Cindy Zarzycki: The Teenager Whose Life Was Snuffed Out by Arthur Ream

Cindy Zarzycki met a tragic end at the hands of her boyfriend’s father, Arthur Ream, who lured her to a Dairy Queen under false pretences in 1986. He was convicted of her murder in 2008 after zealous investigators pursued the cold case decades after she’d gone missing.

It now looks like the 13-year-old’s murder might have only been the tip of the iceberg, as authorities search for the bodies of Ream’s other possible victims.

About Cindy Zarzycki
ParentsEd Zarzycki, Linda Zarzycki
DATE OF BIRTHJune 8, 1972
DEAD BODY FOUNDMacomb Township, michigan

Cindy Zarzycki was a normal teenager living in Warren, a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, with her family, and looking forward to spending time with her boyfriend, Scott Ream.

On a Sunday in April 1986, Cindy Zarzycki told her father that she was going to a nearby Diary Queen to meet her friends, and later walk to church. In reality, Cindy was going to what she believed was Scott’s surprise birthday party.

Little did she know that Scott Ream would not be there, and his birthday was actually in January. Instead, she was met by his father, Arthur Ream.

Cindy once told her mother that she could trust Scott’s father, and it would be safe for her to be in his car.

A Predator of Teenage Girls

Arthur Ream hid the fact that he was a predator who had a fetish for teenage girls. It is believed that Ream picked Cindy up in his van, raped her, then murdered her. Cindy Zarzycki seemingly vanished from the face of the earth, and decades later, it was discovered that Ream buried her in the woods.

The Zarzycki’s last memory of Cindy was that of her leaving her East Detroit (now Eastpointe) home to supposedly meet her friends. She never returned home.

Cold Case Gets a Second Look

In 1996, after the Zarzyckis still had no knowledge of Cindy’s whereabouts, Detective Derek McLaughlin of Eastpointe, Michigan was handed a cold case file by his supervisor. It was the case of missing teen Cindy Zarzycki, and McLaughlin was told to solve it. He became obsessed with the case, and resolved to bring closure to the Zarzycki family.

When charges were brought against him, Arthur Ream was serving a sentence for the unrelated crime of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. Even though other detectives were suspicious of Ream, they continued to treat Cindy’s case as that of a runaway, because a body was never found.

When investigators interrogated Ream, they found that his behavior was telling. McLaughlin said, “He didn’t ask us why we were there. He just said, ‘I knew this day would come.’” By that time, his son Scott Ream was killed by a drunk driver. He died in 1994. The Zarzyckis, McLaughlin, and other investigators wanted to find Cindy’s body to bring her family closure.

A Breakthrough for Investigators

Ream initially made an offer to tell investigators where Cindy’s body was, but thinking that the jury may actually not find him guilty, later changed his mind. By then, the Zarzyckis accepted they may never find Cindy’s body. However, on July 8, 2008, Ream decided to tell authorities where Cindy’s body was buried. He drew a map of land in Macomb Township, Michigan that was owned by some friends.

Arthur Ream Map

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

Finding Cindy’s Remains

The map proved to be confusing, so Ream, with his hands and feet shackled, was taken directly to the place he indicated on the map. He crossed the Clinton River on an old shaky bridge, and pointed a spot near the riverbank where he buried Cindy’s body.

After seven hours of digging, and help from the owner of the adjoining land, the expedition was met with success. McLaughlin saw a purse, a human leg bone, and some shoes that belonged to Cindy Zarzycki. Her body was finally found in 2008, 22 years after she was last seen.

Later, McLaughlin brought Linda and Ed Zarzycki to the spot their daughter was found, and showed them where she was buried for all those years. For the Zarzyckis, the waiting was over.

Arthur Ream was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for the murder of Cindy Zarzycki, and the girl’s family finally found closure. When Ream was convicted of Cindy Zarzycki’s murder, he was already serving a 15-year sentence for molesting a 14-year-old girl.

Worse Was to Follow

But the story did not end there. Arthur Ream is now suspected of killing up to six other teenage girls, and burying their bodies in the same area of Macomb Township where Cindy Zarzycki’s body was found.

Arthur Ream

Arthur Ream (Photo: Michigan Department of Corrections)

Police are combing the area with the focus of finding Kimberly Alice King, a 12-year-old girl who was last seen on September 15, 1979, in Warren, Michigan. Police suspect that Ream could be behind her mysterious disappearance in the area where her grandparents lived.

Ream May Have Killed More

Warren Police Department suspect that they might find the bodies of up to six girls aged 12 to 17 in the wooden, swampy area.

They are working on fresh information gleaned from Ream himself, as well as some others, and believe that the missing girls could be buried in the same area. Kim Larrow and Kellie Marie Brownlee, who have been missing since 1981 and 1982 respectively, are also suspected of being Arthur Ream’s victims and could also be buried in the area.

Hope for Closure

As authorities search the area for more of Arthur Ream’s possible victims, the families of the missing girls are hoping that they will finally know what happened to their daughters.

Knowing that would bring a small measure of peace to the family members who have waited years in vain for any news —good or bad— of the girls.