How Michigan County Solves Murder Cases From the 60s and 70s


Oakland County, Mi., has won convictions of five defendants in the last two years, part of a push to solve cold case homicides, says the Detroit Free Press. That closed six murder cases, some dating to the 1960s and ’70s. A grand jury is investigating dozens more. Among them is the Oakland County Child Killer, a high-profile and long-unsolved series of slayings of four children in 1976 and 1977.

“It is justice denied for the families,” county Prosecutor Jessica Cooper said. “I can’t take away the pain. [ ] But I can give them some satisfaction.” She adds, “These are very tough cases to try,” Cooper said. “The worst thing would be to bring a charge and get a family’s hopes up, and then not be able to get a conviction. So when we do take these to trial, we are very well-prepared. That’s the reason for our success.” This year, a citizens’ grand jury was seated in Oakland County, the first of its kind there since 1999. That panel is now reviewing at least 30 old murder cases — examining decades-old evidence and taking testimony from witnesses.

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