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Tuesday, February 15, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Bones found; murder suspected

Seattle Times Snohomish County bureau

The search for a missing Monroe motel housekeeper is over - and now a homicide investigation has begun.

Using dental records, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office yesterday identified skeletal remains found Thursday outside Sultan as those of Cynthia "Cyndi" Rearden, a 31-year-old single mother last seen June 20 at a Monroe tavern.

Rearden's world revolved around her 8-year-old son, Charles, her friend Jean Nelson said. Rearden took him fishing at a creek near the Monroe Motel, where she lived and worked, and went for long walks so he could ride along on his bike, Nelson said.

"When she wasn't working, she basically spent her time with her little boy," said Nelson, who briefly lived at the Monroe Motel and works as a bartender at the Hayloft Tavern, where Rearden was last seen.

Now the boy is living with his maternal grandmother in the Carnation area, Nelson said. The child's father, who was married to Rearden, committed suicide several years ago, she said.

Rearden's bones were discovered in a marshy area of brush and trees in the 13100 block of Woods Lake Road, west of Sultan, by the property owner.

Investigators found evidence indicating she was slain, said Jan Jorgensen, Snohomish County sheriff's spokeswoman. Evidence also suggests Rearden possibly was killed at a different location, Jorgensen said. She declined to be more specific about the evidence.

Jorgensen said scraps of clothing found near the body matched the description of Rearden's outfit the night she disappeared - a black spandex dress, black stockings and a leather jacket.

The Medical Examiner's Office had not determined a cause of death as of late yesterday.

Rearden was engaged at the time of her disappearance, police said. The fiance lived with Rearden and her son, said Jean Ghag, owner of the Monroe Motel.

Ghag said she had employed Rearden for nine to 10 months before her disappearance. She didn't know Rearden well, she said, but the housekeeper was a hard worker.

"I can't believe that happened to her," Ghag said. "It's really sad. It's really sad for her son."

The tavern was busy the night Rearden disappeared, and witnesses provided police with conflicting reports on her departure. Some said she left with her fiance; others said she left with a small group of men with whom she'd been sitting; still others said she walked out alone. She was last seen around 11:30 p.m.

During the subsequent missing-person investigation, police said, they pursued more than 160 leads. At that time, police said her fiance was not a suspect.

However, Monroe police Cmdr. Steve Seibert said investigators plan to review the entire case now they know Rearden was killed.

The Sheriff's Office has joined the investigation.

Nelson, Rearden's friend, said the Monroe Motel is a "family-type place" where people stay for weeks or months at a time.

Rearden helped brighten up the place, she said.

"She was full of energy, full of life. She loved every day, everybody around her. She had a smile that could light up a room, and if things were on the down side, she'd walk right in and people would perk right up," she said.

Finding her body will help bring some closure for the people who miss Rearden, Nelson said.

"Final closure won't come until we actually know what happened. At least this helps a little bit," she said.

Diane Brooks' phone message number is 425-745-7802.

Keiko Morris' phone message number is 425-745-7804.

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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