OAKLAND COUNTY (WWJ) – A grand jury will examine evidence and hear testimony in what could be a major step in identifying the Oakland County Child Killer, who abducted and murdered four children in the 1970s.
At the age of 11, Barry King’s son Timothy was abducted and murdered in 1977. King said he’s happy to hear that a grand jury has been seated to look at evidence and listen to testimony.
“I know there’s been talk about it for several years and I think that they’re at the point where 12 people on the grand jury can hear the testimony and make a decision much like they would if it’s a criminal trial,” King said.
From February 1976 to March 1977, a serial killer abducted and held four young children against their will, 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.
“When there’s a murder, everybody would like to know who was involved and I believe that the Oakland County prosecutor is trying to find that out for us,” King said.
The grand jury could ultimately decide if there is sufficient evidence to indict an individual or bring criminal charges in the murders.
“Of course, I’m extremely pleased because, as I understand the legal process, it’s maybe the only way you can solve a case where you have a deceased suspect and it’s my understanding that the lead suspect, that has been identified to my family to date, is deceased,” King said.
Some family members of the victims believe a man who committed suicide may be the killer.
In May, investigators uncovered new physical evidence, linking DNA to a new suspect. Police traced that DNA to 49-year-old James Vincent Gunnels. While police do not think Gunnels was the Oakland County Child Killer, they believe he may have worked with the killer. Read more here.