Police filed aggravated murder and kidnapping charges Monday against a man arrested after the discovery of three women's bodies wrapped in plastic.
A Cuyahoga County judge ordered Michael Madison, 35, held on $6 million bond during his arraignment Monday.
While authorities did not find more bodies Sunday, as was initially feared, East Cleveland police Chief Ralph Spotts said workers continue to search.
“This is an ongoing investigation. We are nowhere near done,” he said.
The bodies were found within a few blocks from each other in East Cleveland over the weekend. Madison, who is accused of three counts of aggravated murder and three counts of kidnapping, may have been inspired by a local serial killer, officials said.
Madison leased the garage where one of the bodies was found, according to authorities.
“We are dealing with a sick individual, and we have reason to believe that there might be more victims,” East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton told CNN.
Spotts told CNN affiliate WEWS over the weekend that investigators received “a lot of information” from interviews with Madison and residents.
The mayor said Madison was “influenced” by serial killer Anthony Sowell, who was convicted of killing 11 women in the same Ohio county, Cuyahoga. Sowell was sentenced to death in 2011.
“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?
While the three bodies were badly decomposed, authorities were able to identify one: Angela Deskins, 38, of Cleveland.
It could take days before officials can determine their identities and causes of death, Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson said Monday.
The first victim was found Friday in the garage leased by Madison. She was naked with signs 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.
All three victims appear to be young black women. Their bodies were wrapped in plastic garbage bags and taped up, authorities said.
Norton, the city's mayor, 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?
The trail that led to Madison's arrest began with a foul odor coming from the garage he leased, East Cleveland police Detective Sgt. Scott Gardner said. That's where police found the first body.
Authorities obtained a search warrant for Madison's apartment Friday and found “additional evidence of decomposition” there, Gardner said.
Police later found Madison at his mother's house in nearby Cleveland. After a standoff, he was taken into custody.
When detectives returned to Madison's neighborhood to scour for evidence Saturday, they found the two bodies in the field and the abandoned house.
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 a blocked 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.”
Search for more bodies
About 100 volunteers went house to house Sunday “to see if there's anything else out there that police need to know about,” the mayor said. Cadaver dogs also assisted in the search.
The police chief said anything is possible.
“We're still not satisfied. There's a possibility there may be something else,” Spotts told WEWS. “So we're going to exhaust everything we have to make sure that — hopefully — we don't find anything else.”
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