UPDATE 6/19/08 8:6PM
In the eleventh hour Arthur Ream offered the prosecutors a deal: He would lead them to Cindy Jo’s body in exchange for a guilty plea with a shortened sentence. Cindy’s family agreed but that deal never took place. Prosecutors surmised that maybe it was a ploy to buy time because if in fact had lead them to a body, the trial would have been delayed pending DNA testing. That never took place and today Arthur Ream who was being held on a rape conviction and is a convicted child molester, was found guilty of first-degree murder.
Cindy Jo’s family found the verdict bitter sweet because while justice was served, the family had to finally come to terms once and for all that she was murdered after years of hoping she would be found alive.
In April of 1986 Cynthia Jocelyn Zarzycki, (better known as Cindy Jo to her friends and family) was a 13-year-old sandy haired girl living in Eastpointe, Michigan. Sandy Jo loved playing softball and had even won a trophy for most valuable player on her team. Her parents were divorced and she lived with her father, brother and sister in Eastern Detroit and still saw her mother frequently.
Cindy Jo was dating a boy named Scott Ream at the time who later died in a car accident in the 1990’s, well after Cindy Jo’s disappearance. Scott was never a suspect in Cindy Jo’s disappearance, however his father Arthur Nelson Ream is finally facing murder charges in the murder of Cindy Zarzycki twenty-one years later.
According to authorities, Arthur Ream kept a missing person flyer regarding Cindy’s disappearance in a keepsake box. This intrigued investigators, coupled with the fact that Ream was serving a 15-year sentence for third-degree criminal sexual conduct in the assault of a 14-year-old girl. He also was convicted in 1975 of taking indecent liberties with a child. He was due to be paroled December 27th but will instead is expected to be arraigned January 9th on one count each of first- and second-degree murder in Macomb County in Eastpointe’s 38th District Court.
Although authorities suspected Ream in Cindy Jo’s disappearance, they had no evidence linking him until recently. A friend of Cindy Jo’s told detectives that Cindy had planned to meet Ream at the Diary Queen the morning of her disappearance. According to Cindy, Ream was going to take her to a surprise birthday party for his son Scott. Authorities learned that no such party had ever taken place.
A car like Ream’s was spotted at the same Dairy Queen around the time he was to allegedly meet Cindy Jo. Witnesses put her at the Dairy Queen shortly before her disappearance eating an ice cream cone.
Authorities concede that their case is largely circumstantial and Cindy’s body has never been recovered. “There’s no DNA in this case,” said Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith. “There’s no smoking gun.”
The family of Cindy Zarzycki may finally have some closure. “Sometimes you tend to feel lost and forgotten,” her father, Ed Zarzycki said. “It just gives you hope that no one forgot, that someone cares enough to bring it back.”