Case against Ohio bodies suspect expands overseas

Author: By Thomas J. Sheeran, Associated Press

The FBI will investigate any leads in the case against Anthony Sowell, 50, who
served in the Marines from 1978 to 1985, said Scott Wilson, an FBI spokesman
in Cleveland.

FBI behavioral specialists visited the Sowell property during the weekend and
will try to develop a profile of the killings that could help determine
whether investigations need to be opened or reopened elsewhere, Wilson said.

Sowell was stationed at various times at South Carolina; North Carolina;
Okinawa, Japan; and Camp Pendleton, California.

The city of East Cleveland is also reviewing three unsolved slayings in 1988
and 1989, after Sowell returned there from service in the Marines and before
he went to prison for attempted rape, said Sgt. Ken Bolton, a detective for
the police department in the Cleveland suburb.

Sowell has been charged in Cleveland with five counts of aggravated murder in
connection with the bodies found at the home.

He was indicted yesterday on one count of attempted murder, two counts of
rape, two counts of kidnapping and two counts of felonious assault in an
alleged attack September 22 that led to the search of his home.

Sowell has asked for a court-appointed attorney, but court records don’t
reflect that one has been chosen.

The FBI will review its national database of unsolved crimes for any clues to
possible connections to Sowell, particularly at his military service
locations, Wilson said. The first step is to get a detailed timeline of his
service, Wilson said.

Police in Coronado, California, near Camp Pendleton, said a woman told them
that she saw Sowell’s mug shot on TV and was sure he had raped her in 1979.

Officers talked with the woman but were unable to confirm her story because
rape investigation records from 30 years ago have been thrown out, said
Jesus Ochoa, Coronado police commander.

“She seemed credible,” he said.

Near Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown and his
deputies are sifting through paper records to check for any unsolved
killings or disappearances during the time Sowell was at the Marine base
from May 20, 1978, to July 12, 1978.

Brown said he has already run Sowell’s name through computerized court files
and hasn’t found that Sowell got so much as a traffic ticket while in the
area. But the paper search is slow going.

“The computer technology then is not what it is now,” Brown said.

Near Parris Island, where Sowell did his initial Marine training, Beaufort
County authorities said they were waiting to be told the specific dates
Sowell lived in the area before going back over any cases.

“Once we have received more concrete information regarding the time frame in
question, we will certainly be evaluating any connections to unsolved crimes
in our area,” said sheriff’s Cpl. Robin McIntosh.

The unsolved East Cleveland slayings of Rosalind Garner on May 27, 1988,
Carmella Prater on Feb. 27, 1989, and Mary Thomas on March 28, 1989, will be
checked against the autopsies of the bodies found at Sowell’s home to check
for similarities, Bolton said.

“It’s for the family’s closure,” he said. “They are unsolved and they happened
around the time that he was not in jail.”

No connections had been made by Monday, he said.

Also Monday, the remains of two additional women ? Janice Webb, 48, and Kim
Yvette Smith, 44 ? were identified by the Cuyahoga County coroner’s office,
according to Cleveland police Lt. Thomas Stacho.

Webb, of Cleveland, was last seen June 3 and reported missing Aug. 2. Webb had
a son and three grandchildren and had struggled with alcohol and drug
addictions, said her sister, JoAnn Moore.

“She was loving and regardless of her addiction, she knew that we loved her
unconditionally,” Moore said.

Police said they had searched for Webb by checking with friends and relatives
and at hospitals and shelters. Webb’s boyfriend, Ronnie Bowie, said he last
saw her in June when she left to visit family and friends in Sowell’s
neighborhood.

Smith, also of Cleveland, was last seen Jan. 1, police said.

Police discovered the first two bodies and a freshly dug grave Oct. 29 at the
house on the city’s east side. The number grew to 11 by Tuesday.

Investigators returned Monday to the house, which has been cordoned off as a
crime scene under 24-hour guard, but there was no immediate word on their
activities inside.

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