A look back at the Oakland County child killings

For nearly 40 years, the Michigan State Police task force devoted to the case has checked out more than 18,000 tips but to this day, the Oakland County Child Killer remains unidentified.

Four Oakland County children, between the ages of 10 and 12, were abducted and killed during a 13-month period. Mark Stebbins, Jill Robinson, Kristine Mihelich and Timothy King were kidnapped and killed between February 1976 and March 1977. Each time, their bodies were neatly laid out within view of police or nearby homes. All but one of them â?? Jill Robinson â?? were smothered to death.

The killings triggered fear across southeastern Michigan as investigators realized the evidence pointed to a serial killer.

A task force was charged with searching for the killer. The investigation was turned over to state police in 1978 with no major breaks in the case.

Over the years investigators identified several persons of interest, including James Vincent Gunnels, whose hair was partially matched with hair found on a victim's blouse.

Gunnels was released in 2011 after police concluded there wasn't enough evidence to charge him.

In July 2012, DNA tests matched hair belonging to an unknown person to hair found on the bodies of Mark Stebbins and Timothy King.

DNA tests also confirmed that white hairs from the same dog were found on all four victims.