All of the major news networks have picked the story up. Anthony Sowell of Cleveland has been charged with murders of 5 people now and certainly more charges to follow. At last I read, there have been 11 bodies found/uncovered at his home on Imperial Avenue that are dated to be "at least 3 weeks old." 4 bodies were found in shallow graves in the backyard. A couple of bodies were found in the attic and living room, and a few in the basement, including a skull that was found in a bucket, presumably fallen from a decayed body that has not been located as of yet.
I'm not from Cleveland, so I'm not familiar with the neighborhood that he lived in other than things I've read. I know that Anthony Sowell was a registered sex offender, having served 15 years in prison for raping someone. He's in fair company as his particular neighborhood area houses 150 registered sex offenders. It is a neighborhood structured somewhat like ours. Postage stamp sized lots and close houses. (Linked story at end regarding neighborhood.) He was neighboring a sausage company.
Apparently, there had been 14 women reported missing in the "14th district" which I'm not certain that is his particular neighborhood, but I'm guessing that it is. All of his victims appear to be African-American females that have lived a life with some unfortunate hiccups. A woman was interviewed last night who said that she hadn't reported someone she knew that was missing and now she wishes that she had. She said that had she reported them missing, perhaps she could have saved others.
I hate to have her live with that guilt.
The reports are that the stench was incredible. The sausage factory was blamed, though the owner said that they knew they weren't to blame. The heat of summer. What his house held. How could no one have known? The council person even complained about it. The sausage company stated that they upgraded traps and whatnot to the tune of $10,000. and an inspector stated that the stench was from a dead animal at the neighboring house. What it was was two dead bodies under the front porch. Should I also add that he used to barbecue out front? People report that he smelled like death himself. Being surrounded by such, I don't know how he couldn't.
Police had last been at the residence on September 22, 2009. He was a registered sex offender and I believe that they were checking in. While they admit that they smelled an odor, they weren't able to enter the residence. They needed a search warrant.
He had attacked a few women who did get away. They didn't report the incidents to the police. One said that she was afraid that because of a past conviction, she thought that the police wouldn't take her seriously. That happened right after he got out of jail for the rape charges.
How did he fall through the cracks? How could those who held him in jail for 15 years not be tuned into his probability to re-offend? I understand that offending again happens at a fairly high rate, but he was released after 15 years and went to the streets to continue where he left off, only this time he decided to go all serial killer about it.
I don't understand.
What I do understand is that I have a very good friend who experienced having the call to tell her that her sister had been murdered. Her sister was brutally beaten and details that she told me made me so upset. To this day, over 10 years later, the case is still unsolved. This is with the lead detective having admitted that it was the worse crime that he had seen. Not only was her sister murdered, but she was also set on fire.
My friend has kept up with the police department in the particular city that the murder occurred in. She has had some kind people. She has had some others give her the brush off. I fear though that she is experiencing what these ladies feared. Because my friend's sister didn't live a completely clean life, it seems like no one takes the case seriously and sees this crime as something that just sometimes happens. Her sister didn't deserve her death.
I can't account for Anthony Sowell's actions. I have no idea what drove him to make the choices that he did. I would guess that he had mental issues that should have been addressed while he was federally housed. However, no matter the choices that the ladies made in their lives, their lives were of worth. It wasn't up to Anthony Sowell to take their last breath with strangulation by ligature or choking. It wasn't up to Anthony Sowell to dump his latest victim in a variety of places about the property and go on to the next. It wasn't up to Anthony Sowell to weed out the population of Imperial Avenue like a dog warden does with strays while out on patrol.
These women were daughters, moms, friends and sisters. No matter what the news agencies choose to report regarding details of the victims lives, remember that these ladies didn't deserve their death.
Please keep their friends and families in your prayers, as they not only try to identify victims, but search for more at the Imperial Avenue residence as well as a 1/2 mile perimeter surrounding the property and previous properties that Anthony Sowell occupied. Please pray for the victims that escaped Anthony Sowell.
I can't imagine.
Related news stories:
Tanja Doss describes being a rape victim.
Stench still wafts from home.
Police identify first victim.
Neighborhood nothing to smile about.
Two more bodies identified.
Anthony Sowell was considered unlikely to offend again according to his 2005 evaluation.