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Onlookers flock to site of Cleveland killings

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Reggie Turner stopped by a growing memorial to 11 victims of an alleged serial killer because he knew one of the women. Michelle Lee came to pay her respects as a mother and grandmother.

The street corner opposite the home dubbed Cleveland's "House of Horrors" buzzes with visits from mourners, well-wishers, politicians and the curious.

"We wanted our children to understand what has occurred, to understand how people go missing," said Cliff Westwood, who brought his 9-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son by late Saturday afternoon.

Police discovered the first two bodies and a freshly dug grave Oct. 29 at the house on the city's east side. By Oct. 31 six bodies had been identified. The number grew to 11 by Tuesday.

In the first few days, there was no memorial, no outward expression of grief. Even after five bodies were unearthed from Anthony Sowell's back yard Tuesday, only a few candles flickered on the sidewalk across from the house.

The missing board went up late Wednesday afternoon. It stayed empty for a few hours. The next morning there were about a dozen names and faces, mostly women and mostly black. A few were white or Hispanic.

Some fliers carry the names of women — "Amy," "Nancy," — whose remains have been identified. Others beg for news about people long missing and unlikely to be among Sowell's alleged victims, all of whom were black. "Missing Person-Christina Adkins," one says. "Last Seen on January 10, 1995."

Many people wrote notes on the board. "God Bless," "R.I.P.," "We die young cause we living fast."

Yellow police tape stretches across Sowell's house and the abandoned house on the left. A police cruiser sat outside the house Sunday, part of an around-the-clock presence, though authorities say they have no immediate plans to go back inside and search.

Lee made the 25-minute drive from suburban Highland Heights to the scene because she couldn't stop thinking about the victims. "It could have been my mother. It could have been my sister. It could have been my grandma. It could have been my daughter," said the 47-year-old Lee, a caregiver. "I feel this connection to come down and just show my love and support."

Onlookers flock to site of Cleveland killings 11/08/09 [Last modified: Sunday, November 8, 2009 9:57pm]
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