Six bodies found at Cleveland rapist's home

CLEVELAND — A convicted rapist who fled before police arrived to arrest him on new rape charges was arrested Saturday in his inner-city neighborhood after police found six bodies at his home.

Police spokesman Lt. Thomas Stacho said Anthony Sowell was walking down a street when authorities saw him and took him into custody.

Sowell initially denied he was the man authorities were looking for but admitted his identity as officers began fingerprinting him, Stacho said. Charges against him are pending.

Officers initially identified three bodies at Sowell's home, Stacho said. Powell Caesar, a spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office, said additional remains were found and confirmed Saturday as three more bodies.

As of Saturday, autopsies had been performed on all six bodies but no cause of death or names were announced. Two autopsies were done Friday.

The first two bodies were found Thursday night when police went to Sowell's home to arrest him on charges of felonious assault and rape. Police say he had spent 15 years in prison for a 1989 rape.

Cuyahoga County Coroner Frank Miller identified two bodies as black females and said one had died of a violent death ruled a homicide. No race or gender was announced for the others.

Police established a command post in the neighborhood to take missing-person reports and additional information on missing persons in the neighborhood.

Teresa Hicks, 48, was among the neighbors who said they were relieved about the arrest but left with a heightened fear of crime. She said she has known Sowell since high school.

"He was crazy," she said from her porch Saturday. "Sometimes he would just go off if he didn't have his way."

Darren Dunlap, 38, frequently visits the neighborhood to see his brother or friends. He said Sowell was known for borrowing money and looking for scrap metal to sell.

Detectives with a search warrant found two bodies Thursday on the third floor of a duplex and began checking a fresh grave dug in the basement. The bodies were in an advanced state of decomposition, suggesting they'd been in the home a long time.

Police were checking missing-person reports back to June 2005, when Sowell was released from prison.

As a convicted sex offender, Sowell was required to report regularly to the Sheriff's Office, which said he had complied.

Six bodies found at Cleveland rapist's home 11/01/09 [Last modified: Sunday, November 1, 2009 12:00am]

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