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Three female bodies found wrapped in plastic bags in Ohio, suspect in custody

11:24 AM, Jul 21, 2013   |    comments
Law enforcement and FBI stand at the back of a boarded-up home where bodies were found earlier in the day in East Cleveland on Saturday. (Photo: Joshua Gunter, AP)
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The macabre hunt for more bodies continued Sunday in a section of East Cleveland, Ohio, where the bodies of three black women have been found wrapped in plastic since Friday.

Police Chief Ralph Spotts said the search targeted scores of abandoned homes in the area, and he instructed dozens of officers and volunteers to be alert for the smell of rotting bodies and to look for trash bags that might conceal a body.

It's possible that one or two more bodies could be found, Spotts said.

Two days earlier, police were involved in a standoff with a suspect that ended in the arrest of Michael Madison, 35, though no charges had been filed.

In police interviews, Madison led investigators to believe he might have been influenced by serial killer Anthony Sowell, East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton said. Sowell is awaiting execution after being convicted in 2011 of killing 11 women and hiding their remains in his Cleveland home.

A report of a foul odor emanating from a home led police to the discovery of the first body, found in a garage, and to the suspect. Two other bodies were found Saturday - one in a backyard and the other in the basement of a vacant house. The bodies, all female, were found about 100 to 200 yards apart, and authorities say the victims were killed in the last six to 10 days.

The bodies were each in the fetal position, wrapped in several layers of trash bags, Norton said. He said detectives continue to interview the suspect, who used his mother's address in Cleveland in registering as a sex offender, the mayor said.

"The person in custody, some of the things he said to investigators made us go back today," the mayor said.

The Cuyahoga Medical Examiners Office said it may take several days to identify the remains already found. Police believe the women were killed within the last ten days.

One of the bodies was found in a carport, one in a weeded lot near the carport and the third body was found in the basement of an abandoned home, police said.

Cleveland.com reports that Madison is a sexual offender who registered with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office after being released from prison on an attempted rape conviction in 2002. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years. He was given the least serious offender status, which requires registration once a year for 10 years. His local criminal history otherwise includes drug possession and trafficking.

The FBI was assisting East Cleveland police.

Contributing: Sara Shookman, AJ Ross and Will Ujek, WKYC.com; Associated Press

 

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