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Page last updated at 22:57 GMT, Saturday, 31 October 2009

Six bodies at sex attacker's home

Undated police photo of Anthony Sowell
Sowell admitted his identity as officers began fingerprinting him, police said

Six bodies have been found at the home of a convicted sex offender in the city of Cleveland, Ohio, authorities say.

Police discovered the first two bodies on Thursday when they came to arrest Anthony Sowell, 50, on a rape charge.

A third was found a day later and police have now confirmed three more. The remains were recovered in the house and inside a grave dug in the backyard.

The suspect, who spent 15 years in jail for attempted rape, was arrested on Saturday not far from his home.

Cuyahoga County Coroner Frank Miller said two of the bodies had been identified as black females, one of whom had died a violent death, the Associated Press reports.

Autopsies had been performed on all six, the coroner's office said, but no cause of death was announced.

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Police search the house of Anthony Sowell in Cleveland, Ohio

Police chief Michael McGrath told a news conference that Sowell had offered no resistance when arrested, following a tip-off, while walking down the street on Saturday at around noon.

The suspect initially denied he was the man authorities were looking for, but admitted his identity as officers began fingerprinting him, police said.

Chief McGrath said the bodies were in "various states of being decomposed" and could have been in the two-storey house for up to six months.

It was such a disgusting sight... the stench from inside was overwhelming
Lt Thomas Stacho

He said Sowell had initially lived in the property with his aunt and uncle, but that his uncle had passed away and his aunt had gone to a nursing home about a year ago.

Police Lt Thomas Stacho told CNN: "It was such a disgusting sight."

"I can tell you I stood outside the home for about an hour yesterday, and the stench from inside was overwhelming," he added.

Neighbours told media that the suspect made a living from looking for scrap metal to sell.

"He was crazy," said Teresa Hicks, who has known Sowell since school. "Sometimes he would just go off if he didn't have his way."

Missing-person reports are being checked dating to June 2005, when Sowell was released from prison.

Crowds have been gathering outside Sowell's home, in the city's East Side, holding posters of missing loved ones.


5 Nov, 2009: An earlier version of this story stated that Anthony Sowell had been convicted of a 1989 rape. He was in fact convicted of attempted rape.



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