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 11 Bodies Found Inside House in Cleavland

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PostSubject: 11 Bodies Found Inside House in Cleavland   Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:01 pm

http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/11/05/cleveland.bodies.identified/index.html


Cleveland, Ohio (CNN) -- A Cleveland City Council member is calling for an independent investigation into whether police and health authorities in recent months and years should have spotted signs of foul play at a house where 11 bodies were found.

This development reflects the concerns of residents who wonder how authorities in the blue-collar Ohio city could have neglected to pursue signs of problems at the house and missed the stench at the dwelling that wafted across the neighborhood.

Council Member Zach Reed said on Wednesday he received a call about the stench in 2007.

"We received a phone call from a resident that said a foul odor came across the street and it smells like a dead person, not dead meat, not a dead animal. A dead person," Reed said.

The entire council also issued a statement saying the "top priorities at this time must be to discover the full extent of the tragedies and to bring forth justice. "

"We acknowledge the issues being raised by the community and the media and will examine the case at the appropriate time but we will do nothing to impede the ongoing investigation," it said.
Video: Serial killer suspect in court
Video: More bodies in backyard

Authorities Wednesday identified Tonia Carmichael as the first of 11 bodies pulled from the home of Anthony Sowell, a registered sex offender in jail without bond. Arrested Saturday, two days after police discovered the first bodies inside and outside the home, Sowell faces five counts of aggravated murder, rape, felonious assault and kidnapping, police said.

Frank Miller, Cuyahoga County coroner, told reporters that seven of the victims died from strangulation by a ligature, which can include a string, cord or wire, and all seven still had something tied around their necks.

An eighth victim died from manual strangulation, strangulation by hands. Two other bodies were too decomposed to determine the cause of death, although Miller said he believes they were victims of "homicidal violence." Autopsy results on the 11th victim are pending.

"It's most likely strangulation in all cases," Miller said.

Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath said some of the victims could have been missing for up to five years. Carmichael, who was last seen about a year ago, was identified using DNA, a process that authorities are performing on the other 10 victims found at Sowell's three-story home.

Many in Sowell's neighborhood wonder how authorities could have missed the signs of problems at the house. For some time, some in the area said they complained about a foul smell that permeated the neighborhood, turning the stomachs of residents and curtailing their outdoor activities.

"We used to think that it was coming from out of Ray's Sausage," said one resident, referring to a nearby business. "But you smell these smells, and I live right there and ... we used to come out here and oh, these smells would just be horrible."

Ray's Sausage Co. replaced a sewer line and grease traps, trying to rid the area of the stench. But the stench stayed until police found the bodies at Sowell's house, adjacent to the sausage company.

Six of the victims were found inside the home and five outside, including a skull wrapped in a paper bag and stuffed into a bucket in the basement, police said. Authorities said they had no information about the smell in the area before the bodies were found.

But some in the neighborhood disagreed.

"You could smell it," said another neighborhood woman. "I came around the corner and I smell it. You could smell the dead bodies. How are you going to tell me people in the neighborhood couldn't smell that?"

Police initially went to Sowell's home October 29 to follow-up on a rape accusation. A week earlier, neighbors reported seeing a naked woman fall from the second floor, but no charges were filed.

Neighbors called 911 after the October 20 incident, and emergency personnel -- but not police, initially -- were sent to the home, McGrath told reporters Tuesday.
But you smell these smells, and ... oh, these smells would just be horrible.


Firefighters later notified police, who responded to the hospital where the woman was taken, he said. She told officers that she was at the home and "partying," he said. "They were doing coke, drugs, getting high."

The woman said she was on an upper balcony and fell off the roof while trying to pick up her keys. A man described as her boyfriend, Sowell, told police the same story.

"At any point, that gal could have said, 'Hey, wait a minute,' but she did not," McGrath said.

Carmichael was last seen on November 10, 2008, in Warrensville Heights, a Cleveland suburb near Sowell's home, and her vehicle was found in Cleveland. She was 52 when she was last seen.

In the missing persons report, Carmichael's mother, Barbara, told police her daughter was addicted to crack and had previously disappeared for several days at a time. But she said she believed something had happened to her because she had not picked up two paychecks.

The news of the death was especially tragic for the victim's mother.

"As you can imagine, it's heartbreaking for the whole family, but this was her child," said Danita Carmichael, the victim's daughter. "This was her daughter, her angel, her princess, and now we will never see her again. She's gone."

Sowell had been charged with a 1989 rape and pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted rape under a plea agreement, court records show. Police said he was imprisoned from 1990 to 2005. Since his release from prison he was listed as living at the Cleveland home where the bodies were found, McGrath said.

Authorities from the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office checked on Sowell regularly, with the most recent check coming on September 22 to confirm his address, McGrath said. They found no problems, he said.

Police began to get suspicious of Sowell about a month ago, after a woman accused him of rape and assault, said Cleveland Police Lt. Thomas Stacho. Investigators obtained the warrants that set off the search after getting the "cooperation of the victim," he said.

During his hearing on Wednesday, Sowell showed no emotion when he appeared before Municipal Judge Ronald Adrine. Asked whether he could afford a lawyer, Sowell responded quietly, "No sir."

Kathleen Demetz, the public defender representing Sowell, asked that he undergo a psychiatric evaluation. She also said that Sowell, an ex-Marine, has a heart condition and wears a pacemaker.

Cuyahoga County Assistant Prosecutor Brian Murphy said during the court hearing: "The state believes he's an incredibly dangerous threat."

Sowell has told authorities he had been collecting unemployment payments since being laid off from his job two years ago. It wasn't immediately known what that job was.

Stacho has said Sowell had been making his living as a "scrapper."

"He walks around and picks up scrap metal and takes it to junk yards to make a few pennies," he said.

Police said authorities in Coronado, California, also were checking to see if Sowell might be tied to a rape case there.
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PostSubject: Re: 11 Bodies Found Inside House in Cleavland   Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:14 pm

I don't really like the nature of punishments for sex crimes. The serious cases should be life sentences. Someone who actually sets out to violently and aggressively rape someone is too dangerous to walk the streets again. On the other hand the punishments for peaceful and/or taboo sex crimes seem rather dramatic. It gets especially ridiculous when it is like a 17 year old and 18 year old having sex. The punishment for such shouldn't exceed that of a hard wrist slap at most.

That's just my preference.
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