DETROIT (WWJ) – The mother of a girl who was murdered by the Oakland County Child Killer has filed a $100 million lawsuit against the Oakland County prosecutor, sheriff and Michigan State Police, saying they withheld information about the 35-year-old case.
The lawsuit — filed Monday by Debbie Jarvis, the mother of Kristine Mihelich, who was 10-years-old when she was killed — asks U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood to order the defendants to turn over their files to the U.S. Department of Justice for a probe. It also alleges there might have been other victims connected to the case.
Jarvis’ attorney Paul Hughes plans to further discuss the lawsuit and the controversial claims at a press conference Tuesday. He said the lawsuit seeks more than $40 million in compensatory damages and $60 million in punitive damages.
From February 1976 to March 1977, a serial killer abducted and held four young children — Mark Stebbins, Kristine Mihelich, Jill Robinson and Timothy King — against their will for several days, before murdering and placing them on display on streets throughout Metro Detroit. Although several potential suspects have been investigated over the years, the case officially remains unsolved.
L. Brooks Patterson was the Oakland County Prosecutor when the killings took place. He said he finds that claim offensive.
“I know how hard these police departments and these officers worked to solve this crime and to suggest that somehow they were all complicit in some kind of conspiracy for whatever reason, and I can’t imagine what that could be, not to try to solve this crime is absolute nonsense,” said Patterson.
“They came in on weekends, and they didn’t get paid, and they’d chase leads trying to stop this guy before he killed any more of our innocent children. To even suggest that there’s a cover up, I think it’s a huge insult to all the men and women who were on that task force.”
Bill King, father of murder victim Tim King, agrees with Jarvis that the U.S. Department of Justice needs to look into the case. He said there has been little help coming from the county prosecutor’s office.
“I’m extremely pleased with the assistance I’m getting from Wayne County, and the reason that happened is because Timmy’s body was found there, and I do not understand the total lack of communication from the Oakland County people who have primary responsibility for this case,” said King.
In May of last year, investigators said they found DNA evidence linking the four young victims. Their findings were turned over to a grand jury, which agreed to examine evidence and hear testimony in what could be a major step in identifying the killer.
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