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November 04, 2009
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Police confirm four more bodies found at Ohio man's home

Associated Press

CLEVELAND — More remains were discovered Tuesday at the Cleveland home of a convicted rapist, raising to 10 the number of bodies that have been found there, authorities said.

Four more bodies and a skull were found at the home, where the remains of six women were removed last week, said police Chief Michael McGrath. Fifty-year-old Anthony Sowell, who lives in the home, is in jail and was charged Tuesday with five counts of aggravated murder.

"It appears that this man had an insatiable appetite that he had to fill," McGrath said.

He said the additional bodies were found buried in the backyard of the home. The skull was found in a bucket in the basement.

Authorities do not know whether the skull belongs to an 11th victim, said police spokesman Lt. Thomas Stacho.

The search was to continue Wednesday, with fire department crews planning to search in the walls of the home, McGrath said.

Last week, investigators said they found one body in a shallow grave in the backyard. The rest were inside the house - one in the basement, two in the third-floor living room and two in an upstairs crawl space.

Police discovered the first six bodies Thursday and Friday after a woman reported being raped at Sowell's home, and Sowell also was charged Tuesday with rape, felonious assault and kidnapping related to her complaint.

Sowell is to be arraigned Wednesday, Stacho said.

The Cuyahoga County coroner is attempting to identify those women through DNA and dental records. All six were black, and five were strangled.

The bodies could have been there anywhere from weeks to months to years, said Powell Caesar, a spokesman for the coroner.

On Tuesday, detectives brought in cadaver dogs and digging equipment to scour the home and backyard, looking for evidence to connect Sowell to the bodies, Stacho said.

Police turned up nothing in a search of a quarter-mile swath of abandoned, boarded-up homes near Sowell's residence, which sits in a crowded inner-city neighborhood of mostly older houses.

They plan to scour another quarter-mile area Wednesday, McGrath said. He said Sowell did not have a car would have had to take a city bus to travel.

A crowd of about a hundred people milled about and chatted near the home Tuesday evening.

One of those in the crowd, Antoinnette Dudley, 29, lives a few houses away. She said she could smell a terrible odor like something was dead all summer. She said she saw Sowell only a few times, mainly drinking beer while he sat on his porch.

The discovery of more bodies Tuesday surprised Dudley. "I didn't think he was that sick," she said.

Sowell is a registered sex offender and required to check in regularly at the sheriff's office. Officers didn't have the right to enter his house, but they would stop by to make sure he was there. Their most recent visit was Sept. 22, just hours before the woman reported being raped.

For the past few years, Sowell's neighbors thought the foul smell enveloping their street corner had been coming from a brick building where workers churned out sausage and head cheese.

It got so bad that the owners of Ray's Sausage replaced their sewer line and grease traps.

City Councilman Zack Reed, whose mother lives a block from the area, said he called the city health department on more than one occasion.

"What happened from there, we don't know," he said. "It was no secret that there was a foul odor. We don't want to point fingers, but clearly something could have been done differently."

Associated PressCopyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Reed said he and other community leaders want an investigation into whether police and health inspectors missed any signs that could have tipped them off to the bodies inside the house.

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