CLEVELAND, Ohio — The discovery of the bodies of two Cleveland women within the last week is fueling fears the crimes might be connected.
However, Cleveland Police spokesman Sgt. Sammie Morris, said at this point there is no evidence the slayings of Christine Malone, 45, and Jazmine Trotter, 20, are related.
Malone’s body was found Thursday afternoon in a vacant lot on Bessemer Avenue near East 93rd Street. Police said Malone died of head trauma. She had been reported missing by her family on Tuesday.
“My mother, she was a nice person,” said her daughter, Angelique Malone. “She would give you the shirt off her back. She didn’t deserve this. She didn’t deserve this.”
Residents created a makeshift memorial to Malone, a grandmother of five, in the field where her body was found.
Despite the assurances by police that there is no obvious evidence of a connection, residents expressed concern that her murder is related to the murder of Jazmine Trotter, whose body was found on Sunday about a mile away in an abandoned home on East 93rd Street.
“Not too far apart in proximity,” said community activist Laura Cowan. “The way they died, just dumped and left there in the middle of the night. It just gave me a bad feeling. Something is going on.”
Trotter’s family members said they’ve been told it appears she was grabbed as she walked to work and was then dragged into the vacant home. Police are withholding the cause of death.
Trotter leaves behind her identical twin, Yazmine.
“It just hurts to be alone right now, because to come into the world with somebody and be with her for 20 years, about to be 21 in May, it’s just been hard to know I’m going to have to live life without her now,” she said.
Cleveland resident Nickey Lawrence brought her 17-year-old niece to a memorial for Trotter at the murder scene on East 93rd, to teach her a lesson about the realities of life.
“It’s close to home, and I want her to see what’s going on, and for her to know that it’s safer at home than it is out on the streets,” said Lawrence.
Anyone with information about the murders of Malone and Trotter is asked to call Cleveland Police homicide detectives.