Police dig in a Michigan woodland for the bodies of seven girls aged 12 to 17 who vanished up to 30 years ago.
Police dig in a Michigan woodland for the bodies of seven girls aged 12 to 17 who vanished up to 30 years ago.

Mystery of the girls in the woods

THE bodies in the woods have been missing for so long that the police digging cannot expect to find anything but the seven girls' skeletons and the clothes they were wearing.

So far, the trees in the wood, the brush and overgrowth are cleared.

Now police are digging in mud down in a gully of Macomb Township, 40km north of the Michigan state capital Detroit.

Detectives are convinced they are in exactly the place in a strip of land the size of a football field within a 10 hectare search area to find the missing girls.

This is despite the fact convicted child rapist, murderer and suspected serial killer Arthur Nelson Ream, was "uncooperative" in the current search.

The missing girls police hope to find lie buried near the Clinton River in old farm and logging forest land turned golf course country of the one-time German immigrant town.

Police at the woods in Macomb, Michigan where they fear the bodies of seven missing girls are buried. Picture: Paul Sancya.
Police at the woods in Macomb, Michigan where they fear the bodies of seven missing girls are buried. Picture: Paul Sancya.

Police will only say they are searching for the remains of Kimberly King, a feisty 12-year-old who vanished while staying with her grandmother in 1979.

Kimberley was staying in Warren, where Ream owned a carpet shop, and was on parole at the time after serving four years prison for a sex attack on a 15-year-old girl.

He is now serving life for the 1986 rape and murder of 13-year-old Cindy Zarzycki, whose body he led police to at the same spot they are now searching.

But it is the other girls who went missing from Michigan in the 1970s and 1980s that along with Kimberly King are the target of the new search.

Ream, who police say boasted to fellow inmates about "murdering four to six" victims, was known to have a fetish for teenage girls.

Cindy Zarzycki was lured to her murder by her boyfriend’s father.
Cindy Zarzycki was lured to her murder by her boyfriend’s father.

When police questioned Ream about his boast, he refused to talk but took a lie-detector test which he failed.

But the missing girls police are said to be looking for were all aged between 12 and 17 years old, caucasian and vanished over a 12 year period.

Now aged 69, Ream would have been between the ages of 25 and 37 years old when he murdered all his alleged victims, culminating with his son's girlfriend, Cindy Zarzycki.

These are the stories of the girls whose families have been waiting to hear of for decades.

Nadine O’Dell disappeared in Detroit in 1974.
Nadine O’Dell disappeared in Detroit in 1974.

NADINE JEAN O'DELL

It was around 9.30am on August 16, 1974 and 15-year-old Nadine O'Dell was walking in the Detroit metro suburb of Inkster en route to the neighbouring suburb of Taylor.

She was wearing baggy blue jeans, a white T-shirt and her boyfriend's Taylor High School Class of 1976 ring on a neck chain.

Nadine was on her way to babysit at her boyfriend's house, and had arranged to meet him there.

Around 9.50am, he arrived at the house and waited for her, but Nadine never showed up.

No trace of the petite green-eyed fair-skinned Nadine has ever been found.

Kimberly King vanished while making a phone call to her sister from the same suburb where rapist and murderer Arthur Ream worked.
Kimberly King vanished while making a phone call to her sister from the same suburb where rapist and murderer Arthur Ream worked.

KIMBERLY ALICE KING

On the evening of September 15, 1979 Kimberley King was staying at a friend's house in Warren, a suburb in Macomb county 30km from Macomb township.

Kim was spending the night across the road from her grandparents' house in Warren, the same

suburb where an overweight, chain-smoking carpet layer named Arthur Ream had his shop.

At 11pm that night, Kim telephoned her older sister Konnie Beyma and said she had sneaked out of her friend's house and was calling from a nearby phone booth on the street.

Konnie told her to get back inside.

The 12-year-old never returned to the house and following a possible sighting of her by a witness on the same night at a phone booth miles away, she was classified as a potential runaway.

Aerial of area in Macomb township being searched for the remains of seven murdered teenage girls.
Aerial of area in Macomb township being searched for the remains of seven murdered teenage girls.

She was also considered a potential victim of the Oakland County Killer. The unidentified serial killer was also known as "The Babysitter" because he bathed and fed two girls and two boys before murdering them in 1976 and 1977.

But police are now certain that King was murdered by Arthur Ream and that her body lies in the woods at Macomb.

Ms Beyma said after the search of the woods began this week, "We all worried about the Oakland County Killer and there was someone else on our midst."

Kim Larrow was meant to meet her best friend at a park in 1981 but vanished.
Kim Larrow was meant to meet her best friend at a park in 1981 but vanished.

KIM MARIE LARROW

On June 8, 1981 Kim Larrow was in Canton, 10km west of Detroit's metro city limits.

She was 15 years old and had just moved from her father's home 50km south to her mother's place.

She had only been living with her mother for a week when she made plans to meet up with her best friend at a park but failed to turn up.

Kim was last seen at the ice cream parlour where her friend worked.

A rebellious teenager who used drugs, Kim's disappearance was not reported for several days and her mother refused to co-operate with police.

Her father died in 2005, and his relatives are still waiting for answers.

Kellie Brownlee vanished while wagging high school.
Kellie Brownlee vanished while wagging high school.

KELLIE MARIE BROWNLEE

The attractive 17-year-old with dark hair and a flashing smile was living in Walled Lake in Michigan's Oakland County outside Detroit with her boyfriend's family in May, 1982.

She had moved out of home after telling friends her stepfather had abused her and showed them bruises on her body.

She had a good relationship with her mother Loretta, who later said her second husband would be leaving the family home soon and Kellie could move back in.

On May 20, 1982, Kellie took the bus to high school but decided to skip classes and hitchhike to Twelve Oaks Mall in nearby Novi.

At the mall, she stopped in at several shops and applied for jobs, listing her mother's home as her address.

A friend's mother saw her at the mall and offered her a ride, but Kellie said she had more jobs to apply for.

When she failed to return to his family home, Kellie's boyfriend reported her missing that evening.

Speculation surrounded her stepfather, who stated he was innocent.

Cindy Zarzycki was murdered by her boyfriend’s father Arthur Ream who led police to her shallow grave at the current search site.
Cindy Zarzycki was murdered by her boyfriend’s father Arthur Ream who led police to her shallow grave at the current search site.

CINDY ZARZYCKI

It is the discovery of Cindy Zarzyki's remains in the Macomb Township woods in 2008 that has brought police back there today.

Cindy was 13 years old and considered a responsible young teenager when she left her parents' East Detroit home in April, 1986 and never returned.

Cindy had been dating schoolboy Scott Ream and told her parents she got on well with Scott's father, Arthur.

On the Sunday morning she left home she was going to meet Arthur at the local Dairy Queen shop for what he told her was a secret birthday surprise for Scott.

There was no birthday party and once Ream had got Zarzycki into his carpet shop van, he raped her.

Friends say she probably would have fought back, resulting in her attacker murdering her.

Arthur Ream was not charged with Cindy's murder until years later, and was only convicted in 2008.

He was facing a sentencing hearing when he agreed to lead police to her body in the wooded area 50m below street level he once frequented.

Police and an excavator at the wooded area in Macomb Township, where they are digging for even girls’ bodies. Picture: Paul Sancya.
Police and an excavator at the wooded area in Macomb Township, where they are digging for even girls’ bodies. Picture: Paul Sancya.

They found Cindy's remains buried near a creek and Ream was sentenced to life in prison.

Police with shovels and excavators are continuing to dig the very muddy ground in Macomb Township in the hope of finding up to seven bodies of missing girls, all victims of Arthur Ream.

"We have probable cause to believe that (Kimberly) is buried there," Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer told WABI news.

"We also believe that there's maybe four to six other girls that have been reported missing that are buried there. We certainly are convinced we have the right area. It's just a sad type of situation."

"I want to bring my sister home and lay her to rest," Brenda Lee Handloser, sister of Nadine O'Dell told reporters.

"I don't care if it's a bone, a piece of hair, a nail. I don't care. I just want my sister."

Detectives confirmed they are digging for Kimberly King (above), last seen alive in 1979, among six other missing girls.
Detectives confirmed they are digging for Kimberly King (above), last seen alive in 1979, among six other missing girls.
An aerial view of the woods police are searching for girls aged between 12 and 17 who went missing in the 1970s and 1980s. Picture: Fox 2.
An aerial view of the woods police are searching for girls aged between 12 and 17 who went missing in the 1970s and 1980s. Picture: Fox 2.
The serial killer’s burial ground is 50km north of Detroit’s CBD is old farmland turned golf course country. Picture: Google.
The serial killer’s burial ground is 50km north of Detroit’s CBD is old farmland turned golf course country. Picture: Google.
Convicted rapist and murderer Arthur Ream is believed to have slain up to eight teenage girls. Picture: Michigan Department of Corrections.
Convicted rapist and murderer Arthur Ream is believed to have slain up to eight teenage girls. Picture: Michigan Department of Corrections.
A dwelling on the edge of the search area which is over about nine hectares of woodland north of Detroit.
A dwelling on the edge of the search area which is over about nine hectares of woodland north of Detroit.

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