Skip to main content

Authorities work to identify East Cleveland victims as suspect is charged

By Anna Coren. Michael Pearson and Emily Smith, CNN
July 22, 2013 -- Updated 2352 GMT (0752 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Medical examiner asks for public help in two unidentified victims
  • Suspect in the deaths of three women is charged with aggravated murder, kidnapping
  • Michael Madison, 35, has been arrested in the deaths
  • The suspect "idolized" serial killer Anthony Sowell, the mayor of East Cleveland says

East Cleveland, Ohio (CNN) -- A man who police say might have looked to the work of an infamous Cleveland serial killer for his inspiration was formally charged Monday in the deaths of three women whose bodies were found over the weekend, two of which are still unidentified.

Michael Madison, 35, was ordered held on $6 million bond after authorities filed three counts of aggravated murder and three counts of kidnapping against him.

The bodies were found within a few blocks from each other in East Cleveland over the weekend. The first victim was found Friday in the garage leased by Madison. She was naked with signs of trauma, police said.

Two other bodies were found Saturday -- one in an abandoned house, the other in a nearby field. One of those women was wearing a green hoodie, and the other was wearing a leopard-print leotard.

Ohio man charged with 3 counts of murder
Chief: Women claim they escaped him
3 bodies found wrapped in plastic
Women found wrapped in plastic

All three victims appear to be young black women. Their decomposed bodies were wrapped similarly in plastic garbage bags and taped up, authorities said.

Mayor Gary Norton believes the killings happened over a 10-day period and that the same assailant is responsible.

Norton identified one of the women, previously known as Victim No. 2, as Angela Deskins, 38, of Cleveland.

Help sought to ID two other victims

Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson pleaded with help from the public to identify the other women, one of whom had several tattoos, including two featuring the name "Gene." Their identification could take days, he said.

East Cleveland police Chief Ralph Spotts declined to answer questions about the case.

"This is an ongoing investigation. We are nowhere near done," he said.

Madison might have been influenced by serial killer Anthony Sowell, who was sentenced to death in 2011 after being convicted of killing 11 women in Cuyahoga County, Norton said.

"Unfortunately, this is a sick individual who appears to have been influenced by another sick individual," Norton said over the weekend. "If he had been out for one more hour, there's no telling what would have happened."

Spotts and Norton thanked residents who assisted in the weekend search for potential victims. Some 100 people helped, they said.

Fast facts on serial killers

Who is the suspect?

The trail that led to Madison's arrest began with a foul odor coming from the garage he leased, East Cleveland police Detective Sgt. Scott Gardner said. That's where police found the first body.

Authorities got a search warrant for Madison's apartment Friday and found "additional evidence of decomposition" there, Gardner said.

Police later found Madison at his mother's house in nearby Cleveland. After a standoff, he was taken into custody.

When detectives returned to Madison's neighborhood to scour for evidence Saturday, they found the other two bodies in the field and the abandoned house.

According to police, Madison was convicted of attempted rape in 2001 and is a registered sex offender.

CNN could not immediately reach a representative for Madison.

Shaeaun Child, a neighbor who tipped police off about the foul smell in the garage, told CNN he knows Madison. He said the two once argued over a blocked driveway.

"From what I know, he was an OK person when I first met him. And then from there, he actually, he had a lot of conflicts with different girls that he knew," Child said. "When he real upset with someone, he get real loud. You could hear him like two blocks away."

CNN's John Branch, Chris Welch, Morgan Winsor and Alina Cho contributed to this report

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT)
Tethered to an IV drip, 71-year-old Shin Young Ja lies under a thin fleece blanket, nursing a broken back and wracked with survivor's guilt.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
Family members of the missing passengers are pinning slim hopes on floundering air pockets.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1614 GMT (0014 HKT)
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 0934 GMT (1734 HKT)
The Hadza are one of the last communities of hunter-gatherers in the world -- but losing their land.
April 19, 2014 -- Updated 0122 GMT (0922 HKT)
In choosing to change a traditional practice, Francis is being as radical as Jesus was in his own time.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
Too weak. Can't handle pressure. Unattractive to sponsors. Susie Wolff has heard it all.
April 20, 2014 -- Updated 0249 GMT (1049 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
It's like finding a needle in a universe-wide haystack. Researchers have located a planet roughly the size of Earth that could be habitable.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 0940 GMT (1740 HKT)
Dubai, long champion of all things biggest, longest and most expensive, will soon have some competition from a neighboring country.
ADVERTISEMENT