Sun. 3:43pm: Ohio chief says 1 or 2 more bodies could be found

EAST CLEVELAND (AP) – Searchers rummaging through vacant houses in a neighborhood where three female bodies were found wrapped in plastic bags should be prepared to find one or two more victims, a police chief said today.

Police Chief Ralph Spotts told the volunteers to brace themselves for the smell of rotting bodies and to look out for trash bags that might conceal a body. He declined to elaborate on his comments about the possible additional victims.

When asked about Spotts’ remark, East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton said authorities have “lots of reasons” to suspect there are more victims, but he refused to say why.

A 35-year-old registered sex offender in custody is a suspect in the deaths, Norton said. The suspect, who was arrested Friday after a police standoff, has indicated he might have been influenced by Cleveland serial killer Anthony Sowell, who was convicted in 2011 of killing 11 women and sentenced to death, Norton said.

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

The man hasn’t been charged.