As the unthinkable case of the Anthony Sowell murders continues to unravel, I can’t help but to wonder how this could really happen considering all the facts.
Sowell was a man on parole and a registered sex offender, there were numerous times when officials had to visit his home for more reasons then regular parole checks.
Why is it that no one smelled anything? Why didn’t the citizens know that they had a registered sex offender in their neighborhood? Why did so many women go missing without follow up or intensive search by the authorities?
All these questions lead to one much deeper question that plagues not only the urban Cleveland community that was so brutally affected by the senseless acts of crime committed by Anthony Sowell, but all lower socio-economic communities in America…Did the authorities drop the ball because they didn’t care enough?
I came across an interesting article that shed some light on that question below…
All of the signs pointed to the fact that something was horribly wrong in Anthony Sowell’s Cleveland neighborhood.
Police waited more than a month before heading to the home of the convicted sex offender after a woman accused him of rape. A terrible odor that many neighbors said smelled like decaying flesh hung in the air for more than a year. Neighbors reported seeing a scraped and bruised woman fall from Sowell’s second floor window.
That’s not all.
Sowell, 50, walked around smelling so rancid that a store owner opened his front and back doors when he entered to buy beer. Meanwhile, parole officers arrived regularly at Sowell’s home to check in on him as required by law but didn’t notice anything askew.
“I’m not going to point fingers, but at the end of the day, someone clearly dropped the ball,” Cleveland Councilman Zack Reed told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
So when officers finally decided to investigate the horrendous smell coming from Sowell’s home and found two decaying bodies upstairs, nobody should have been surprised. Authorities have since discovered the remains of 11 African American women, most of whom had been strangled.
A 53-year-old woman named Tonia Carmichael was the first victim to be identified today. Her family reported her missing almost a year ago.Reed is right. Lots of people dropped the ball, including officials like him. I wonder how many complaints Sowell’s neighbors filed with the police about the dreadful stench coming from his home.
I can’t believe authorities did not think it was possible for a violent rapist to graduate to murder. Sowell was convicted in 1989 of raping and strangling a woman who was three months pregnant. He told the woman he was going to kill her but she was able to escape
This is whatCleveland Police Chief Michael McGrathsaid about Sowell after his arrest: “He had an insatiable appetite to fill.”
Police didn’t act that way.
As police excavate Sowell’s home in search of other potential victims, they also need to reexamine how they deal with sexual predators and missing people. If this were a white neighborhood, I wonder if more extensive efforts wouldn’t have been taken to identify the odor.
I’m amazed that 10 people could go missing for weeks, months and years without authorities launching a search to find out what happened. The missing persons cases that make the most news are usually white middle-class women, such as Natalee Holloway or Elizabeth Smart, even though FBI statistics show that people of color make up 40 percent of those reported missing, a highly disproportionate number.
“It’s mind-boggling when it comes to missing persons of color that we don’t get the attention,” Derrica Wilson, CEO and founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, told AOL Black Voices in an interview. “It bothers me that law enforcement did not take action before this was discovered.”
Wilson, who also works as a law enforcement officer, wondered how police could have visited Sowell’s home on numerous occasions and not noticed the smell of death; some thought the odor was coming from a neighborhood sausage shop.
“That stench, there is nothing like it. You should be able to distinguish between dead human and animal flesh. Not to mention, he was a convicted violent rapist. Being a law enforcement officer, I question what happened when police went to that home,” said Wilson.
Now, the families of some women who have been reported missing in Sowell’s neighborhood are coming forward. One of them, Kyana Hunt, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that her mother, 43-year-old Nancy Cobbs, lived one block from Sowell and has been missing for seven months.
“She always comes home. It’s not just like her to disappear,” Hunt said.
Now, it’s up to the community to do what should have been done before this tragedy and demand accountability from authorities. Reports of missing people should be taken seriously, regardless of the color of the person missing. Complaints from neighbors about the same issue for years should be thoroughly investigated.
“How can we be better keepers for our communities? It takes a village. It takes everyone in the community to follow up,” Wilson said.
Definitely food for thought…you be the judge.
-article courtesy of bvblackspin