(Reuters) - Michigan police looking for the body of a 12-year-old girl who disappeared decades ago and the remains of up to five other teenage girls, some missing since the 1970s, said on Wednesday they have found evidence on a former farm outside Detroit linking the site to the case.
The dig on the farm, where a decade ago police found the body of another teen who was murdered by Arthur Ream, entered its third day on Wednesday and police indicated they expect to find remains at the site.
Ream, 69, is serving a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole in the murder of the 13-year-old. Ream’s son knew the girl, whose body was found a decade ago, buried under 18 inches of soil on the same farm.
Investigators returned to the farm after they reopened the cold case of the 1979 disappearance of Kimberly King, 12, from nearby Warren.
“We do have probable cause to believe that this is a grave site. No question about it, that Kimberly King and other young female victims who were murdered are buried here,” Warren Police Department Commissioner William Dwyer told a news conference.
Investigators have been encouraged by what they have learned since serving a search warrant on the farm on Monday, he said.
“I am not commenting on what we found, but what we have found makes us very cautiously optimistic that we’re on the right track,” Dwyer said, adding that it could be hours or another day or two before any bodies are discovered.
Asked if the police were dealing with a serial killer, he said, “We would suspect that, yes.”
Kimberly King’s older sister, Konnie Beyma, said she is hoping for closure. “It brings a great deal of hope to bring her remains home,” she said.
None of the six victims knew one another or Ream, Dwyer said.
Officials have said that Ream could be charged in other deaths if more bodies are discovered.
Nearly three dozen law officers and FBI agents are searching the site, Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said. Their search is concentrated in wooded areas off an open field, where officers were directed after investigators received tips from fellow inmates of Ream, who turned 69 on Wednesday, Dwyer said.
Ream has not been cooperative in the current search, Fouts and Dwyer said.
Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Editing by Leslie Adler and Dan Grebler