“The Bug Man” Helps To Solve Cleveland’s Multiple-Murder Case


Cops call him the bug man. Joe Keiper of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History is working on one of the most puzzling cases in the city’s history: the discovery of 10 bodies in a duplex. The Los Angeles Times says Keiper is one of fewer than 20 people in the U.S. who do this sort of forensic work on a regular basis. He tracks the life of insects to solve the mysteries of human death. He has helped police and federal investigators solve 32 cases since 2001.

The clues he finds from maggots, flies, beetles, and other insects rarely paint the whole picture of death: They are only bits and pieces. But there are usually thousands upon thousands of pieces available, each contributing to the whole story. The remains of 10 women have been found at the duplex on Imperial Avenue. A skull was found in a bucket in the house’s basement. The duplex’s sole resident, Anthony Sowell, 50, has been arrested and charged with five counts of murder. Investigators continue to search for more bodies. Keiper has yet to find anything conclusive in the case. After searching through the home, he has settled in for the grueling laboratory work involved in analyzing all the bugs he collected.

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