CLEVELAND, Ohio — A 53-year-old Warrensville Heights woman has been identified as the first victim found in Anthony Sowell’s home, a relative says.
Donnita Carmichael says Cleveland police notified her family this afternoon that her mother, Tonia, was found in the house. Police did not divulge the cause of death.
“We expected the worst when these bodies starting popping up,” she said, sobbing. “We knew she could be one of them. We feared this.”
Coroner’s officials now confirm that they have found 11 bodies at Sowell’s home. All of them are black women. At least five of them were strangled.
Tonia Carmichael disappeared about Nov. 10, and a family member found the car she was driving about one mile from Sowell’s Imperial Avenue home, according to a missing persons report filed with Warrensville Heights police. Her family reported her missing after several attempts at reaching her.
Her family became concerned after not hearing from Tonia and learning that she failed to pick up two paychecks at a work-placement center on East 55th Street, according to the missing persons report. She often hung out on East 118th Street and Oakfield Street, about a mile from Sowell’s home on Imperial.
The family recovered the vehicle used by Tonia Carmichael neat East 118th and Kinsman Road.
Detectives also interviewed a man who repaired the car Tonia Carmichael drove in November 2008. He said Carmichael told him that she had to run a few errands and then planned on having “some fun.”
Over a span of months, Warrensville Heights detectives checked several homes near Oakfield and East 118th Street, as well as motels and taverns in East Cleveland, but found no indication of Carmichael, records show.
Courtesy of www.cleveland.com