Details of Disappearance
Kimberly spent the night of September 15, 1979 at a friend's residence across the street from her grandparents' home in Warren, Michigan. At 11:00 p.m., she called her sister and said she had sneaked out of her friend's home and was calling from an outdoor phone booth not far away. Her sister told her to go back inside. Kimberly never returned to her friend's home, however, and has never been heard from again.
Authorities are uncertain what pay phone Kimberly was calling her sister from. She said it was a short walk from her grandparents' home, but one witness said he saw her using the phone several miles away. Her case was originally classified as a possible runaway.
There are few clues as to Kimberly's whereabouts, but her case is now classified as a non-family abduction with probable foul play involved in her disappearance. Investigators learned that Kimberly may have traveled to Grand Rapids, Michigan after her disappearance, but the leads did not pan out.
Although one of Kimberly's sisters had run away from home several times and Kimberly herself was known to occasionally stay out until late at night, she does not have a history of runaway behavior and authorities no longer believe she left of her own accord.
Authorities theorized that Kimberly may have been a victim of a serial killer of children in Oakland County, Michigan. The killer, nicknamed "The Babysitter" because he bathed and fed the children prior to their deaths, is believed to be responsible for the abductions and homicides of two boys and two girls around King's age in 1976 and 1977.
The children were all held captive for several days before being slain. No one has ever been charged in connection with any of the murders. If Kimberly was a victim of the killer, her case is atypical; in the other cases, the victim's bodies were left out in plain view by roadways and were found fairly quickly, but Kimberly's remains have never been located.
David Norberg was considered a suspect in the case for many years. He was employed in Warren at the time of Kimberly's 1979 disappearance, and lived just two streets away from her home. He was killed in an automobile accident near Recluse, Wyoming in 1981. After his death, jewelry allegedly belonging to several of the Oakland County child victims was found among his belongings. He was never charged in connection with any of Kimberly's disappearance or any of the murders, however.
Norberg's body was exhumed in September 1999 and his DNA was compared to a single strand of unidentified hair discovered on the final murder victim, Timothy King (no relation to Kimberly). In November 2002, Authorities announced that Norberg's DNA did not match the hair found on Timothy, but that they were not ruling him out entirely as a suspect.
He fits the serial killer's profile very well and there is circumstantial evidence linking him to the murders. Investigators still think he might have been involved in Kimberly's apparent abduction if not the murders.
The Oakland County serial killer has never been identified, but one male victim's family sued a suspect, Ted Lamborgine, for his wrongful death in 2007. It is not clear whether Kimberly was a victim of the same person who killed the others.
In 2018, authorities announced Arthur Ream was a possible suspect in Kimberly's case and in the disappearances of Cynthia Coon, Kim Larrow, Nadine O'Dell and Kellie Brownlee. A photo of Ream is posted with this case summary.
He was convicted of sexual assault in the 1970s and, in 1986, murdered Cindy Zarzycki, a thirteen-year-old girl who was dating his son. He was convicted of her murder and afterwards, in 2008, he lead authorities to her body, which was buried in a shallow grave 30 miles from Detroit, Michigan.
While in prison, Ream reportedly told cellmates he was serial killer with four to six victims. In May 2018, police began digging at the same property where Cindy had been buried, expecting to find the bodies of other missing girls there. No human remains were located, however, and the digging stopped after a week.
Kimberly's grandmother died in 1995. Prior to her death, she purchased a cemetery plot for her granddaughter. Kimberly's two sisters still hope she may be located. Her case remains unsolved.