Cleveland police search after three bodies found

Police have been searching backyards and abandoned homes

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Police in the US state of Ohio are searching a neighbourhood in a Cleveland suburb after the discovery of three dead women there.

Police chief Ralph Spotts has reportedly told the 40 or so searchers to brace themselves for the possibility of finding one or two more bodies.

The three were found in separate but close locations in East Cleveland on Friday and Saturday.

A 35-year-old man, reported to be a registered sex offender, is in custody.

East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton said the suspect indicated he was influenced by local serial killer Anthony Sowell.

"He said some things that led us to believe that in some way, shape, or form, Sowell might be an influence," Mr Norton told the Associated Press.

Anthony Sowell, 52, was sentenced to death in 2011 after being convicted of killing 11 women, the remains of whom were found around his home in south-east Cleveland.

The Cleveland area was at the centre of another gruesome case in May when three women who vanished separately more than a decade ago were discovered alive in a house some 10 miles away from the latest incident.

School bus driver Ariel Castro, 53, is facing nearly 1,000 counts of kidnapping, rape, aggravated murder and other charges.

Specially-trained dogs

Police discovered the first body in the garage of a home on Friday after receiving several calls of a foul smell, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Police chief Ralph Spotts said there was a possibility more bodies could be found

The suspect, named by US media as Michael Madison, was arrested later on Friday after a two-hour stand-off by police. He has not been charged.

A search of the area on Saturday resulted in the discovery of two more bodies, one in a backyard close to the garage and another in the basement of a nearby vacant house.

Police said the women, who were all black, had been wrapped in several plastic bags and are believed to have been killed in the last 10 days.

Police Chief Spotts said the focus of the search would be on 50 to 60 abandoned buildings in the area along with railroad tracks. Specially-trained dogs have been brought in to help.

"The person in custody, some of the things he said to investigators made us go back today,'' Mayor Norton said without elaborating.

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