Possible Early Murders
The Case (Mark Stebbins)
The Case (Jill Robinson)
The Case (Kristine Mihelich)
The Case (Tim King)
Seven days after Jill Robinson's body was found, another girl went missing. Her name was Kristine Mihelich. And on On January 2, 1977, 10 year old was kidnapped. She was abducted as she walked in broad daylight to a local store in Berkley, MI. Her mother, Deborah Ascroft, relives that afternoon constantly. "Kris was bored, so she asked if she could go to the store to get a magazine," Deborah recalls. "She wasn't usually allowed to cross Twelve Mile Road, but she had gone shopping for me earlier, so I gave in. I explained how to go, to wait for the light, and I told her to hurry. She promised she would." Mrs. Ascroft, a twice-married divorcée, called police when Kristine failed to return in half an hour, and for 19 days kept a round-the-clock vigil at her Berkley home. She went on television to beg for her daughter's release and, eating compulsively, put on about 30 pounds. Neighbors had raised $17,000 in hope of a possible ransom demand, and friends had offered to mortgage their houses to help out. Sadly though none of this would matter, because on January 21, 1977 Kristine's body was found on Bruce Lane in Franklin Village, MI.
Her body had been found by a postman who drove down the dead end road. He saw something on the side of the road, and decided to check it out, due to that he often picked up items that people threw out as junk. He stepped in some foot prints and came across Kristine's body. The postman immediately ran back to his car and alerted the police. At the scene it was noted that the killer had driven down the road possibly not knowing it was a dead in, then backed up and turned around in his car, as evidenced by a snow bank having been pushed over by a car bumper. The body had been carried from the car in a way parent would carry a child, one arm under their head, and one under their leg. The body was then placed carefully in the snow bank, and had it's arm's crossed by the killer. Then the body was tucked in with snow, and patted down, leaving obvious hand prints in the snow. It was also thought that the street may have been chosen as either another taunt by the killer, or possibly even an attempt to establish contact with someone in the investigation. At the time Dr. Bruce Leonard Danto, a local psychiatrist got involved with the Oakland County Child Killer case. Danto was often talking in interviews in the local newspapers about his thoughts and opinions on the killer. It's believed that the killer may have wanted to establish contact with him some how with the dumping of the third confirmed victim. Kristine Mihelich's body had been found on street called Bruce Lane a theory was that the killer picked that road because Danto's name was Bruce L. Danto (L in this case being used as Lane).
It was determined that Kristine had been smothered some how by her killer. Numerous ways have been suggesting for how this was done; placing a pillow over her face, a bag over her head, or possibly even just pinching her nose shut and covering her mouth. Although there were no obvious signs of molestation it's felt the killer likely engaged in some kind of sexual activity with her. An early test on her body indicated no sign of penetration of either her vagina or anus, but did detect semen. After a second test though, no semen was found. Like the past two victims she had also been washed and redressed, and her clothes cleaned and washed. After her death, the police finally formed a task force to investigate the "Babysitter" murders. One of the first acts they did was stake out Kristine's funeral, running down plates on the car of everyone that showed up. One person got past them though without being identified, and was later found, and the man cleared. Deborah hasn't discussed Kristine's death with her younger children much over the years ("I feel if they really want to know something, they'll ask"), and she has resisted seeing a psychiatrist. She has lost most of the weight she gained, has somehow kept working (as a waitress in a bowling alley at the time) but feels that she is "living in hell." Her one consolation is strange comfort indeed. "Kris was really a joy," she says. "This is why whoever took her kept her so long. He was enjoying her company. At least this is what we have told ourselves, and I prefer not to think any differently."