Ohio bodies case: charges expected
A known sex offender is expected to face charges after authorities who responded to a report of a foul odour found the bodies of three women in a low-income Ohio neighbourhood.
East Cleveland police chief Ralph Spotts had warned searchers to be prepared to find one or two more victims, but he declined to elaborate.
The discovery was the Cleveland area's latest high-profile case of missing women. Earlier this year, three women in an unrelated case were found and freed after being held captive in a home for years.
Mr Spotts identified the suspect as 35-year-old Michael Madison and said he was expected to be formally charged. Mayor Gary Norton said the suspect indicated he might have been influenced by Cleveland serial killer Anthony Sowell, who was convicted in 2011 of murdering 11 women and sentenced to death.
Sowell was arrested after a woman escaped from his house and said she had been raped. Police found the 11 women's mostly nude bodies in rubbish bags and plastic sheets throughout the home.
In the latest case, one body was found in a garage on Friday. Two others were found on Saturday - one in a back garden and the other in the basement of a vacant house. The three women's bodies, all wrapped in plastic bags, were found about 200 yards apart and authorities believe they were killed in the last six to 10 days.
Mr Spotts said the suspect's comments had not provided clarity on whether more bodies might be found. "He really hasn't stated that there's any more, but he hasn't said anything that would make us think that there's not," Mr Spotts said.
Sunday's search included 40 abandoned houses. Authorities wanted to be thorough, the mayor said, adding: "Hopefully, we pray to God, this is it."
The bodies were each in the foetal position, wrapped in several layers of rubbish bags, Mr Norton said. Cuyahoga County medical examiner Dr Thomas Gilson said the bodies were in advanced stages of decomposition and that it would take several days to identify them and how they died.
Madison was classified as a sex offender in 2002 when he was sentenced to four years in prison for attempted rape, according to Cuyahoga County court records. He had previous convictions in 2000 and 2001 for drug-related charges.