Today's episode is taking us back to the world of unsolved true crime. This episode deals with pretty tough stuff so consider this your trigger warning as the episode does talk about the killings of young children.
We are heading to the state of Michigan for this one. Oakland county to be exact. Oakland county is part of the metropolitan Detroit area, located northwest of the city. As of the 2020 Census, its population was 1,274,395, making it the second-most populous county in Michigan, behind neighboring Wayne County. The county seat is Pontiac. The county was founded in 1819 and organized in 1820. Oakland County is among the ten highest income counties in the United States with populations over one million people. The county's knowledge-based economic initiative, coined "Automation Alley", has developed one of the largest employment centers for engineering and related occupations in the United States. This county would spawn a serial killer. From February 1976 to March 1977 four children were abducted and murdered with their bodies left in various locations within or just outside Oakland County.
There were at least two other murder cases that investigators believe may have been victims of the “Oakland County Child Killer” or “The Babysitter Killer,” as some called him.
The ensuing murder investigation was the largest of its kind in U.S. history at the time. One suspect was even from our neck of the woods! We'll check out the victims and then get into the suspects. Again, this is definitely a touchy episode for some so if you're uncomfortable with this sort of thing, you might want to skip this episode.
Still with us? Ok so here we go.
Every 40 seconds, a child goes missing or is abducted in the United States. Approximately 840,000 people are reported missing each year in the United States and the F.B.I. estimates that between 85 and 90 percent of these are children. On a positive note, More than 99 percent of children reported missing in America in recent years have come home alive.
According to the Washington State Attorney General’s Child Abduction Murder Research:
In 74 percent of the missing children homicide cases studied, the child murder victim was female and the average age was 11 years old.
In 44 percent of the cases studied, the victims and killers were strangers, but in 42 percent of the cases, the victims and killers were friends or acquaintances.
Only about 14 percent of the cases studied involved parents or intimates killing the child.
Almost two-thirds of the killers in these cases have prior arrests for violent crimes, with slightly more than half of those prior crimes committed against children.
The primary motive for the child abduction killer in the cases studied was sexual assault.
In nearly 60 percent of the cases studied, more than two hours passed between the time someone realized the child was missing and the time police were notified.
In 76 percent of the missing children homicide cases studied, the child was dead within three hours of the abduction–and in 88.5 percent of the cases the child was dead within 24 hours.
Pay attention to your kids, folks. Be that parent. The one who annoys them constantly by asking where they are and knowing who they’re with. Protect the fuck out of them with every last fiber of your being. THAT is your number one job as a parent.
The First victim was 12 year old Mark Stebbins. Mark was from Ferndale Michigan and was last seen at 1:30 pm on Feb. 15 1976. His body was found three days later in Ferndale. He was sexually assaulted and suffocated to death.
Mark was last seen and heard from at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 15. He talked to his mother on the phone. He was letting her know that he was leaving the American Legion Hall to head home. He never made it and at 11 p.m. that night Mark’s mother called the Ferndale Police Department to report Mark missing.
At about 11:45 a.m. Feb. 19, 1976, a businessman named Mark Boetigheimer left his office building and headed toward a drug store located inside the New Orleans mall at 10 Mile and Greenfield roads. On his way something caught his eye in the northeast corner of the parking lot. He saw what looked like a mannequin dressed in a blue jacket and jeans. But as he got closer he knew he stumbled into a situation much more grim. It was a body, a human body. It was the lifeless body of 12-year-old Mark Stebbins.
Another person told police that they walked their dog around that parking lot, just so it could get some exercise. That was around 9:30 a.m. the same morning the body was found. The man said his dog was on a 20-foot leash and they walked that part of the lot. He said if that body was there at the time, his dog would have found it. If that’s true, Mark’s body wasn’t there at 9:30 a.m. But it was at 11:45 a.m. when Mark Boetigheimer found him. That means there was a 2-hour-and-15-minute window in which