The first body was found in a garage Friday. Two others were found Saturday — one in a backyard and the other in the basement of a vacant house. The bodies, all women, were found about 100 to 200 yards apart, and authorities say the victims were killed in the previous six to 10 days.
The charges read in court specified a wider time frame for the alleged crimes — days or months before the bodies were found. The mayor and police chief left a news conference without taking questions on the timing of the alleged crimes.
Each body was wrapped in a plastic bag in the fetal position. “It didn’t look like a person could actually fit in the bag,” said East Cleveland Police Chief Ralph Spotts.
Police and volunteers spent all day Sunday searching for more evidence, until their search was suspended, Spotts said. Norton said Monday that no additional bodies were found, but Spotts stressed that the investigation remained open.
It’s the third recent high-profile case in the Cleveland area that involves missing women.
In May, three women who separately vanished about a decade ago were found captive in a run-down house. Ariel Castro, a former school bus driver, has been charged with nearly 1,000 counts of kidnap, rape and other crimes and has pleaded not guilty.
Castro is accused of repeatedly restraining the women, sometimes chaining them to a pole in a basement, to a bedroom heater or inside a van. The charges say one of the women tried to escape and he assaulted her with a vacuum cord around her neck. He also fathered a daughter with one captive, authorities said.
In 2009, Anthony Sowell was arrested after a woman escaped from his house and said she had been raped there. Police found the mostly nude bodies of 11 women throughout the home.
Sowell’s victims ranged in age from 24 to 52, all were recovering or current drug addicts and most died of strangulation; some had been decapitated, and others were so badly decomposed that coroners couldn’t say with certainty how they died.
He was found guilty in 2011 and sentenced to death.