Former Eastpointe deputy chief takes Defenders inside mind of convicted killer Arthur Ream
John Calabrese was Eastpointe deputy chief when Arthur Ream was arrested
PETOSKY, Mich. – The search for human remains in Macomb Township was suspended by police Tuesday, but the investigation into more possible victims of Arthur Ream is ongoing.
Ream, who killed 13-year-old Cindy Zarzycki in 1986 and led investigators to her body in 2008, has been linked to the missing cases of up to seven other girls, according to officials.
Local 4 Defender Karen Drew took her investigation up north to Petoskey, Michigan, as she tracked down a former Eastpointe deputy chief who knows Ream.
John Calabrese was the Eastpointe deputy chief when Ream was arrested for Cindy's death. He oversaw hours and hours of interviews and interrogation of the convicted killer, so his perspective is unique and very detailed.
Calabrese decided to retire from police work in 2009 and now lives in Petoskey, where the pace is slower. But he said Ream's case still haunts him.
"I spent a lot of my time -- I worked for the Eastpointe Police Department for almost 25 years -- and during almost that entire period, this case was active," Calabrese said.
"When you first heard what was going on last week, and the more digging and all these cold cases, what ran through your mind?" Karen asked.
"I was glad to hear that some local police agencies had picked up this investigation," Calabrese said. "I've always thought that Mr. Ream was responsible for additional kidnappings and murders and felt that that area could be a place where other bodies were buried."
"Did he ever say, 'I don't want to go there,' or, 'I can't tell you everything?'" Karen asked.
"In fact, he said exactly that," Calabrese said. "He got to a point where he called it Pandora's box, and he didn't want to open Pandora's box because what was inside was really bad. He didn't want us to know about it."
Calabrese described Ream as a manipulator and someone who likes to talk and be in control, whether it's behind bars or with his victims.
"That day of searching, what was his demeanor?" Karen asked.
"Very matter of fact," Calabrese said. "Typical Art Ream. Didn't seem affected by anything, enjoying the attention, enjoying being out of the correctional facility, being able to have a few cigarettes, being able to talk to everybody."
"For him, it was a field trip?" Karen asked.
"Right," Calabrese said. "It was a way to get out of jail free for a day, and he got to walk around in the sunshine."
While Ream is convicted of Cindy's murder, there has been talk that he could be connected to missing girls from the same time period in Warren, Canton, Novi and other places.
"We looked at a lot of cases of missing people, especially young girls of the ages that he like to prey upon, and there were some still-open cases of missing females of that age in the area, and we felt pretty strongly he could be responsible for that," Calabrese said.
He said Eastpointe police shared their findings with Warren police in 2008 because they thought Ream could be responsible for the disappearance of Kim King, a young girl from Warren.
"Money was tight and resources were tight," Calabrese said. "I can understand why they weren't able to get as involved as I would have liked. It was just difficult for them to open up a case from 25, 30 years ago when they were having trouble keeping up with the cases and crimes that were occurring in their jurisdiction."
No bodies were discovered during last week's dig in Macomb Township, but Calabrese believes bodies could still be there. He said more locations need to be searched.
"What do you think he's thinking now?" Karen asked. "He's back in the spotlight."
"I think he's probably enjoying that to a certain extent," Calabrese said. "He likes to have the attention. I think we all wish he would do the right thing. He could bring closure to a lot of families that really deserve it, but I'm not sure he cares about that."
Officials are considering searching at least three other properties: two in Macomb County and one in upper lower Michigan.
Authorities said they believe there are more sexual assault victims, and they want them to come forward with that information to possibly help solve numerous cold cases.
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