Michigan cold case dig: Arthur Ream bragged to inmates about killing 4-6 girls, failed polygraph

Authorities believe 4-6 bodies could be buried in area

MACOMB TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Wednesday marks day three of digging for clues in Macomb Township. 

Investigators brought in more equipment Tuesday to the wooded area along the North Branch Clinton River near 23 Mile Road and North Avenue.

It's the same field where 13-year-old Cindy Zarzycki's remains were found after her killer led investigators to the spot in 2008. Arthur Ream killed Zarzycki when she was just 13 years old in 1986.

Police provided an update on the ongoing search on Wednesday at 1:15 p.m. - You can rewatch it below.

Officials confirmed they have found no remains during this week's dig, but hope to recover remains as the dig continues. Police said there is "probable cause" to believe the site is a graveyard. 

Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer said there is "no question" that the area is the grave site for Kimberly King, who disappeared in 1979.

Police also confirmed that Arthur Ream is the main suspect. Dwyer said Ream bragged to other inmates about killing 4-6 other girls and then ended up failing a polygraph test when questioned by detectives.

Dwyer also said officials have recovered something that makes them "cautiously optimistic" that they will eventually recover remains. He wouldn't specify what that find was.

LIVE: Authorities holding news conference to provide updates in the search for bodies in Macomb Township. Full coverage by Local 4's Sandra Ali and Koco McAboy. http://bit.ly/2G0Fvfr

Posted by WDIV Local 4 / ClickOnDetroit on Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Cindy Zarzycki
Arthur Nelson Ream in 2017 (Michigan Department of Corrections)

Now authorities are working in that same area in connection to three other cold cases that may be connected to Ream.

These are the cold cases that may be connected to Ream:

  • The case of 12-year-old Kimberly King, from Warren, who disappeared in 1979
  • The disappearance of Kellie Brownlee, from Novi, when she was 17 in 1982
  • The case of Kim Larrow, who disappeared from Canton Township in 1981, when she was 15
  • The case of Nadine O'Dell, from Inkster, when she was 16 in 1974
  • The disappearance of Cynthia Coon, from Washtenaw County, when she was 13 in 1970

Police sources told Local 4 they are positive Ream is responsible for other crimes, but they aren't certain he's responsible for the disappearances of these girls. 

On Monday, after gaining a search warrant, a team from the Warren Police Department, the Macomb County Sheriff's Office and the FBI returned to the site with the equipment necessary to do a major dig. They were back at it Tuesday and Wednesday marks day three. 

Officials have not announced any findings. 

Kimberly King, Kellie Brownlee and Kim Larrow
Cynthia Coon when she was last seen (left) and an age progression photo to 59 years old (right).

The case of Nadine O'Dell

Brenda Lee Handloser was only 9 when her older sister Nadine disappeared.  

More than 40 years later, she remains committed to seeing her sister's case solved. 

"I know there is somebody out there that knows, you hear it all the time you know, somebody has seen something and  I know somebody had to see something it was during the day," Handloser said.

According to NamUs, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, Nadine Jean O'Dell was last seen on Aug. 16, 1974. The time was shortly before 9:30 a.m. and she was walking down John Daly Road toward Michigan Avenue in Inkster.   

O'Dell was 16 years old at the time and was heading to Taylor to babysit at her boyfriend's younger siblings. Handloser said Nadine's boyfriend would meet her at the halfway point.

"She didn't make it to that point," Handloser said. "He came to the house and he was like 'Where's Nadine?' She wasn't there and that is how it all started." 

Handloser said Nadine was the second oldest child in her family.

"I just remember her as a very quiet person. She played with us and she babysat a lot," Handloser said.

If she is still alive, O'Dell would be about 59 years old.  

Read more here.

About the Authors:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.