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Three Bodies Found in Plastic Bags in East Cleveland

Volunteers rest while searching abandoned homes in East Cleveland. (Nick Castele / ideastream)
Volunteers rest while searching abandoned homes in East Cleveland. (Nick Castele / ideastream)

Police uncovered a body wrapped in plastic bags in a garage in East Cleveland on Friday. Later that day, they arrested a 35-year-old man after a standoff in Cleveland.

On Saturday, police returned to the same area in East Cleveland and found a body in a lot near the garage and another in an abandoned house -- all the bodies of African-American women, and wrapped in plastic, East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton said. On Sunday, volunteers searched abandoned lots and homes that litter this suburb.

East Cleveland Police Chief Ralph Spotts says there may be more than three victims.

"We do believe that there may be at least one or two more people involved in this," Spotts. "When I mean 'involved,' it may be one or two more victims."

By the end of the day, police hadn't found any more bodies, but are still investigating.

Norton has said the man taken into custody in the case told police something that made officers believe he was influenced by serial killer Anthony Sowell -- but the mayor did not elaborate.

Norton told volunteer search parties that police had removed a dangerous man from the street.

"Every hour that person would have remained on the street is another hour that's -- literally, one of you ladies, your lives would have been in danger," Norton said.

The man being held in custody has been identified as Michael Madison, a registered sex offender. He has not been charged and continues to be questioned by police.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.