The danger of child predators

image by WDIV-TV

You may have heard people talking about the Oakland County Child Killer recently; maybe you’ve seen something on TV, or conversation happening on social media. There were two documentaries that just aired that provide a detailed narrative of the crimes: Children of the Snow on Investigation Discovery, and a four part special on Channel 4. They are not easy to watch or listen to.

So many things are still unknown about the case, but there are two things we know for sure: it involved multiple horrific incidents of child abuse and it happened right here in Oakland County.

Back when the killer was active in the 1970s, most parents were having conversations with their kids about “Stranger Danger.” Don’t talk to strangers, stay away from people who look suspicious, don’t take candy from people you don’t know, etc. Today, we know that most perpetrators aren’t strangers. In fact, they are likely someone a child knows and trusts or someone who portrays themselves to be trustworthy.

The documentaries detail tactics the offender(s) used to manipulate, isolate, and groom the victims – which is something we educate community members and families about all the time through our Outreach and Prevention department. It is likely that if a horrendous crime like those of the late 1970s happened in current day, a child advocacy center like CARE House would be involved in offering trauma-informed services for children and families. For tips on how to chat with kids about staying safe, check out this blog post: “Talking to your child about abuse.”

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