The 1970s were a different time;
everybody had vibes, man, and with Robert Ressler and his crew
cooking up magic in the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit there was a much closer corollary between psychiatry
and criminology than would have been concievable to the fact-driven flatfoots of yesteryear.
Enter into the OCCK case Dr. Bruce L. Danto.
Dr. Danto, a well-regarded forensic psychiatrist,
had been interviewed in the media regarding the child killer’s crimes,
and when Kristine Mihelich’s body was dumped near Bruce Lane in rural Franklin Village
the Doctor became convinced the killer was trying to communicate with him.
(Bruce Lane, Dr. Bruce L.—get it? Okay; did I mention the 1970s were a different time?)
Dr. Danto believed the OCCK was prompted to kill by snowfall, or the forecast thereof:
“Maybe his father beat him in wintertime for not shoveling the walk and he’s trying to get back at him,” the Doctor opined.
Hoping to direct the killer’s actions Dr. Danto referred to the
killer’s child abduction technique in the press as akin to that of “a squirrel picking up nuts in wintertime.”
Believing the Babysitter would seize upon this reference and dump his next victim
on Squirrel Road in nearby Auburn Hills,
the police conducted a fruitless stakeout of the area.
Undaunted by the ignominious failure of his bushy-tailed rodent ploy,
Dr. Danto wrote an open letter to the OCCK printed in The Detroit News,
urging the killer to turn himself in as his inevitable capture was nigh.
This missive engendered a response from a man who claimed to be the Oakland County child killer’s roommate.
Calling himself Allen, the writer alleged the Babysitter had been twisted by his experiences as a soldier in Viet Nam
and purposely chose to murder children from wealthy areas to punish the ruling class for the horrors of war.
(The precise role anal penetration of male victims played in the killer’s anti-war campaign was a topic left unexplored.)
After much back and forth Allen agreed to meet Dr. Danto at a local gay bar called The Pony Cart; from the description of the incident in seminal OCCK text
Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing by Tommy McIntire, Allen’s choice of venue scandalized
law enforcement—apparently gay bars were quite a novelty at the time.
Sadly, much like a thwarted suitor Dr. Danto arrived at The Pony Cart with high hopes but was bitterly chagrined when Allen failed to materialize,
thus rendering Dr. Danto’s success rate in the OCCK investigation somewhere in the arid wasteland
between nil and absolute zero.
And thus stood roommate Allen’s involvement in the OCCK case for more than three decades;
unbelievably, however, Allen’s specter was recently revived by the lawsuit
filed earlier this summer on behalf of Kristine Mihelich’s mother (discussed in a previous blog entry).
According to The Detroit Free Press the phantom source who prompted the filing had previously contacted police
regarding Allen’s correspondence with Dr. Danto, specifically inquiring about
the originating postmark and whether the letter had been typed or hand-written. This leads me to believe that Allen
(along with Satanists and a Wiccan cult) plays a role in the phantom source’s theory of the OCCK crimes.
Although I find the phantom source’s allegations risible I must admit
I’d be tickled if Dr. Danto’s involvement and theories regarding the OCCK case were vindicated;
like a squirrel picking up nuts in wintertime
I collect pithy true crime quotes, and
“Maybe his father beat him in wintertime for not shoveling the walk,”
is a keeper.