Neighbors Question How Police Missed Grisly Murder House for So Long

Neighbors Question How Police Missed Grisly Murder House for So Long

Published November 4, 2009

Neighbors of a Cleveland rapist-turned-mass-murder-suspect say police should have paid more attention to the stench that hovered over his house and the regular calls for police to investigate bizarre activities there.

On Tuesday, Cleveland Police found that at least 10 women, many of whom died violent deaths, were entombed in the home of 50-year-old convicted rapist Anthony Sowell, who so far has been charged with five counts of aggravated murder, in addition to rape, felonious assault and kidnapping. He is scheduled to be arraigned today.

The home smelled so bad, neighbors told CNN, that they believed it emanated from rotting meat at a local sausage plant. Even the owners of Ray’s Sausage replaced a sewer line in hopes of mitigating the foul odors. In addition, the neighbors said, police had been called to the home on several occasions because of strange goings on, including a recent incident when a naked woman fell two stories from an upstairs window. Police reportedly found no body and reported nothing peculiar.

Fire officials are planning to join police today in searching Sowell’s house and the surrounding grounds, busting out walls and ripping up floor boards of the three-story home, according to CNN.

"I like to believe there is nothing else more there, but we will not know until we finish the search," said Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath. "It appears that this man had an insatiable appetite that he had to fill."

To call the scene grisly would be the ultimate understatement. Last Thursday, police discovered the decomposing bodies of five women in the basement, crawl spaces and basement of the home. Yesterday, they unearthed four more bodies buried in the yard behind the home, and the skull of yet another in a bucket in the basement. The condition of the bodies was in such deteriorated state that identification is impossible until there has been a lengthy DNA analysis, according to McGrath.

The first six bodies found last week were all African-American women and five of them had been strangled, McGrath told CNN.

"I can imagine how families feel who have reported a missing person, and the anxiety that they are going through," Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said. "And we want to assure them as soon as we know something they will be the first to know."

Sowell, who spend 15 years in prison for rape beginning in 1990, has lived at the Cleveland home where the bodies were found, said police, who began to get suspicious of Sowell last month, after a woman accused him of rape and assault.

Written by Staff


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