DETROIT (AP) - Authorities named a suspect Monday in the brutal killings of four children in the 1970s, raising hopes of solving a case that terrorized the region.
Theodore Lamborgine, 65, of Parma Heights, Ohio, is "our most promising suspect at this particular time," Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said.
The admission that Lamborgine is a suspect in the Oakland County Child Killer case came as Worthy announced charges against Lamborgine in an unrelated series of sexual assaults against six juveniles in the 1970s and 1980s. Lamborgine was to be arraigned Monday afternoon in Michigan on 17 counts of criminal sexual conduct.
Worthy's office also is bringing charges against Richard Lawson, 60, a convicted murderer serving time at a Michigan prison, in the sexual assaults of eight juveniles from several Detroit-area communities during the same time. He faces 28 counts of criminal sexual conduct.
Worthy said Lamborgine and Lawson knew each other and worked together as sexual predators, but are charged separately.
"We do consider this a sex ring of sorts," Worthy said, adding she believes there are "many, many more" victims.
The two men lured the victims, some of whom were under 13, to motels, hotels and homes with soft drinks, drugs, food and cash, Worthy said.
"These suspects knew that there were a lot of kids living in that area - a lot of poor kids living in that area," said Livonia police Detective Sgt. Cory Williams. "It didn't take too much for them, the suspects, to figure out they could take the kids a case of pop, some drugs or cash."
Lawson, who is not a suspect in the killings, provided authorities with information about Lamborgine related to the Oakland County case, said Garry Gray, a detective sergeant with the state police and the head of the Oakland County Child Killer Task Force.
Timothy King, 11, of Birmingham; Mark Stebbins, 12, of Ferndale; Jill Robinson, 12, of Royal Oak; Kristine Mihelich, 10, of Berkley were suffocated between February 1976 and March 1977.
Their bodies were found after each went missing for periods ranging from three to 19 days. Two had been raped, and one also was shot in the face with a shotgun.
Lamborgine left Michigan for Ohio around 1978, Gray said.
In February 2005 authorities revived an investigation into the unsolved killings. They said they would begin reanalyzing evidence and leads using more advanced computer databases and forensic techniques than had been available.
Before that time, investigators' last big lead fell apart in November 2000, when DNA from the exhumed body of a suspect failed to match the genetic material in a hair found on one of the suffocated children.
Lamborgine and Lawson face maximum penalties of life in prison if convicted of the sexual assaults.
Worthy said the charges are the result of a two-year investigation involving prosecutors, the Michigan State Police, FBI and Livonia and Parma Heights police. The alleged victims were identified with help of the multi-jurisdictional Oakland County Child Killer Task Force.