Garrido and Sowell: where was the supervision?
Sowell’s Cleveland neighbours want answers as Garrido’s parole officers are attacked in official report
Police investigating the murders of 11 women at the home of Anthony Sowell have made their first identification of a victim: she was Tonia Carmichael, a 52-year-old Cleveland woman who went missing more than a year ago. Her daughter, Donnita, told reporters yesterday the police had notified her that one of the bodies discovered in the house on Imperial Avenue was that of her mother.
"We expected the worst when these bodies starting popping up," said Donnita. "We knew she could be one of them. We feared this."
Reports emerging from the house, where the police investigation continues, paint a sickening picture. Two of the bodies were simply lying on the living-room floor. A skull was found wrapped in paper sitting in a bucket.
The district coroner has already concluded that seven of the women, all of whom were black, died of ligature strangulation, one of manual strangulation. But some of the bodies are so decomposed that an expert from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History has had to be called in to help to establish the date of death.
"It appears that this man had an insatiable appetite that he had to fill," said Michael McGrath, the local chief of police, as Sowell appeared in court charged with murder, rape and kidnap.
A former US Marine, Sowell moved into the house in East Cleveland in 2005 after serving 15 years in jail for raping a woman who was three months pregnant.
What neighbours are asking is why Sowell apparently received so little supervision from the authorities when he was a known, registered sex offender. As The First Post reported yesterday, there was a catalogue of incidents - including a naked woman falling from an upstairs window - that might have been expected to raise the alarm.
Neighbours' questions arise just as the authorities in another headline abduction case are heavily criticised for inadequate supervision.
According to a report issued by California's Inspector General, Phillip Garrido, the man who abducted Jaycee Lee Dugard in 1991 and held her captive in California for 18 years, fathering two children with her, was wrongly classified as low-risk. As a result, many chances of discovering Dugard were missed over the years.
The report lists numerous lapses by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, including the failure to refer Garrido for a mental health assessment and a lack of discussion with neighbours and local agencies.
It is the latter point that will echo with the Cleveland neighbours of Anthony Sowell: they had been complaining for years about the stench emanating from Sowell's home - and the authorities took no notice. ·
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