A search of the area invlolving several law enforcement agencies is being expanded after a body was found on Friday in a garage, and two more bodies were found on Saturday, one in a backyard, and another one in the basement of an abandoned house in the suburb of East Cleveland, Ohio. All of the bodies were found wrapped in plastic and between 100 to 200 yards of each other. All of the victims were female. It is estimated they were killed between 6 to10 days ago.
Police have taken 35-year-old Michael Madison, a convicted sex offender residing in the area, into custody. Although he has not yet been charged, law enforcement officials have said that some of the things the suspect said during interrogation prompted them to continue the search for more victims, and also leads them to believe he might have been influenced in some way by the case of Anthony Sowell, a Cleveland, Ohio, man convicted of, and sentenced to death for the killing of 11 women in 2011. Sowell was caught after one of his victims escaped his house and accused him of rape. A search of the premises turned up human remains, mostly nude, some of which were in such a state of decomposition that the cause of death could not be ascertained. His crimes took place between June of 2007 and July of 2009.
Another factor in the decision to expand the search is that there are several vacant properties in the area, and neighbors of the man in custody have said that they had often seen him talking to women walking by.
As of Saturday a three block area had been searched with the aid of dogs trained to find cadavers. A meeting had been scheduled on Sunday at noon so that volunteers from the community could help to widen the search.
Recently, the Cleveland area was also the setting for the case of Ariel Castro, who in May was arrested for kidnapping and raping three women for over a decade. He has entered a plea of not guilty in response to the 977 charges filed against him. Two of those charges are for aggravated murder for terminating the pregnancies of his victims, although one of the women he held captive did give birth to a child during her ordeal. His bail has been set at $8 million. He is expected back in court on August 5, although his defense attorney is trying to negotiate a plea bargain that will take the death penalty off the table.
Written By: Milton Ruiz