Cold case: Family of Monroe woman angry that killer is still out there

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

Talk to us

More in Local News

Angelica Montanari and daughter Makena, 1, outside of the Community Health Center of Snohomish County Everett-Central Clinic on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Providers at Community Health Center of Snohomish County vote to form a union

Providers expressed hope for improving patient care and making their voices heard with management.

Granite Falls
Two suspects charged in motorhome shooting near Granite Falls

Bail was set at $2 million for each of the suspects, Dillon Thomas, 28 and David Koeppen, 37.

Moses Malachi Brewer appears in court for sentencing Friday, March 24, 2023, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Man sentenced to 18 years for 2019 shooting in Everett

Moses Brewer, 23, shot four people in an Everett apartment, which left one victim paralyzed on his right side.

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
Health care spending continues to outpace inflation, driven by prices

Can state efforts curb 6.7% growth per year in overall health care spending?

The Everett Police Department hosted its first Guns for Gift Cards exchange on Saturday, December 17, 2022 at the South Precinct in Everett, Washington. 241 firearms were exchanged for $25,000 in gift cards. (City of Everett)
Everett considering ARPA money for business boost, gun buyback

Another proposal gives each council member discretion on spending $75,000 of the federal aid on local pandemic recovery efforts

Dr. Ulrik Wallin (Optum)
“No one wants to talk about poop”

March is colorectal cancer awareness month.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Overnight road work to disrupt Highway 9 traffic in Snohomish

Lane closures are set this week and next near the Bickford Avenue roundabout for drainage work along the highway.

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
Supreme Court rules state’s new capital gains tax is legal

The 7-2 ruling clears the way for collection of payments starting next month. The tax is expected to bring in $500 million a year.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
A thumbs up for capital gains, kind words for the Senate budget

It’s Day 75. Here’s what’s happening in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

Most Read