MONROE — Cynthia Rearden vanished.
Her parents couldn’t tell her 8-year-old son where his mom was or when she’d be home. She was gone, last seen walking out of a Monroe tavern on June 20, 1999.
She might have left town. But her friends and family didn’t believe she’d ever desert her son. Neither did the cops.
Eight months later the ugly truth was discovered in a marshy area off Woods Lake Road, east of town.
Investigators used the woman’s dental records to identify the skeletal remains they retrieved out of the swamp. They ruled Rearden’s death a homicide. Nearly a decade later, the case remains unsolved.
Now, detectives are asking for help from inmates to find whoever killed Rearden. Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives created a deck of cold-case playing cards for jail and prison inmates. The inmates are being offered a reward for tips that help detectives track down killers.
Rearden, 31, is featured on the Queen of Hearts in the decks of cards.
The Monroe mother lived with her son in a small trailer near the motel where she cleaned rooms. Sometimes her fiance stayed with them. Rearden had planned to get married later that summer.
Detectives believe she was alone when she stopped by the Hay Loft Saloon on N. Lewis Street. Some witnesses said she left alone. Others say she was with someone.
She never picked up her son from the baby sitter.
In his heart, her stepfather Larry Lane knew something awful had happened. He walked along the railroad tracks crisscrossing town and peered into dumpsters.
“I know my daughter,” Lane said. “I know she wouldn’t leave her son like that.”
The boy, who turns 18 this year, went to live with his grandparents when his mother disappeared. He’s a good kid, Lane said. He doesn’t smoke or do drugs and he goes to church on Sundays, his grandfather said.
Lane, 73, is angry his daughter’s killer may still be walking free, living with a secret.
“She was my sweetheart,” he said. “Before I die I’d like to know who the hell killed her.”
Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or firstname.lastname@example.org.