Plans on hold for Macomb dig for missing girls

James David Dickson

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said Tuesday that the search for human remains at a dig site in Macomb Township has been suspended while authorities plan the next steps in the investigation.

Fouts said he and other stakeholders will meet this week to discuss plans going forward, saying that authorities have “a multitude of clues, not a multitude of resources.”

The search began a week ago at a site of roughly 25 acres of woods and open fields, not far from a residential neighborhood. Authorities believe the remains of four to six victims could be buried at the site.

There will be no activity at the site Tuesday, said Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer said.

Dwyer said at the search site last week, off 23 Mile and North Ave., that authorities have “probable cause to believe this is a grave site.”

Arthur Ream, the suspect in the girls’ deaths, is serving a life sentence in a Muskegon Heights prison for the murder of 13-year-old Cindy Zarzycki. The girl disappeared from an Eastpointe Dairy Queen in April 1986. Ream was arrested, charged and convicted of her murder in 2008. After the conviction, he led authorities to the site where authorities recovered her body.

Fouts said decades ago, Ream asked permission from a land owner at what would become the dig site to set up beehives near the Clinton River; he planted 30 to 40 of them.

“That provided cover for his misdeeds,” Fouts said. But the dig has “pretty well exhausted that area. There are other areas of the field (where authorities) feel they might have a shallow grave.”

Police recently re-interviewed Ream, which led to the latest efforts at the site.

“We do have an obligation to bring closure,” Fouts said, but “I would like them to give me an overall plan: how much resources we’re going to need, where we’re going to go, and where’s the best place.”

Warren has not only used police resources, but the departments of sanitation and public works at the site. While he didn’t quote a dollar figure, Fouts said he didn’t believe “that much” money had yet been spent on the search.

But now, he says, three other sites in Michigan could be viable for exploration. One of the sites is in Gladwin, north of Mount Pleasant. Two others are in northern Macomb County, Fouts said. He declined to be more specific on where those Macomb sites are, but noted Ream was an “outdoorsman” who frequented the three areas.

Fouts is requesting a plan for the investigation.

“We’ve had so many tips, so many leads, so many clues,” Fouts said. “We need a reasonable expectation of what would be the best place to go.”

Authorities repeatedly have said they’re confident they will solve the cold cases, raising the hopes of anxious family members who are desperate to learn what happened to their loved ones.

Konnie Beyma, whose 12-year-old sister, Kimberly King, disappeared in 1979, was at the dig May 7 and expressed confidence in police. She wants to find her sister’s remains and bury them in Kentucky.

“They are very certain, and we are almost there,” Beyma said.

Associated Press contributed.