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Police In East Cleveland Discover Bodies Wrapped In Plastic

East Cleveland service department employee Ray Allen breaks into an abandoned house so searchers can enter on Sunday.
Tony Dejak
East Cleveland service department employee Ray Allen breaks into an abandoned house so searchers can enter on Sunday.

Police in Ohio have discovered three bodies wrapped in plastic in a Cleveland suburb.

East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton said late Saturday that the bodies had been discovered about 100 to 200 yards apart and that a 35-year-old man – a registered sex offender who served prison time — had been arrested as a suspect in all three deaths. Authorities were searching for more bodies on Sunday, Norton told The Associated Press in an interview.

Norton told the AP that the suspect might have been influenced by serial killer Anthony Sowell, who was sentenced to death in 2011 for killing 11 women and then hiding their remains around his Cleveland home.

"He said some things that led us to believe that in some way, shape, or form, Sowell might be an influence," the mayor told AP.

The mayor, asked if the suspect had a fascination with the Sowell case, replied: "We believe so."

Update At 2:00 p.m. EDT:

East Cleveland Police Chief Ralph Spotts told searchers on Sunday that he believes there could be one or two more victims in addition to the three already recovered, but did not elaborate, according to the AP.

Nick Castele, of member station WCPN in Cleveland, reports that one body was found Friday in a garage in East Cleveland and that later that day is when the suspect, who has yet to be charged, was arrested.

On Saturday, police found another body in a lot near the garage and a third in an abandoned home.

Mayor Norton told reporters that the bodies are believed to be of three women, and may have been there six to 10 days before they were found.

"They were all wrapped in what we believe to be four to five layers of trash bags and tape, and all in the fetal position, and within 100 yards of each other, all three victims," Norton said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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