A Second Serial Killer In Ohio

Anthony Sowell was not the only serial killer in Ohio,

While investigating Sowell police discovered that they had had a second killer walking the streets.

A cold case investigation into the possibility of more victims than the 11 bodies unearthed at the home of Anthony Sowell in 2009 has led to the possibility of another serial killer in the area.

Sowell who left a grisly trail of bodies throughout his residence was suspected of having more victims that were not accounted for.The TimesOnLine reports from November 2009: “The latest discoveries bring the total number of human remains to emerge from Sowell’s ramshackle inner city property in Cleveland, Ohio, to ten — with the skull suggesting a possible eleventh victim. Police have dug up four rotting corpses from shallow graves in his back garden and found other remains hidden in the basement, in a third-floor living room and in a crawl space under the house eaves. The skull was wrapped in a paper bag in a bucket.”

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“I think it was on everyone’s mind,” says Richard Bell, one of the city’s chief prosecutors and director of Cuyahoga County’s cold-case unit. “We were not only finding bodies in his attic, but there were bodies out in the yard. The crew had to stay out there extensively, for days and days, wondering if they had dug deep enough.”

County Prosecutor Bill Mason said there was nothing to do but reopen the cases of the old, unsolved murders of women who resembled the victims found in Sowell’s house: poor, drug-addicted black women.

“Our approach to all of this was to find more Sowell victims,” Mason says. “Because we believed there were more.”

Mason’s cold-case team pulled the files of 75 unsolved homicides from within a three-mile radius of the two homes on the east side of town where Sowell — who has pleaded not guilty to killing the women — had lived since the 1980s. They dusted off old paperwork, pored over the reports and searched for any biological evidence that might still be tested for DNA.

“What we didn’t expect to find,” Bell says, “was another serial murderer.”


One day in November, a year after the bodies were found in Sowell’s home, O’Malley walked into Bell’s office and said there was a DNA hit in one of the surge cases: Mary Thomas, 27, who was strangled and beaten to death in 1989.

But the name on the lab report was not Anthony Sowell.

It was Joseph Harwell, who pleaded guilty to fatally strangling a woman near Columbus in 1997 and is currently serving 15 years to life at a prison in Mansfield, an hour south of Cleveland. Harwell, 50, has a long criminal history dating back to the 1970s, including a conviction for felonious assault in 1989, when he attempted to strangle another woman, who survived.

Harwell had already shown up once before on the cold-case radar. In 2008 — before any bodies were found in Sowell’s home — investigators had traced Harwell’s DNA to yet another woman killed near that East Cleveland neighborhood.

Investigators say there’s no evidence that Sowell and Harwell even knew each other. What they had in common was jail time for attacking a woman before they were accused of killing anyone. Investigators say they also shared a desire to rape and kill poor, drug-addicted black women.

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Two killers, no one is certain how many victims and it all happened within a relatively small area.

I do not like to be a fear monger but stories like this make me wonder how many serial killers are walking the street right now,

I know there is at least 1 in NJ, 1 in NY, 1 in Florida and 1 in Jennings Louisiana that have been caught as of now. I am not even including the many cases of  ‘possible’ serial victims. I am also only speaking of the ones in the United States that I have heard of.

Again, not trying to create fear just wondering in print, kind of like talking to myself out loud.

Another article about this

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