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Monday
Jul222013

Suspected Serial Killer in Ohio to Be Formally Charged

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND) -- A search of vacant and abandoned houses in a Cleveland, Ohio, suburb for more possible victims came up empty on Sunday, but officials said a suspect will be formally charged Monday in connection with the deaths of three women whose bodies were found wrapped in plastic bags less than 200 yards from each other.

Michael Madison, 35, was arrested Friday after authorities uncovered the body of a woman who had been wrapped in several garbage bags in a garage near a vacant East Cleveland home where he was apprehended.

Police returned to the neighborhood to find two more bodies in the backyard and in the basement of nearby vacant homes the next day, East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton said.

All three corpses were found in the fetal position, wrapped in multiple trash bags, officials said.

Madison, a convicted sex offender, has been named a suspect in all three deaths, and he will be formally charged Monday, Norton said.

"We believe every hour he was on the street, he would have been a danger to someone," Norton told ABC News.

While the identities of the three victims are currently unknown, Norton said that investigators believe all of the victims were black women who were killed within the last six to 10 days.

Based on investigators' initial reports, only one of the bodies was found without clothing.  While Norton could only provide details on the shirts the other two women had on, he did not know if they were fully dressed when they were uncovered.

East Cleveland Police Chief Ralph Spotts called the discoveries an "absolute worst-case scenario."

Norton said families who have relatives missing called in as soon as news of the discoveries broke.

"Some concerned family members can take comfort in knowing their loved one is not one of the victims," Norton said.  With no autopsies scheduled at this time, others will have to continue to wait, he said.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed the three women were found "in states of advanced decomposition," making it difficult to determine their final causes of death, but were not soliciting DNA samples from families of missing persons at this time.

Despite the fact that Madison was registered as living at his mother's home several miles away from where the bodies were found, he was well-known in the neighborhood.

"He was a person who frequented the area, and had spoken to and approached multiple women in the area," Norton said.

It is unclear where Madison's mother is, he said, or where he was living at the time of his arrest.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio