Sex offender 'fascinated' by Cleveland Strangler case held by police after three women's bodies are found

Police are carrying out a further search for additional victims amid concern there may be more bodies

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The Independent US

Police investigating the discovery in a Cleveland suburb of three bodies wrapped in plastic bags fear they may have been hidden by a registered sex offender who was influenced by the Cleveland Strangler Anthony Sowell.

During interviews 35-year-old suspect, Michael Madison, led police to believe he had a 'fascination' with Sowell who is on death row for the murders of eleven women.

A woman’s body was discovered in a garage on Friday and two further corpses were found on Saturday, one in the basement of a vacant house and another in a nearby backyard. All three women are believed to have been killed in the last six to 10 days.

The women were all found around 150 yards apart and police are carrying out a further search for additional victims amid concern there may be more bodies.

According to local media reports police connected Madison to the murders after one of the women’s bodies was found next to a car he was driving.

Police have confirmed that all the bodies were female but have not identified them or established a cause of death. According to reports all of the women were black and the bodies were wrapped in four or five plastic bags.

Asked if the suspect in the murders has a fascination with the Sowell case, East Cleveland mayor Gary Norton said: "We believe so."

Mr Madison said “some things that led us to believe that in some way, shape, or form, Sowell might be an influence", Mayor Norton told reporters.

Anthony Sowell, who was identified in press reports as the 'Cleveland Strangler', is awaiting the death penalty for murdering 11 women and hiding their remains in his home. Sowell was charged with eleven counts of murder, rape, and kidnapping.

He initially pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity but later changed his plea to simply "not guilty". He has since appealed for his sentence to be commuted to life in prison on the basis he did not receive a fair trial.

Mayor Gary Norton told reporters that due to the number of abandoned houses in the area the authorities were being thorough in their search of the neighbourhood of 17,000 residents.

Around twenty minutes drive south west of the East Cleveland suburb a two mile stretch of road has also recently been the focus of unsolved murder investigations after three women were stabbed or beaten to death between December 17, 2012 and March 24, 2013.

The murders raised fears that another serial killer like Anthony Sowell was on the loose in the Cleveland suburbs.

It is not known if the killings are connected.