Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bad Smell Leads to 3 Bodies, Arrest in Ohio

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bad Smell Leads to 3 Bodies, Arrest in Ohio

Article excerpt

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Authorities responding to a report of a foul odor from a home ultimately discovered three bodies and arrested a registered sex offender who sent police and volunteers through a poor Ohio neighborhood in a search for more victims Sunday, officials said.

East Cleveland Police Chief Ralph Spotts had cautioned searchers to be prepared to find one or two more victims. But after a daylong search that included 40 abandoned houses and other areas, no more bodies were found.

Chief Spotts identified the suspect as 35-year-old Michael Madison. He said Madison is expected to be formally charged today, but did not elaborate.

Mayor Gary Norton said the suspect has indicated he might have been influenced by Cleveland serial killer Anthony Sowell, who was convicted in 2011 of murdering 11 women and sentenced to death.

It's the latest in a series of high-profile cases involving the disappearance of women from the Cleveland area.

The odor led to the discovery Friday of one body in a garage. Two others were found Saturday -- one in a backyard and the other in the basement of a vacant house. The bodies of the three women, all in the fetal position and wrapped in plastic bags, were found about 100 to 200 yards apart, and authorities believed the victims were killed in the past six to 10 days.

Chief Spotts indicated later Sunday that the suspect's comments haven't provided clarity on whether more bodies might be found.

Mr. Norton said authorities have "lots of reasons" to suspect there are more victims, but he refused to say why. He said Madison, who was arrested Friday after a police standoff, has indicated to authorities he might have been influenced by Sowell.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Madison has an attorney, and no one was commenting Sunday afternoon at the address of his mother's home in Cleveland, which he used in registering as a sex offender, the mayor said.

Cuyahoga County medical examiner Thomas P. Gilson said Sunday that the bodies were in advanced stages of decomposition and that it would take several days to identify them and how they died.

About three dozen volunteers, including community anti-crime activists, fanned out Sunday morning across yards, through vacant houses and along a railroad to help police search. …

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