Macomb cold case dig: ‘We have a suspect’
Officials hold a press conference as they continue to search for the bodies of several young girls in the woods in Macomb Twp
The man convicted of killing 13-year-old Cindy Zarzycki 32 years ago is a suspect in the deaths of four to six others who may be buried in the same Macomb Township site where the teen’s body was found in 2008, authorities said Wednesday.
Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer said at a news conference that investigators believe the remains of Kimberly King of Warren, who disappeared at the age of 12 in September 1979, were disposed of in a 24-acre site where searchers began digging Monday.
Dwyer said Arthur Nelson Ream, 69, who is serving a life term for killing Cindy, is a “person of interest in the disappearance of Kimberly and other teenage girls.
“We do have probable cause to believe this is a gravesite, no question about it, that Kimberly King and other young victims are buried here,” he said. “We have a suspect and you know who that suspect is. He’s been convicted and is already in prison.”
Police were initially directed to the site near 23 Mile and North Avenue in 2008 by Ream, who at that time was in prison for the rape of a 15-year-old girl. There, they found the remains of Cindy Zarzycki, who knew Ream’s son and had gone to meet the elder Ream at a Dairy Queen on Nine Mile in Eastpointe when she disappeared April 20, 1986.
Dwyer spoke at a news conference along with Warren Mayor Jim Fouts, FBI agent Matt Krupa, Kimberly’s sister Konnie Beyma and friend Annie Godbout, the last person known to see Kimberly alive.
“This brings a great deal of hope,” Beyma said. “It would mean a great deal to bring her remains home.”
The night Kimberly disappeared, she wanted to “cruise Gratiot” with some older friends, Godbout said.
Kimberly had told her grandparents that she was hanging out with Godbout that night, and got Godbout to back up her story, a well-intentioned lie her best friend still regrets telling almost four decades later.
“It was a different time,” Godbout said. “There wasn’t social media. You couldn’t track someone’s every move like you can now. I still feel guilty. I still pray for her, and pray to her. I had to learn to forgive myself.”
Dwyer said investigators began taking a fresh look at Kimberly’s disappearance last fall, interviewing Ream, getting information from his fellow prisoners and giving the suspect a lie-detector test, which he failed.
Dwyer said Ream bragged about committing multiple killings, but the police commissioner would not discuss what investigators learned from their interviews with him and others.
“Unfortunately for Konnie and Annie, he has not been cooperative about this,” Dwyer said.
“The person of interest, our suspect, is going to know you’re out here,” the commissioner said, addressing Beyma and Godbout. “Today is his birthday. I hope it’s his last birthday, frankly.
The interview with Ream, officials said, is tied to unsolved cases, including those of Kimberly and Kellie Brownlee, who was 17 when she was last seen at Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi in 1982.
The police commissioner added: “We have a reasonable confidence that up to 4 to 6 victims may be buried here. ... “We targeted in on this location a few months ago but we had to wait until the weather changed” to begin searching the site.
Dwyer said 25 to 30 law enforcement officers are working at the site with shovels and earth movers, plus the assistance of a helicopter. “We’re very cautiously optimistic that we’re going to unfortunately find remains,” he said.
“The next time you’ll hear from us,” Dwyer said, “is after we make a discovery.”