Arthur Ream: The Suspected Serial Killer from Michigan

Michigan authorities are looking into the possibility of a serial killer who was active decades ago. In 2008, Arthur Ream was convicted of killing 13-year-old Cindy Zarzycki 32 years ago. Now, investigators believe he could be a serial killer as notorious as the Oakland County Child Killer.

Police suspect that some women who went missing decades ago could be buried in the same Macomb Township site where Ream’s first known victim’s body was found.

About Arthur Nelson Ream
Known AsArthur Ream
Age71 Years
BirthMay 9, 1949
Height5 feet 9 inches
Weight230 lbs
SpouseJill Rutledge
ChildrenScott Ream
OffenseHomicide, First-degree-murder
VictimCindy Zarzycki
Possible VictimsKellie Brownlee, Kim Larrow, Kimberley King
SentenceLife Imprisonment without parole

Who Is Arthur Ream?

Convicted murderer, Arthur Ream, 69, has a criminal history spanning decades. But it wasn’t until 2008 that he was convicted for the murder of Cindy Zarzycki, who disappeared in 1986.

After his sentencing in 2008, he led investigators to Zarzycki’s remains in a wooded area in Macomb Township. Now, authorities are searching the same area for more of Ream’s possible victims.

Investigators reopened the cold case of Kimberly King, who disappeared in 1979. They have probable cause to suspect that the woods southeast of Detroit is a gravesite for King and others.

Authorities are now excavating the area for at least half a dozen women who went missing years ago. They believe Ream is a serial killer who murdered up to six more young girls and possibly buried their bodies there. Among the suspected victims are Kellie Brownlee and Kim Larrow.

Ream had a carpet installing business in Warren and was married to Jill Rutledge. They divorced in 1987 after seven years of marriage.

His former defense attorney, Tim Kohler, claimed that Ream was not a “likeable” guy. He had an excessive smoking habit, and Kohler thought Ream might have suffered from health issues during the trial.

Arthur Ream’s Criminal Background

Jail records show that Arthur Nelson Ream is from Harrison Township and was born on May 9, 1949. On his 69th birthday, police were revisiting his case, this time with a potentially longer victim count.

Arthur Ream Prison Sentences

Photo: Michigan Department of Corrections

He’s currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole at Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility, Michigan for the murder of Cindy Zarzycki.

An old police video shows him admitting to having a fetish for young girls and he had faced charges for it in the past.

Prior to his murder conviction, Ream was convicted of sexually assaulting a child in 1975, for which he spent five years in prison.

According to a witness who spoke to detectives investigating Zarzycki’s disappearance, Ream said that if he ever did “this” again, he’d “kill the next victim.”

Victims of Arthur Ream

Cindy Zarzycki (top left), Kimberly King (top right), Kim Larrow (bottom left), Kellie Brownlee (bottom right)

Cindy Zarcycki’s Murder

13-year-old Cindy Zarzycki was reportedly dating Ream’s son, Scott Ream for about two months before she disappeared from Eastpointe in 1986. It was later discovered that Arthur Ream kidnapped and murdered her.

22 years later, a jury found Ream guilty of first degree murder. After he was found guilty, he led police to the place where the young girl was buried.

Reports dated around the time of his conviction state that detectives interviewed two of Cindy Zarzycki’s friends. The women revealed that the teen was going to meet Arthur Ream on the Sunday of April 20, 1986.

He reportedly lured Cindy to a Dairy Queen, claiming he was having a surprise birthday party for his son there. But Scott Ream was born in January, not April. Ream picked her up, sexually assaulted her, and then murdered her.

Ream was in prison during the trial when he allegedly told a cellmate that he killed Cindy. He reportedly asked fellow inmates for advice on covering up blood. Prosecutors even got his cellmate to testify on the stand.

Scott Ream was killed by a drunk driver in 1994. Detectives took Arthur to his son’s grave in the hopes that he might reveal the location of Cindy’s body.

Arthur Ream Map

The map drawn by Arthur Ream to direct investigators to Cindy Zarzycki’s remains

After his conviction in 2008, Ream drew a map of a stretch of land in Macomb Township. The crude map wasn’t easy to follow. So, police took Ream to the location, and asked him to direct them to where Cindy Zarzycki was buried. After hours of digging, they found human remains with a purse and shoes belonging to Cindy.

He Maintains His Innocence

A jury found Ream guilty, and he was sentenced to life without parole. Despite the evidence against him, Ream maintains he is innocent. He claims that Cindy Zarzycki died in his presence, but he didn’t kill her.

He told detectives that she was with his son the day she died. By Ream’s account, Scott said Cindy fell to her death from an open elevator in his carpet warehouse.

But Ream’s wife said that Scott was in Texas at the time. An employee of Ream’s claimed that Arthur sent his son to Texas before Cindy disappeared.

Initially, Ream claimed he was at his carpet shop on the day Cindy Zarzycki disappeared. He said he then went shopping with his wife, and returned home. But Jill Rutledge told the jury that they never went shopping that day.