EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — The gruesome discovery of three women’s bodies wrapped in plastic might only be the beginning — authorities fear there may be more.
The bodies were found not far from one another in East Cleveland, Ohio, over the weekend.
Police have arrested 35-year-old Michael Madison, who leased the garage where one of the bodies was found, but no charges were immediately filed.
“We are dealing with a sick individual, and we have reason to believe that there might be more victims,” East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton said.
The mayor said Madison was “influenced” by serial killer Anthony Sowell, who was convicted of killing 11 women in the same Ohio county — Cuyahoga County. Sowell was sentenced to death.
“Unfortunately, this is a sick individual who appears to have been influenced by another sick individual,” Norton said. “If he had been out for one more hour, there’s no telling what would have happened.”
Who are the victims?
The three bodies were so badly decomposed that it could be days before their identities are determined, the county’s medical examiner’s office said.
The first victim was found Friday in the garage leased by Madison. She was naked with indications 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.
Norton believes the killings happened over a 10-day period and that the same assailant is responsible.
“One of the things that makes us believe it’s the same suspect is the way that they were all wrapped … and the same concealment of each of the victims,” he said.
Who is the suspect?
Authorities obtained a search warrant for Madison’s apartment and found “additional evidence of decomposition” there, East Cleveland police Detective Sgt. Scott Gardner said.
Madison’s was later found at his mothers house. After a standoff, police took Madison into custody.
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 the blocking of a 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.”
East Cleveland, which has about 18,000 people, is 7 miles northeast of Cleveland, Ohio.
CNN’s Chris Welch, Morgan Winsor and Alina Cho contributed to this report.
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