The Detroit News

Records: Troubled past for ‘person of interest’ in child killer probe

- BY MIKE MARTINDALE AND MAUREEN FEIGHAN

Court and state records provide a disturbing view of a man described this week as a “person of interest” in the Oakland County child killer investigat­ion, a man with a long history of sexually abusing children before he was finally sentenced to life in prison for raping a boy in Detroit.

Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper and representa­tives of a multi-agency task force looking into four murders of children abducted in Oakland County in 1976 and 1977 asked for the public’s help in finding more informatio­n about Archibald “Ed” Sloan, 70, who’s serving a life term in a Michigan prison.

On the surface, Sloan was a Detroit Cooley High School dropout, leaving in 1957 after completing ninth grade. He was a mechanic and tow truck driver in the Farmington area and lived into his 30s with his parents in Southfield and in Fenton in Genesee County.

But by the time he was18, Sloan was a convicted sex offender. And within two decades, he had 10 criminal conviction­s with victims from Michigan to Pennsylvan­ia.

Today Sloan sits in an isolated cell at the Earnest C. Brooks Correction­al Facility, a medium security prison in Muskegon.

“He is not what you would call a model prisoner — but he’s only had three major misconduct­s and one minor misconduct, which is pretty good,” said John Cordell, a Michigan Department of Correction­s spokesman.

Sloan is not going anywhere, Cordell said, noting he has been convicted five times since 1959 of criminal sexual conduct charges involving boys — four times in Michigan, once in Pennsylvan­ia:

In June 1959, Sloan was convicted of gross indecency with a minor male in Detroit and given 2 to five years in prison.

In March 1972, he was convicted of sodomy and solicitati­on to corrupt a minor for September 1970 incidents in Pennsylvan­ia. He was sentenced to five to 10 years in prison.

In December 1978, he was convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, molesting, in an incident in Brighton. He was given six months in jail. The same month, he was convicted of thirddegre­e criminal sexual conduct in Alpena and given one year in jail and three years’ probation.

In 1985, he was convicted of two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Detroit and sentenced to life in prison.

According to court files, a coworker at a gas station agreed to let his son, 10, spend the night with Sloan in October 1983 so the two could go fishing the next day.

Sloan, living in a trailer at the old Packard Plant in Detroit, challenged the boy to a foot race on the way there. If the boy won, Sloan said he’d give him a dollar; if Sloan won, the boy would have to perform oral sex on him.

The boy refused, but when he lost the race, Sloan forced him, court records show. Later, Sloan gave the boy a pop mixed with wine and the two watched television. He later told the boy it was time to go to bed, where he raped him.

During the trial, Sloan’s attorney argued his client was insane at the time of his offense. He was convicted after two hours of deliberati­ons.

In an “Order of Conviction and Sentence” form, the recommenda­tion reads, “Never be allowed in society again.”

The fact that the 1983 assault occurred inside a trailer is of great interest to investigat­ors. Besides driving a red 1966 Pontiac Bonneville, Sloan was also seen driving a 1969 black Chevrolet pickup truck and 1971 blue Ford pickup truck — both vehicles having an attached camper.

Mitochondr­ial DNA on a hair found by Southfield police during a 1976 search of the Bonneville matches that of human hairs found on two of the Oakland County child killer victims: Timothy King, 11, last seen March 16, 1977, in Birmingham and Mark Stebbins, 12, of Ferndale, who disappeare­d Feb. 15, 1976.

Trish Sample wasn’t even born when the body of the first of the victims, Stebbins, was recovered in Southfield.

She, her husband and children live in the Fenton farmhouse where the Sloans lived in the 1980s. The home sits on more than two acres, ringed by trees and a large barn, which was once part of the homestead. “We’ve only lived here three years, but the last couple have been pretty strange,” Sample said. “First I was visited by someone from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office about 19 months ago — looking for one of the Sloan relatives. Then a few months later, a woman with the state police cold case group came by and wanted to look around.

“And last summer a woman showed up one day and said she used to live here — a Sloan — and wanted to look around the house,” said Sample.

“She was especially interested in seeing some concrete on the side of the house where she and others must have written their names.”

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