US ‘openly supports’ terrorists in Syria: Turkish FM

The United States “openly supports” the militants of PYD and YPG, which are the wings of the terrorist organization PKK in Syria, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, the Turkish media reported May 31.

The FM noted that instead of fighting terrorists in Syria together with Turkey, the United States preferred cooperation with them.

“A state claiming that it is fighting with terrorists, can’t support them,” said Cavusoglu.

The FM also noted that Turkey is the only country that is fighting terrorists in Syria.

Earlier, Turkey’s president also accused the US of providing military support to the PYD and YPG terrorists in Syria

On January 20, the Turkish armed forces launched the Operation Olive Branch together with the Free Syrian Army in the Syrian region of Afrin.

On August 24, 2016, units of the Turkish Armed Forces began the Operation Euphrates Shield against militants of the “Islamic State” and with the support of the Syrian opposition liberated the border town of Jarablus in Northern Syria, as well as the city of al-Bab.

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© 2018 Trend News Agency (Baku, Azerbaijan)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Calling all hunters: Everglades National Park wants you to kill its Burmese pythons

Faced with an unrelenting spread of invasive Burmese pythons that have mostly wiped out marsh rabbits, bobcats and other small mammals, Everglades National Park is doing something for the first time in its 70-year history: opening park borders to paid hunters.

On Thursday, Superintendent Pedro Ramos announced plans to team up with state wildlife officers who last year began hiring hunters to kill the voracious snakes.

“We’ve been chasing this problem trying to find a solution and frankly we ran up against a wall over and over again,” he told the Miami Herald. “That history requires us to be open-minded and flexible.”

Adding the park to territory already being patrolled by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and South Florida Water Management District hunters will open up the epicenter of the python invasion to hunters’ cross-hairs more than two decades after they first appeared.

But the move is not without controversy.

In 2015 when Ramos agreed to allow volunteer hunters into the park for the state’s popular Python Challenge, backlash from an environmental group prompted him to scale back participation to all but a few permitted trappers.

The National Park Service bans sport hunting in parks, but not managed removal of unwanted wildlife. Rock Creek Park, north of downtown Washington, has been holding a contentious hunt to cull deer since 2013 to save the park’s native plants. About 75 areas managed by the National Park Service covering more than 50 million acres allow hunting, which sometimes causes confusion over rules in parks.

The park has also allowed the Swamp Apes, a volunteer group of military vets, to trap snakes for about a decade.

But competition with paid programs for hunters appears to be driving down participation: In the last year just 70 or so snakes were caught inside the park compared to about 200 snakes during each of the previous two years, said chief biologist Tylan Dean.

After years of failed efforts — including snake-sniffing dogs and tagged Judas snakes — Ramos said it’s time for more aggressive tactics.

“This to us is clearly not hunting in a national park. This is a serious effort to bring people who want to help us with this problem get these things out of the park,” he said. “It is a program aimed at removing an exotic species that is having some very deep negative impacts on this landscape.”

It’s also an attempt to learn more about their habits, he said, and slow a spread that in 2016 reached the northern Florida Keys for the first time. The snakes are so difficult to detect, and marshes so impenetrable, that even determining their numbers remains difficult, said Kristin Sommers, the state’s exotic species coordinator.

“The low range would be tens of hundreds and the high range would be hundreds of thousands,” she said.

South Florida may never be free of the snakes, but managed hunts in recent years have shown promise. Last year, the wildlife commission and the University of Florida brought snake hunters from India for a month-long pilot project that bagged 14 pythons in two weeks, including a 16-foot female carrying dozens of eggs. The water management district’s paid hunt topped 1,000 last week.

Authorized hunters will be vetted by the Fish and Wildlife Commission and need to meet a handful of qualifications including proof that they’ve legally bagged at least three pythons. Hunters will also earn the same rate paid to district hunters: minimum wage plus $50 for every four-foot snake and $25 for each additional foot.

They will be given access to almost every corner of the park at all hours, but will not be allowed near visitors including the Coe Visitor Center and Anhinga Trail, while the park is open.

The park hopes to get hunters started as early as July and eventually have up to 120, which would triple the number of volunteers now trapping snakes.

“Using current technology to eliminate pythons is impossible, so we’ll try to eliminate as many as we can,” Ramos said. “Maybe some day we’ll find a way to really get the upper hand.”

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© 2018 Miami Herald

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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UK contractor to pay $20 million to settle lawsuit claiming it overcharged US Navy

U.K. contractor Inchcape Shipping Services Holdings Limited has agreed to pay $20 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the company intentionally over-billed the U.S. Navy under contracts for ship husbanding services.

The marine services contractor violated the False Claims Act, the U.S. Department of Justice announced this week.

Inchcape provided ships with food and other survival items, waste removal, telephone services, ship-to-shore transportation, force protection services and local transportation to U.S. Navy ships.

The Navy ships were located at ports in southwest Asia, Africa, Panama, North America, South America and Mexico.

The lawsuit alleged that from 2005 to 2014, Inchcape submitted intentionally inflated invoices for goods and services, and in some instances even double billed.

“Federal contractors may only charge the government for costs allowed by their federal contracts. The Department of Justice will take action against contractors that knowingly submit inflated claims to the armed forces — or any other agency of the United States — as those inflated claims wrongfully divert taxpayer dollars,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler said.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie Liu said: “We trust contractors supporting our warfighters to act with the utmost integrity and expect them to comply with their obligations to bill the government as called for by their contracts. This settlement reflects our Office’s strong commitment to holding accountable those who violate these fundamental principles, no matter where they may be located.”

“This settlement demonstrates that the Department of the Navy will continue to hold contractors accountable for the agreements they make to supply our fleet. The Department expects strict adherence to higher standards within the Department and expects the same from its contractors,” Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer said.

Jeremy Gauthier, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s (NCIS) D.C. field office, said: “Fraud is an abuse of the system that siphons resources away from the American warfighter. NCIS will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold responsible those who would put personal gain above corporate integrity.”

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Watch the US Navy fire a Tomahawk land attack missile

The U.S. military recently released video footage of the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58) firing a Tomahawk land attack missile on April 14.

The USS Laboon is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations, to reassure allies and partners and preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the region.

Watch the video footage:

Tomahawk missiles are “modern, mature, powerful” and can “can circle for hours, shift course instantly on command and beam a picture of its target to controllers halfway around the world before striking with pinpoint accuracy,” according to manufacturer Raytheon.

U.S. and allied militaries have deployed the missiles more than 2,000 times in combat “to conduct precise strikes on high-value targets with minimal collateral damage.”

Their use was confirmed in the April 14 strike by the Defense Department.

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USS Blue Ridge ignites its boilers for first time in 2 years

The USS Blue Ridge lit its boilers for the first time in two years this week, signifying a big step toward bringing the Navy’s oldest deployable warship back to sailing condition.

As steam plumed from the 7th Fleet’s flagship late Tuesday evening, sailors who had watched the Blue Ridge undergo various repairs, refurbishments and system upgrades since June 2016 felt a great sense of accomplishment.

“I saw this engine room before dry dock when she was still steaming. Then during the time that it was shut down and ripped apart, it seemed like everything was working against us,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Raymond Davis III, a machinist’s mate attached to the Blue Ridge. “To finally light off the boilers is one of the best feelings I have had in the United States Navy.”

Commissioned on Nov. 14, 1970, the Blue Ridge has spent 38 years forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan. It is scheduled to stay in service for at least another two decades.

With the boilers ignited, the warship can operate under its own power — meaning it is “one step closer to returning to sea and being fully operational in support of the 7th Fleet,” the Navy said.

The warship’s maintenance period was expected to last 14 months before unexpected issues arose with its engineering plant. In the end, repairs took about 135,000 man hours and cost more than $60 million.

Upgrades included modernizing the engineering plant and refurbishing the main condenser and ventilation systems, the service said. It was also outfitted with the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services computer system, which “consolidate[s] and modernize[s] communications, computers and intelligence network systems,” according to Northrop Grumman.

The amount of time the ship spent undergoing maintenance offered various challenges. There was a large turnover of crewmembers, and about 80 percent of the Blue Ridge’s engineers came “straight from boot camp or other non-engineering assignments” because the ship had entered restricted availability status, the Navy said.

“They had to go from learning the difference between the bow and the stern, to learning how to conduct a material check on an advanced piece of equipment,” said Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Hartley, the ship’s chief engineering officer.

Before the boilers could be ignited, the warship’s crew underwent a weeklong light-off assessment. The ship’s programs, standard operating procedures, equipment and emergency response protocols were evaluated “to ensure maximum compliance” before the first flame in two years could be sent into boiler, the Navy said.

“The magnitude of the boilers to the Blue Ridge cannot be underestimated. They produce steam for the ship’s propulsion, electrical power, auxiliary systems and potable water,” the Navy said. “Managing the complex engineering system is no easy feat, but the Blue Ridge demonstrated it was up to the task.”

Capt. Brett Crozier, the Blue Ridge’s commanding officer, said lighting the boilers was a rewarding milestone after the nearly 24-month maintenance period.

“Lighting these boilers is a reflection of all the hard work that has been put in by the crew, the ship-repair facility here in Yokosuka, the contractors and the Japanese shipbuilding company assigned to complete the majority of projects,” he said.

Crozier compared the warship’s extended maintenance period to a baseball team’s preparation for a season – and the boiler ignition as the start of the first game.

“Lighting off the boilers for the first time in nearly two years is the equivalent of the first pitch being thrown,” he said. “… This means it’s now game time — time to play ball preparing to return to sea.”

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© 2018 the Stars and Stripes

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Midnight curfew in effect for some soldiers in South Korea

A midnight curfew is now in effect for the sole U.S. Army infantry division in South Korea.

A 2nd Infantry Division policy memo published Tuesday says soldiers are required to be on base, at a residence or inside a hotel room by the new deadline, instead of the U.S. Forces Korea standard of 1 a.m. followed until Monday.

The curfew, which officials called a “readiness recall,” still ends at 5 a.m.

2ID did not identify any specific incident that sparked the change to the policy, but said readiness of the unit’s 12,000 troops was its main concern. South Korean police outside of Camp Casey and Camp Humphreys said Wednesday they had not noticed a significant increase of incidents involving U.S. personnel.

“The recall readiness time was moved one hour earlier in order to ensure that the division is consistently and completely in compliance with the U.S. Forces Korea readiness recall policy,” 2ID spokeswoman Lt. Col. Junel Jeffrey told Stars and Stripes Wednesday.

The policy requires 90 percent of 2ID’s available troops to be able to muster within four hours.

The memo also put Memorial Day weekend plans for some soldiers in jeopardy by nixing nonemergency leave and off-peninsula passes for rotational units such as the1st Armored Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Stewart, Ga. That change aligns it with U.S. Army Pacific policy on leave for operational deployments across the Pacific.

“Given [Tuesday’s] effective date of the policy, fewer than 15 rotational training unit soldiers may be affected and the command is working with those soldiers on a case-by-case basis,” Jeffrey said.

The memo also announced that units will be required to report 100 percent accountability to the 2ID command staff on nonduty days by 12:30 a.m.

Jeffrey said subordinate units can use their own discretion on how to report their numbers, and the new policy does not mean troops need to be in their bunks by that time. She also said there is no division rule requiring soldiers to be in teams or in pairs known as “battle buddies” when off post.

Curfews have been an unpopular mainstay for U.S. servicemembers in South Korea over the years, but it found permanency in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks.

Jeffrey said the new 2ID policy will be in effect indefinitely until a newer policy regarding the issue is released. Eighth Army officials said there was no change to its curfew policy.

A short reprieve of the curfew policy came in 2010 when then-USFK commander Gen. Walter Sharp rescinded the curfew. “I believe that we can trust our servicemembers to do the right thing,” he said at the time.

However, it was reinstated a year later after two high-profile rape cases involving U.S. soldiers sparked outrage among South Koreans.

In 2016, so-called “Cinderella” passes that allowed servicemembers out past curfew were heavily restricted shortly after a video of a New Year’s Day brawl in Seoul’s popular Itaewon district went viral.

About 28,500 servicemembers are stationed in South Korea, where the two Koreas have been technically at war after the Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice instead of a peace treaty.

Stars and Stripes reporter Yoo Kyong Chang contributed to this report.

Memo detailing soldier curfew in South Korea (PDF)

Memo detailing soldier curfew in South Korea (Text)

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© 2018 the Stars and Stripes

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Op-Ed: Don’t do this at the gun store

We have all been in a gun store when some know-it-all customer comes in and arrogantly lectures the staff about certain guns and accessories. Or worse yet, butts into a conversation between another customer who is looking for the perfect gun for him or her. Working at a gun store requires a lot of patience, especially when people walk through the door with specific questions and then want to debate the answer.

I have personally witnessed a customer whip out a loaded gun to discuss a potential trade deal or ask for a holster to fit the pistol. People like this get easily offended when corrected about proper gun safety procedures. Safe gun handling is imperative for all gun owners, yet many violate simple safety rules that could put other people in danger.

While visiting Top Gun Shooting Sports in Taylor, Michigan, I decided to speak with Matt, the main firearms trainer, and the owner, Mike, about of some customer behaviors that have frustrated them. Top Gun is a well-known gun store and shooting range in the southeast Michigan area. The vast majority of the people who visit the store and range are well-educated and practice proper gun handling techniques. On occasion, there are customers who create rookie and dangerous situations for everyone in the area.

In the video below, Matt and Mike explain the type of customer who is difficult to service along with a couple stories they have experienced with people who practice unsafe firearm handling. Check it out and let us know your experiences in your local gun store.

All opinion articles are the opinion of the author and not necessarily of American Military News. If you are interested in submitting an Op-Ed, please email [email protected] 

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Navy vet Dave Bray releases storyteller album with powerful messages

U.S. Navy veteran Dave Bray just released his new album, “Music on a Mission,” and it’s a first-of-its-kind storyteller album that he hopes will garner a lot of attention. It has already debuted in the No. 6 spot on iTunes.

“I proudly sing and speak out about, God and Country, Patriotism and Respect, and the problems with our Nation,” Bray recently told American Military News. “I decided to narrate the record so that the listener completely understands the meaning and importance of each of the songs. I tell stories about the selflessness and sacrifice of our Nation’s Heroes.”

“Music on a Mission” (Courtesy of Dave Bray)

“I talk about the history of the songs and discuss the epidemic of Godlessness that is blanketing our country. I speak about our youth and shed light and warning on the PC narrative that is being shoved down their throats,” Bray continued. “It is a listening experience truly unlike any other. It will draw you in mentally and emotionally, and give you goosebumps. Only until you listen will you truly understand the importance of ‘Music on a Mission.’”

Bray is known to his fans as the “rock ‘n’ roll patriot.”

He served as a Corpsman with the 2nd Battalion/2nd Marines.

Bray was also one of the original members of Madison Rising, a patriotic post-grunge and hard rock band.

One of the songs on “Music on a Mission” is the anthem called “Last Call,” which is dedicated to all fallen police officers.

Bray has performed “Last Call” at various remembrance ceremonies and funerals of fallen police officers.

Of his new album, Bray said he wanted to create something people would like and be impacted by.

“Music on a Mission” (Courtesy of Dave Bray)

“It’s an hour of really entertaining talk radio mixed with some absolutely amazing songs,” he pointed out.

“The music is like something you would hear on a movie soundtrack. The kind of songs that give you goosebumps, fill you with pride or tear at your heart,” Bray continued.

“There is a war going on in this country that no one is willing to fight. It is the war for the minds of our children,” he said. “I used ‘Music on a Mission’ as an opportunity to speak directly to our citizens, both young and old, about the current state of America and what we are leaving behind for our youth. This album is extremely relevant to the times in which we live.”

Bray said all the songs on “Music on a Mission” directly correlate to the daily battles of law enforcement, firefighters, veterans, the U.S. military and faith.

The album is “all about being a God-fearing, freedom-loving, flag-waving patriot,” Bray added. “It’s about standing up for what’s right. So don’t just show the next generation how to stand up. Teach them what it means to be an upstanding citizen.”

The album is currently available on iTunes and Amazon, and also on Bray’s website.

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AMN Gear Review: The Maxpedition Falcon Backpack

Many of us become endeared to the “Day Pack” or “3-Day Bag” we are issued in the military. It can be used for everything from a short trip to the range, to living out of it on a mission for weeks at at time. However, once you turn in the backpack to your supply section, it is difficult to find a replacement that lives up to standard.

I wanted something rugged, but did not scream “I’m an American Veteran” for my travels domestically and abroad. Things with digital camouflage patterns were out of the question. I bought the Maxpedition Falcon ii Backpack, and it has been one of the best purchases of my adult life.

I have carried this pack through 14 different countries over the last four years, most recently while backpacking Russia.

Here are the top three reasons I recommend it:

Packs in Russia. (Dan Sharp/American Military News)

Size

The Falcon Backpack is small enough to fit as a carry-on item for flight, but has generous pockets for your belongings. The longest I lived out of it was for 21 days while backpacking across Europe – I was able to pack four changes of clothes, and occasionally stopped to do laundry.

It boasts a volume of 1,400 cubic inches, or 23 Liters, and weighs in at about 3 pounds. The Falcon ii came with a 100-ounce water bladder that fits in a sleek, designated pouch.

Packing through London. (Dan Sharp/American Military News)

Durability

Out of all my travels with this pack, I have never had any issues with the zippers or clips. I have only had two stitches pop on the carry handle, and that was when I mistakenly was pinched by a very unforgiving metro car door in Moscow. My companion pulled my full weight by the top handle in order to save me from bodily harm. The majority of the strap’s stitching remained in-tact, and was easily repaired even after supporting my weight of 270 pounds.

Packing through Cuba. (Dan Sharp/American Military News)

Functionality

The straps and buckles on the outside of the pack allow you to attach larger items like a sleeping system or fold-up stool. During hikes, I will often attach a collapsible tripod for my camera; the built-in MOLLE weaving allows you to fasten additional pouches. I also attach a First Aid kit for easy access during outdoor activities.

I can streamline it or bulk it up, depending on what the situation calls for, all this and more without drawing too much attention to myself.

Observing similar styled bags overseas, I looked like just another European hiker; it may be a small observation, but an important one to those of us who want to maintain a low profile. This is in contrast to some other service members I have spotted overseas, thanks to their obviously “tactical” bags.

Founded in 2003, Maxpedition has a reputation in line with its mission statement: “To build high-quality gear based on in-house designs. To provide customers with world-class service and support. To be an ethically and socially responsible global company”

I have taken this bag all over the world, and it has exceeded my expectations.

Maxpedition makes a variety of other packs of different sizes and configurations.

All opinion articles are the opinion of the author and not necessarily of American Military News. If you are interested in submitting gear for review, please email [email protected]

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Suspected serial killer wants an apology from police

Arthur Nelson Ream acknowledges that he raped a teenage hitchhiker in the 1970s, had sex with underage girls and buried 13-year-old Cindy Zarzycki in an unmarked grave.

But he denies killing Zarzycki or anyone else, and he says he deserves an apology from Warren police who have called him a suspected serial killer.

Police say Ream could be responsible for four to six murders and they spent several days earlier this month digging unsuccessfully for bones on property near the intersection of 23 Mile and North Avenue in Macomb Township. The missing girls range in age from 12 to 17 and disappeared between 1970 and 1982.

“I’ve never had anything to do with any of them,” Ream told the Free Press on Thursday in an hour-long telephone interview from prison. “There’s absolutely no connection between me and them at all.”

Ream said police should apologize to taxpayers for the money spent on the search and to the families of the missing girls.

“He owes them a big apology for getting their hopes up in this case,” he said. “He owes Cindy Zarzycki’s family a big apology for bringing up bad memories. And he owes me an apology for just getting me dragged into this..”

Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer said “there is no apology forthcoming.”

“If anybody owes an apology, it’s him and that’s why he’s in prison for life for murder and rape,” Dwyer said. “Why would law enforcement — the Warren Police Department, the FBI, the Michigan State Police — apologize to him? This was a task force. We all believe we have the probable cause. I said our suspect. I always used the word suspect. I never used his name.”

Dwyer said investigators make every effort to keep down costs, which he described as “minimal” but he couldn’t say how much has been spent thus far.

“We don’t go by cost when you’re trying to bring closure to the family of victims,” Dwyer said. “How can you put a cost on bringing closure to families that have suffered for 35 years for an investigation that is really our responsibility and our obligation to do?”

Ream, 69, was transferred last week from a prison in Muskegon Heights to the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia.

“Due to the amount of media attention his case has received, we felt it was best for his safety and the safety of others, that he be moved,” said prison spokesman Chris Gautz.

Word of the dig in Macomb Township reached Ream in prison.

“To be honest with ya, on one hand I was laughing my ass off and on the other hand, I was pissed off,” Ream said. “So, you take it for what it is. There’s no bodies there that I know of.”

Mind games

Police said they began the search in Macomb Township after talking to Ream’s fellow inmates, reviewing his FBI profile and watching him fail a polygraph test.

What’s more, Ream had a history with that property. It was there that he buried 13-year-old Cindy Zarzycki in 1986. Twenty-two years later, he was convicted of murdering her and he led investigators there to recover her remains.

But Ream also has a history of mind games, toying with investigators in a game of cat and mouse.

In the Zarzycki case, Ream offered to lead investigators to her grave if they reduced his first-degree murder charge to second-degree, which would allow him a shot at parole after 20 years.

Ream said he backed out of his offer, figuring he’d never qualify for parole because of two rape convictions.

Prosecutor Eric Smith said Ream’s offer was rejected. He said when Ream offered to show them where Zarzycki’s body was for a plea agreement “this man was the lowest form of human life that he would bargain with a dead 13-year-old’s body.” Smith said he wasn’t going to take it or “cut him any breaks at all.”

The jury convicted Ream of first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence without parole.

Before sentencing, he finally led investigators to the Macomb property.

Asked last week about his reputation for mind games, Ream admitted it.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, why not? You know, I mean, I don’t hurt anybody with it. I don’t get carried away,” Ream said.

Phony maps

Ream said that when he learned police suspected him of killing multiple girls, he toyed with the idea of drawing phony maps to send them on a wild goose chase.

“With Cindy, I drew a map, telling them where she was,” Ream said. “I was so mad at this detective, I drew some maps up and I was going to give them to him. I was just going to have him go dig, willy-nilly, someplace that I knew.”

Ream said he decided against providing the bogus maps because he thought he’d get in deeper trouble for doing it. But he suspects the idea of the maps could be the reason that he failed the polygraph test.

Ream said that when the detective gave him the polygraph test, he asked whether Ream was going to be truthful about three other missing girls.

“I says, ‘yes,’ and, in reality, I wasn’t going to be because I was going to give the detective the maps,” Ream said. “So, that’s probably why I failed it. Now it might not be why, but that’s the only reason I can think.”

Dwyer said investigators are well-versed in Ream’s history.

“We know the history and how he’s played people,” Dwyer said, adding it was part of Ream’s profile. “We understood that. He has that reputation. We knew that going in.”

Dwyer said he remains confident in the investigation.

“Our position is that we still believe that we are on the right track as far as our investigation,” Dwyer said. “As far as him playin’ anybody, I’m not gonna comment on that.”

‘Rough time with women’

Ream grew up in Warren in the 1950s when much of it was still undeveloped. He said he quit school in seventh grade and left home at 13 because his father beat him. He denies being sexually abused.

He learned to install carpet and eventually opened his own flooring business. But his personal life featured constant chaos and an eye for underage girls.

“I’ve had a rough time with women,” Ream told the Free Press.

The first of his four marriages came in 1969 when he was 20. It ended in 1978 after he was convicted of raping a 15-year-old hitchhiker in Shelby Township.

Court records show Ream and his brother-in-law abducted the girl in July 1974. Ream was 26 at the time and his brother-in-law was 15.

The brother-in-law later testified that Ream pulled a switchblade on the girl and told the brother-in-law to use duct tape to blindfold the girl before raping her. Ream ignored the girl’s pleas to stop.

The next day, a detective called Ream about the attack.

“The comment he made was if ‘I ever do this again, I’ll kill the next victim,’ ” the brother-in-law testified in a later case.

Under 1970s laws, Ream was charged with statutory rape, a life offense. The charge was later reduced to indecent liberties with a minor female child, a 10-year felony.

“We picked up a hitchhiker and molested her. I don’t know how more to say about it,” Ream said. “He said, ‘let’s do it,’ I did it. Stupidity. That, in my life, was the worst screw-up so far in my lifetime.”

Ream was convicted and sentenced to five to 10 years in prison, which he began serving in August 1975. Two months later, he wrote to Judge George Deneweth asking for a reduced sentence.

“I have done a lot of thinking here in prison,” Ream wrote. “I want to tell the truth and have a second chance to prove that I will never be in trouble with the law again. I value my family too much to ever risk losing them again.”

Familiar pattern

While he was in prison, Ream’s wife filed for divorce. He tried to salvage the marriage, but she wanted out, claiming he’d beaten her repeatedly in front of their children and carried on affairs, including one with their 15-year-old babysitter.

“This apparently went on for two years while Mrs. Ream was at work,” his wife’s lawyer wrote in a letter to the judge.

“My first wife, I screwed that up pretty bad,” Ream said “It was my fault.”

In the early 1970s, Ream also abused a teenage niece, plying her with alcohol and taking advantage of her, according to Macomb County prosecutors who sought to admit evidence of those crimes in a later case.

Ream’s first divorce was final in February 1978. By then, he’d been granted early parole and the following month, he married again in what he termed “an arranged marriage.” It lasted eight months and they divorced in January 1979.

In December 1979, Ream married for a third time. That marriage lasted until 1986, when his wife divorced him, accusing him of physically abusing her.

“My third marriage, I don’t even know how to explain that. That was crazy,” Ream said. “I shouldn’t have stayed with her as long as I did.”

During that time, prosecutors said, Ream abused two other young girls with whom he was close. One was a 12-year-old niece, the other was a 13-year-old family friend. Both girls were given alcohol and assaulted.

Ream displayed a “common scheme and plan to sexually assault young females: He gains their trust, isolates them, and then rapes them,” Macomb County prosecutors wrote in their request to introduce his history as part of a later case.

Ream married for a final time in 1992, when he said he “found my true love.”

That marriage lasted until 1998, when his wife accused him of physical abuse.

By then, he’d also been accused of raping a 15-year-old girl, for whom he served as legal guardian. Investigators said the pattern was familiar: The girl was given alcohol and raped.

Ream acknowledged pleading guilty but said the sex was consensual, which wouldn’t matter because she was only 15. Ream said he had custody of the girl because her mom was having trouble with her. Ream lived in Roseville at the time, but owned property in Gladwin, where the rape occurred.

“We just went up there for the weekend,” Ream said. “She ended up getting into some liquor that my nephew left in one of the cabins and we ended up having sex. I don’t know how to explain it.”

Ream pleaded guilty in that case, spent 10 years in prison and was preparing to be released when he was charged with Cindy Zarzycki’s murder.

Ream has an explanation for that case as well.

He said Cindy was dating his son Scott and they often hung out at a warehouse for Ream’s business.

“They were on some carpet, she fell, went backward down the elevator chute and died,” Ream said.

Ream said he was responsible for her death because he’d wired the gate to the freight elevate shaft in an open position, to avoid lifting it up and down constantly.

“If the gate was down where it was supposed to be, she would have never fallen,” Ream said. He claims his son called him and he panicked, because he didn’t have insurance, so he removed Cindy’s body and buried it in Macomb Township.

The jury didn’t buy the story and convicted him of first-degree murder, guaranteeing a life term.

Ream now lives in a single cell and passes his days playing cards and watching television. He likes “Big Bang Theory” and watches the new “Roseanne,” but considers the original series better.

One of his brothers visited him about five years ago, but he hasn’t had any visitors since.

Dwyer stands by the investigation, saying investigators have “worked diligently for decades to get to this point.”

Dwyer said no more digging is scheduled, but said the effort was worth doing in a “very, very difficult investigation.”

“We have a responsibility and with the information developed, we had cause to reason the bodies of several young girls were buried at 23 (Mile) and North,” Dwyer said.

Konnie Beyma, the sister of Kimberly King, one of the missing girls police hoped to find in Macomb, said she plans to write to Ream.

“I want him to hear from me directly, word for word,” she said. “I feel an obligation to my sister, Kimberly, to communicate with this man. If he is responsible, I owe it to her to do everything in my power to see if I can get him to share where her remains are located.”

“That’s all I want from him,” Beyma said of Ream. “I simply want Kimberly’s remains. That’s all I want.”

Beyma said that she thinks it’s obvious that Ream killed Zarzycki becayse he knew where her body was buried. She said if he failed a lie detector test on King’s whereabouts, “then he certainly knows something.”

She said even if law enforcement isn’t on the right track immediately in a case, the crime still has to be investigated.

“I don’t see why they’d have to owe anyone an apology for doing their job,” Beyma said.

Ream said that given his history, he knows the public is unlikely to trust him.

“I didn’t say I wasn’t a rapist because I did hurt that girl in the ’70s, so that made me a rapist,” Ream said. He claims his other encounters with young girls were consensual, though he acknowledged the girls were too young to legally consent.

But he insists he’s not a killer, let alone a serial killer.

“For the rest of my life and beyond, I’m going to be known as a serial killer,” he said. “It’s out there. It can never be taken away.”

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© 2018 the Detroit Free Press

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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