The runway nonetheless cuts throughout Lake Michigan’s North Fox Island, light like an outdated scar. The airstrip is the very first thing that Francis D. Shelden constructed after shopping for his hideaway.
In 1960, the millionaire outbid the state authorities for the island, formed like an upside-down teardrop, that hovers 19 miles off the coast of Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula. The state supplied the proprietor, an aged widow, about $3,500. The Detroit Free Press reported Shelden gave her $20,000.
He needed isolation and he acquired it.
The 3,000-foot stretch of inexperienced was the place Shelden, a former Michigan Air National Guard airman, would contact down in his non-public aircraft. It’s additionally the place the younger campers would arrive in the summer season, earlier than they had been ushered into cottages hid by beech and elm timber. Before, survivors say, they grew to become caught in a spider’s net of sexual abuse and little one pornography.
Michigan State Police responded to Business Insider’s data request on Shelden with a assertion saying that “a search of Michigan’s felony historical past file has not positioned a felony file that precisely matches the data that you’ve supplied.” But a evaluate of Michigan State Police stories from the 1970s on the case of North Fox Island level to an operation constructed on manipulation, deception, and coercion.
The story of the financier and convicted intercourse offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of sexually abusing and trafficking minors, erupted in the information this yr, and web sleuths say the case of Shelden and Lake Michigan’s North Fox Island bears an uncanny resemblance to in the present day’s scandal.
Both heart on allegations that secretive millionaires weaponized their philanthropic giving, cliques of related pals, and non-public island paradises to prey on younger victims and escape justice. Like Shelden, Epstein was a millionaire, a philanthropist, and a man with highly effective pals. And neither stood trial for the crimes for which he was accused.
After accusations surfaced about goings-on at North Fox Island, Shelden disappeared.