I try very hard to be a good researcher. I’ve been formally trained in historical research, genealogical research, and scientific research. However, I have no standing within any of these communities beyond saying “Hey, I have a degree in X.” This means if it isn’t public information, I probably can’t get it without jumping through a ton of hoops and even then, I probably couldn’t get anything sensitive or confidential.
However, since I know I am limited to public information, I attempt to fulfill the requirements of due diligence. This means finding multiple sources of information considered reliable by those that do have access to the sensitive information I don’t.
This is fairly easy with history stuff. It’s not always as easy with crime stuff. For instance, I once found a website referenced on a site that was purportedly run by the son of Zodiac. Yep, you read that correctly. Bizarrely, the original site was considered very reliable, so it surprised me to end up on a site that appeared to be run by a crackpot and linked from the reliable site.
Unfortunately, this means that occasionally, I don’t get all the details correct. That is never my intention, I assure you. I love facts. And when I do get things wrong, I don’t mind having it pointed out to me.
I bring this up because I got some things wrong with the Oakland County Child Killer and a read was nice enough to point it out to me. From what I can tell, the reader may have a personal connection to the case, so I understand their frustration with my getting any part of it wrong.
I said in that post that one of the victims was seen in an AMC Gremlin right before he disappeared. I used that bit of information because I found it in newspaper accounts from Oakland County, Michigan at the time, as well as a more recent article on a national website that also said a Blue AMC Gremlin. I have been informed it was a blue Pontiac. I did find one source that said it was a Pontiac, but not a reliable source, It was a conspiracy theory site that was discussing Bob’s involvement with the case… and it was brought up because apparently the Bob who involved himself demanding to read the letter and see other evidence drove a blue Pontiac.
I also left out the piece of information that Bob drove a Pontiac at the time of the killings, because I’m not sure it’s trustworthy. Bob himself seems to have spread some of the misinformation available regarding the OCCK murders. For all I know, Bob himself started that rumor to make himself more important or raise suspicion about himself being involved. And yes, there are people out there who get a kick out of being suspected of murder, especially multiple murders in the form of serial killings.
And so, if you read something that you know to be false or incorrect for whatever reason, don’t think twice about pointing it out to me. We learn and discover through facts.