The more that Arthur Ream’s past is dug into, the more speculation is cast towards his potential victims, with numbers that seem to range between four and six. We will take a look at the facts about Ream’s confirmed victim, Cindy Zarzycki, as well as several missing women police think they may discover in the same wooded area of Michigan where Zarzycki was found.
Cindy Zarzycki’s Murder
Cindy Zarzycki went missing in Eastpointe, Michigan on April 20, 1986. At the time, she was 13 years old. Like many teenage girls, she created her own mixtapes of the music that she liked, she had her own sense of style, and often customized her own clothes. Police first treated the case as a runaway. But eventually, they began to believe that something much more sinister was at work.
Cindy Zarzycki knew Scott Ream, Arthur Ream’s son, as the two were said to be dating. It was later revealed that Arthur Ream met with Zarzycki at a local Dairy Queen on the day she went missing, as he reportedly offered to take her to Scott’s surprise birthday party.
Zarzycki is the one confirmed victim of Arthur Ream. He was convicted of her murder in 2008, decades after she was reported missing. After being convicted of her murder, Ream later led investigators to her body, to give the Zarzycki family closure.
Her body was not wrapped or contained in anything. It had just been buried in an outdoor wooded area. Even though the elements and years had compromised the body, it was Zarzycki’s individuality that helped make a positive identification.
Found with the body were articles of clothing that were unique and easily identifiable by the Zarzycki family. Her purse was also found, with mixtapes that were very much to Zarzycki’s musical tastes.
From the start, Ream denied murdering the young girl. Even after his conviction and leading police to her body, Ream told a tale of picking up Zarzycki to meet with his son. He claimed to have left the girl alone with Scott, and was later called back when Zarzycki fell to her death in an elevator shaft when she and Scott were at Ream’s carpet warehouse in Warren. Ream said he buried Zarzycki to cover up the accident.
Macomb County medical examiner Dr. Daniel Spitz contested this idea. There wasn’t enough damage to Zarzycki’s bones for a fall like that to have occurred. Investigators believe that Zarzycki was raped and strangled to death.
Ream’s ex-wife also testified that her son was in Texas at the time of Zarzycki’s disappearance. Scott Ream could neither confirm nor deny this, as he died in 1994.
Other Bodies in the Area
Police have yet to say why, but they currently believe that the area of Macomb Township, Michigan, where Zarzycki was found may hold the bodies of more girls. In between Zarzycki’s disappearance and Ream’s conviction for her murder, he was also convicted of raping a 15-year-old girl. As Zarzycki’s trial occurred, more of Ream’s victims came forward.
If he was capable of rape and murdering one girl, was he capable of murdering more?
Currently, police believe that the bodies of four to six girls lie under the ground of the property, but have only made four of the possible names known to the public: Kimberly King, Kim Larrow, Kellie Brownlee, and Nadine O’Dell.
Nadine Jean O’Dell is the latest name to be added to the list of possible victims, whose body police are currently searching for. Much like the other girls, O’Dell was in her teens when she went missing on August 16, 1974. The then-16-year-old vanished from Inkster, Michigan while walking to a babysitting job.
O’Dell was supposed to meet her boyfriend halfway. She never made it to that point. Her family kept the search for her alive, with aged progressed photos and updates over the years, but there was never any solid leads.
As Brenda Lee Handloser, O’Dell’s sister, said, “I know she is dead, oh I know she is dead. Nadine wouldn’t stay away. She would not have stayed away. She would have came home to my mom.”
Warren, Michigan, September 15, 1979, Kimberly Alice King was 12 years old, and went from her grandparents’ home to her friend Annie’s house for a sleepover. At some point in the evening, King snuck out a window and headed down the street.
At approximately 11:00 p.m., she called her sister from a payphone. It was the last time that anyone heared from Kimberly King. That night, it appeared as though she just vanished.
Initially, police treated King’s case as a runaway. Her sister, Kathie, ran away numerous times, always to return home. They believed that this was simply a case of a younger sibling acting like her older sister. But as time went on, it became clear that this was not the case. The payphone was eventually located, but the person who saw King use it couldn’t recall anything unusual about the situation. She just seemingly disappeared into the night.
Kimberly King was the first name to be connected with the police excavation at the site during the recent search.
Kim Larrow was just 15 years old when she vanished from Canton Township in June 1981. Like the other cases, at first, it was suspected that Larrow was a runaway. She had a rebellious streak to her, and ran away from home numerous times. One such occasion had her hitchhike with a friend to Florida.
On the day she disappeared, Larrow was supposed to meet up with a friend at Haggerty Field in Hines Park. The field was a local hangout for teens. Larrow never met up with her friend, and hasn’t been seen since.
Due to her history of being a runaway, and her mother’s lack of cooperation with police, the case went cold fairly quickly. But in 2008, Larrow’s half-sister, Andrea Stadwick, and cousin, Robert Cooper, began to look back into the case. Cooper eventually got law enforcement to take another look.
Kellie Brownlee’s home life was troubled. Her sister accused their stepfather, Paul Brownlee, of sexually abusing her when she was 13 years old. Brownlee herself later told friend and family that her stepfather physically abused her, as well.
When the road got tough, Brownlee often left the house for days at a time, without letting her mother know where she was going. However, she still checked in so her mother wouldn’t worry. She often stayed with her boyfriend, Mark Graves, and his family. At the time of her disappearance, she was living in their home.
On May 20, 1982, Brownlee skipped class and headed to Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, Michigan. Her goal was to apply for a number of jobs. While there, she ran into her friend’s mother, who offered her a lift home. But Brownlee wanted to keep at the job hunt. The friend’s mother was the last person to see Brownlee alive.
A number of possible suspects appeared in the case. Paul Brownlee was considered a suspect for a period of time. Mike DeBardeleben, a counterfeiter and suspected murderer, was also considered a possible suspect, as some of his counterfeit money appeared in the area. Both were eventually cleared of being suspects.
Are These Missing Women Connected?
As police search a secluded area of Michigan, there are a number of questions being asked. Are these missing girls connected? There are definitely similarities in the cases. All went missing outside of Detroit. King, Larrow, and Brownlee all came from troubled backgrounds.
But what prompted investigators to look back at the area where Arthur Ream led authorities to Cindy Zarzycki’s body? Could Ream be a serial killer? Or does he know one?
As the investigation continues, hopefully the families of these girls will get some closure.