Six women found dead at rapist's home
The decomposed bodies of six women were found in the Cleveland, Ohio home of a convicted rapist who was arrested Saturday, the coroner conducting the autopsies said.world Updated: Nov 01, 2009 16:42 IST
The decomposed bodies of six women were found in the Cleveland, Ohio home of a convicted rapist who was arrested Saturday, the coroner conducting the autopsies said.
"There is a total of six unidentified women," Cuyahoga County coroner Frank Miller told AFP, saying most of the victims found at the home of registered sex offender Anthony Sowell, 50, appeared to have been strangled.
Police earlier confirmed that three bodies were found at the home, and that the bodies of three more victims were believed to have been discovered.
Released in 2005 after spending years in prison for a 1989 rape, Sowell was arrested in his Cleveland neighborhood after a local resident recognized him and notified police.
He had been walking down a street and did not resist arrest, police said.
The first two bodies were found Thursday when a SWAT team entered the house with a search warrant, police chief Michael McGrath told reporters in a briefing aired by local media.
Further searches of the property led to the discovery of four more bodies for a total of six -- five in the home and one buried in a grave in the yard, Miller said.
"They were badly decomposed bodies," Miller added. Police, citing the coroner, earlier said some of the bodies may have been in the home up to six months.
While the coroner continued tests to try and establish the victims' identities, Cleveland police initiated a search of missing person records from June 2005, when Sowell was released after serving a 15-year prison term for rape.
Police asked members of the community who may have loved ones missing to come forward with photographs of the relatives in a bid to help the identification process.
Department Lieutenant Thomas Stacho said police searched Sowell's home because he was named as a suspect in a rape and assault case.
"It was such a disgusting sight" that homicide detectives discouraged Stacho from going into the house, he told CNN.
"I can tell you I stood outside the home for about an hour yesterday, and the stench from inside was overwhelming."
The United States has experienced several gruesome multiple murders in recent months, including a case in September in which a Florida man was charged with slaying his wife and five small children.
Also in September, police arrested an alleged serial killer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin whose DNA was found on nine women murdered over a 21-year period, eight of them prostitutes.