Five of the 11 women whose bodies were found at the Cleveland home of serial-killing suspect Anthony Sowell went missing after Cleveland Heights police failed to test a rape kit that prosecutors now say matches Sowell’s DNA, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. About a month before Sowell’s trial is set to begin, prosecutors announced that they intend to use the testimony of a woman who said Sowell abducted her from a bus stop in April 2009 and raped her repeatedly in his home.
Sowell, 51, is charged with multiple counts of aggravated murder, kidnapping, abusing a corpse and tampering with evidence in the deaths of the 11 women. He faces the death penalty if convicted. He also is accused of attacking several other women who survived. State officials are unsure if Sowell’s DNA would have been in the statewide database authorities began building in 2002 using samples collected from prisoners. Sowell served 15 years for attempted rape before his release in 2005, but not all prisoners were forced to submit to testing. Cleveland police came under criticism in the months following his arrest after two women came forward to say they also had reported attacks by Sowell but their cases were not properly investigated.