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Possible lead unearthed in Oakland County child killer case

By Gabriel Falcon, CNN
updated 11:15 AM EDT, Wed August 21, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Four children, maybe more, were victims of a serial killer in the '70s
  • Michigan police are looking at car parts buried on farmland
  • The parts were discovered during construction for new homes

(CNN) -- Michigan authorities are pursuing a new lead in the case of the infamous Oakland County child killer who abducted and murdered at least four boys and girls in the 1970s.

"We would be thrilled if this is the one piece of evidence that we are looking for to give closure to the families, but we want to do our due diligence" said Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw.

Parts of a blue AMC Gremlin with a white stripe were unearthed at a construction site in Grand Blanc Township on Monday. The car matches the description of a vehicle seen near the scene of one of the kidnappings.

New DNA work may offer break in slayings

"We received an anonymous tip of car parts recovered in the excavation of a new homes subdivision," Shaw told CNN. "There was that blue colored Gremlin with the white stripe down the side of it. We sent out our crime lab from Bridgeport to investigate and see what the situation was.

"Right now we are continuing to excavate the site to see if there is any more evidence we can locate," Shaw said.

The Oakland County Child Killer Task Force was also notified, Shaw added.

The search for the serial killer has lasted for more than 36 years. Police agencies have pursued some 20,000 tips in the hunt for the perpetrator of the unsolved murders, which took place over a 13-month period between 1976 and 1977.

Mark Stebbins was 12 when he was abducted in Ferndale on February 15, 1976. His body was found nearly a year later. Jill Robinson was also 12 when she was kidnapped on December 22, 1976. Her body was found four days later. Kristin Mihelich was 10 when she disappeared in Berkley on January 2, 1977, and her body was found later that month. Timothy King was 11 when he vanished in Birmingham on March 16, 1977. His body was found one week later.

Several other children who went missing or were killed during that time may period also may have been victims of the Oakland County child killer, according to the task force.

Shaw cautioned that this new lead may turn up empty. "We're not sure if this has anything to do with it," he said. "In Michigan, this used to be farm land so it was common for farmers to bury their scrap metal. Since this is a vehicle that we have been looking for for years, we will make sure if it's part of the crime scene or isn't, and rule it out.

"The evidence has been in the ground for some time so we may never put it back together."

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