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Detectives Find Torture Plan for Boys in Home of Dead Mechanic

June 12, 1991

NORTH ADAMS, Mich. (AP) _ A mechanic fond of building go-carts for neighborhood children killed himself after two boys he tied up at his home escaped, and police found a detailed plan for their sexual torture and murder.

William Edwin Shaw, 56, shot himself with a rifle after the 10-year-old and 12-year-old escaped early Saturday, investigators said.

Shaw turned his garage into a torture chamber, officials said.

Investigators talked to Shaw on Thursday after an Ohio boy reported Shaw molested him when he lived in the North Adams neighborhood, Hillsdale County Sheriff Gerald Hicks said Tuesday. Detectives had interviewed 15 to 20 boys before Saturday.

County prosecutor Michael Smith said the older boy taken captive by Shaw told police that Shaw had molested him for about a year, forcing him to touch his genitals.

The boys were Shaw’s friends and slept over the night they were tied up and dragged to his garage, Hicks said.

After Shaw’s suicide, investigators found a note pad in a file cabinet in his mobile home detailing a 29-step process of torture, mutilation and murder of the two boys, who were named in the plan.

State Police Sgt. Curt Robertson said officers found a homemade contraption to confine the boys and restraint devices made of boards and wires.

The boys evidently slept at Shaw’s home many times, Hicks said. He wouldn’t say if they lived in the same neighborhood.

The boys told police Shaw awakened them shortly before 1 a.m., tied them up and took the 12-year-old to the garage in a wheelbarrow. The older boy escaped when Shaw went to get the 10-year-old. The younger boy promised to help search for the other boy and managed to escape as well.

The allegation of sexual abuse from the 13-year-old Toledo, Ohio, boy prompted the sheriff’s department investigation of Shaw, Hicks said.

Hicks wouldn’t say when the boy was molested or exactly when the investigation began.

Smith said 15 to 20 boys interviewed made no allegations of sexual advances by Shaw. Smith and Hicks said the boys will be interviewed again and Hicks said a search Tuesday of Shaw’s home might lead them to other boys.

Hicks described Shaw as a self-employed mechanic who built go-carts and let neighborhood children drive them.

″He was always helping people fix things. He has raised more than 30 foster kids and his life was devoted to kids,″ said Dieter Nuebel, a friend of Shaw’s for more than 10 years. He said Shaw ″spent every nickel on kids, making go-carts or buying pop.″

But Julie Horn, manager of children’s foster home licensing for the Michigan Department of Social Services, said Wednesday the department checked its records back to 1960 and found no record that Shaw ever was licensed to raise foster children in Michigan.

Nuebel said on Wednesday that Shaw was unclear about when he cared for the foster children.

″I have known him only for 10 or 12 years. He often spoke of the many foster kids he raised. Whether he was the foster parent or it was his mother, I don’t know for sure. All I can say is that he was a very kind, generous man who did a lot of things for a lot of people,″ he said.

North Adams is 90 miles southwest of Detroit.

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