cases on their own.

The informant contends that other children were abducted by the same person or people and either killed or never seen again. They include: Kimberly King, missing in 1979 from Warren; Jane Allan, missing in 1976 in Royal Oak; Kim Larrow, missing in 1981 in Canton Township; and Donna Serra, missing in 1972 from Warren.

Jarvis said she has had hundreds of phone calls from the informant. Neither she nor her attorney have met him.

The defendant in her lawsuit contends the woman's attorney and the informant are exploiting her with a conspiracy theory, and that the informant should present his findings to law enforcement officials.

According to Jarvis' attorney, the informant needs one item of information from official reports to identify the killer. The law enforcement officials have refused to provide it.

It's possible that a lawsuit will produce some answers. but so would some frank discussion, including that hidden informant.

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