Volunteers Search Vacant Homes in East Cleveland

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — There may be an additional one to two more bodies to find in the East Cleveland area where three women have already been found dead, according to Chief Ralph Spotts.

Michael Madison, 35, has been arrested in connection with the three murders. Police Chief Ralph Spotts said there may be one or two more victims based on information Madison gave police.

“Just made us think there is a little more to it, and we want to be sure to do the best we can. So we’re going to search as many of the areas, surrounding areas as we can,” Chief Spotts said.

Police and BCI officials search a field near Hayden and Shaw Avenues

Police and BCI officials search a field near Hayden and Shaw Avenues

Sunday, BCI and police focused on an empty lot at Hayden and Shaw Avenues. The lot is directly left of Madison’s apartment.

Dozens of men, women and children searched vacant and abandoned houses near the area of Hayden and Shaw Avenues as well.  East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton said this type of community effort to help police has never happened before.

“We can cover a larger area with community volunteers, so we want to get eyes and ears inside these vacant and abandoned houses and see what’s going on and see if there is any additional thing we need to pay attention to,” Mayor Norton said.

Fox 8 News reporter Maria Scali asked Chief Spotts if they are dealing with a serial killer.

“It’s how you define serial killer. But, we feel he’s responsible for at least three murders, so far,“ Chief Spotts said.

Nathenia Crosby knows the suspect as “Ivan” and didn’t like the 35-year-old man’s interest in teenage girls.

“I said, ‘Ivan, nothing better not happen to her. She better make it home at a decent time.  Nothing better not happen to my daughter, or the last one she was with was you,” Crosby added.

Crosby said Madison was at her house for July 4th festivities and heard him saying how he admired Anthony Sowell.

The volunteers searched inside and outside the abandoned houses, through deplorable conditions, not knowing what they might find.

The searchers were told to pay special attention to any garbage bags. In all three cases, police said the women were found in a fetal position wrapped in garbage bags.

Apyrl Clark explained why she joined the search.

“Helping — this could be my daughter, my niece, my nephew.  It could be anyone of us,” she said.

The plan was to cover four streets, but police said the searchers covered many more and looked through hundreds of vacant and abandoned houses.

Police believe the women were likely killed in the last 6 to 10 days.

Ages and identities have not been released.

Officials said it is too early to determine how the women died. On Sunday, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office said because of the state of decomposition, identification and cause of death could take several days.

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