Six Women Found Dead at Convicted Rapist's Home in Ohio

World | November 1, 2009, Sunday // 11:01
Bulgaria: Six Women Found Dead at Convicted Rapist's Home in Ohio Police arrested convicted sex offender Anthony Sowell, a suspect in six deaths at his house in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by CNN

Six women found dead at a Cleveland, Ohio, home appeared to have been strangled, and their decomposing bodies could have been lying there for "weeks, if not months or years," a coroner told CNN on Saturday.

Police discovered the bodies at the home of Anthony Sowell, a 50-year-old convicted rapist, after they tried to serve an arrest and search warrant for him related to a sexual assault investigation.

On Thursday, detectives from the department's sex-crimes unit and members of its SWAT team went to Sowell's home to execute the warrant and to arrest the suspect, but he was nowhere to be found, Cleveland Police spokesman Lt. Thomas Stacho said.

Five female victims were found inside the home, and another female body was discovered outside the home, said Cuyahoga County Coroner Frank Miller III.

Miller's office had yet to identify the victims, who all died of "homicidal violence," he said.

Stacho said a tipster told officers of Sowell's whereabouts and police arrested him Saturday afternoon as he walked on a street near the 4th District Police Headquarters.

About a month ago, a woman accused Sowell of rape and felonious assault, Stacho said Friday.

Five different burial methods were used on the victims, and the bodies were in varying states of decomposition, Miller said, making it difficult to determine the ages of the victims. He added that the states of the bodies made it hard to tell how long they had lain in the makeshift graves.

Sowell was convicted for a 1989 rape for which he was imprisoned from 1990 to 2005, Stacho said.

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