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Serial murders in East Cleveland

JAMES W. WADE III | 7/25/2013, 10:35 a.m.
East Cleveland residents are outraged at the newest blemish on their city. Three bodies have been found all in the ...
Angela Deskin, Shetisha Sheeley, and Shirellda Helen Terry

East Cleveland residents are outraged at the newest blemish on their city. Three bodies have been found all in the same general area. Police Chief Ralph Spotts said, in a press conference, they first found the body of a woman on July 19.

All the victims were African American females.

Linked to these murders is 35 year-old Michael Madison who was arrested on the corner of E. 197 and Chickasaw after hiding out in his mother’s home. Initial assessments dubbed Madison a serial killer because he maintained an M.O. of wrapping all the bodies in several layers of plastic, in fetal position.

Angela Deskins, the first of three victims to be identified in the East Cleveland killings, had been missing since June 7, according to a missing person report on file with Cleveland police. She was identified through fingerprint comparisons.

The 38-year-old Cleveland resident was last seen in the 3300 block of East 87th Street in Cleveland. She usually wore blue jeans, a black shirt and glasses, the police report said. Deskins was reported missing on July 1.

The second of the three victims is 28-year-old Shetisha D. Sheeley. She was one found in a field. Tips came in from the community after hearing the information about her tattoos. “We are committed to a search and we will continue to investigate these killings,” said Mayor Gary Norton.

Yesterday evening, local news reports said the third East Cleveland victim was identified as missing teen Shirellda Terry, 18. Terry left for work and disappeared about 1 p.m. July 10 and was last seen at East 147th Street and St. Clair Avenue. We were unable to confirm the report with the Coroner’s Office by press time.

Police discovered the body of the first woman on Friday, in an East Cleveland garage. Based on a tip, police arrested Madison hours later. Following the arrest, police returned to East Cleveland on Saturday and found the bodies of two other women.

“It’s how you define serial killer,” Chief Spotts said. “But, we feel he’s responsible for at least three murders, so far.”

The suspect has hinted there are more bodies to be found, prompting a major search near Hayden and Shaw Avenues. “We want to be sure to do the best we can. So we’re going to search as many of the areas, surrounding areas as we can,” Spotts said.

The community came out in full force to help with the search, checking the area and focusing on abandon houses.

“We can cover a larger area with community volunteers, so we want to get eyes and ears inside these vacant and abandoned houses and see what’s going on and see if there is any additional thing we need to pay attention to,” said Norton.

The suspect is being held on a $6 million bond after being charged with three counts of aggravated murder and three counts of kidnapping. Madison, a registered sex offender, did not enter a plea during a brief morning appearance in East Cleveland Municipal Court. The case now will be transferred to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to be investigated by a grand jury.