Nightly News   |  October 31, 2009

Police: Bodies found at sex offender's home

Oct. 31: Anthony Sowell – who fled before police arrived to arrest him on rape charges – was arrested after as many as six bodies were found in his home. NBC’s Lee Cowan reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> thank you for that reporting.

>>> we turn to a disturbing story in cleveland , ohio. police have found what may be as many as six bodies inside the home of a convicted rapist. tonight that man is behind bars as police try to determine who the victims are and how they died. nbc's lee cowan has our report.

>> reporter: this three-story home on imperial avenue on cleveland 's east side has been hiding a terrible secret. for how long, no one knows. inside police found two bodies on the third floor, one under the stairs in the basement, perhaps two more hidden in a crawl space , and one buried in the backyard.

>> we have three bodies located. we also have removed from the scene what we believe to be are three additional bodies.

>> reporter: in custody is anthony sowwell, a 50-year-old registered sex offender around convicted rapist. he's lived in the home since getting out of prison in 2005 . right around the same time neighbors say that women began to disappear.

>> you live in the hood 40 years you know who the neighborhood girl are. the neighborhood girls start getting scared.

>> i have a friend named janice webb who disappeared. we haven't seen her since june.

>> reporter: and she isn't alone. sowell's home has become a grim gathering place for those searching for lost loved ones. police set up a command center for people to bring dna to help identify the remains.

>> we just need to know . if it's not here, we can continue to look for her.

>> reporter: one of the victims some fear is nancy, a cleveland mother last seen six months ago walking to a neighborhood store.

>> when we hear about something happened this close to home , we kind of figure that's it.

>> reporter: police had originally gone to sowell's home to arrest him in connection with another rape, only to find him gone and the bodies decomposing in his wake. he was later nabbed and remains behind bars as the charges mount. lee cowan, nbc news.