Rape May Be Tied to Mass Killing Suspect

By Mari Payton
|  Thursday, Nov 5, 2009  |  Updated 11:12 AM PDT
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Rape May Be Tied to Mass Killing Suspect

AP

Anthony Sowell, right, stands behind public defender Kathleen DeMetz during his court appearance Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009, in Cleveland. Sowell, 50, has been charged with five counts of aggravated murder and held without bond after 10 bodies were discovered in his home over the past few days. Sowell was ordered held without bond. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

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The suspect in a mass killing in Cleveland may be responsible for raping a woman in Coronado.

An East Coast woman recognized Anthony Sowell, 52, on her television.  The convicted sex offender is suspected of killing at least 11 people in his Ohio home.

The woman e-mailed the Coronado Police Department on Monday, claiming she was raped by Sowell in 1979 while she was living in Coronado.

Coronado Police Chief Lou Scanlon said, “She is obviously very curious about what had transpired, and we are trying to research this information and get it back to her.”

Sowell was in the Marine Corps at age 18. It is unclear if he was ever stationed in Coronado.

“We are in the process of trying to obtain military records and contact Cleveland police, who are obviously overwhelmed with what's going on right now to determine if that individual was here," said Scanlon.

So far, police have not been able to confirm the woman's story. 

“This occurred in 1979, 31 years ago,” said Scanlon, “The statute of limitations on the crime of rape is 10 years, so those case files would have been destroyed some time after the statute of limitations expired.”

 

Police said if Sowell was ever named a suspect in the Coronado case, it would be difficult to prosecute him. Still they are pursuing it.

 

“It's our hope we can bring closure to this particular woman," Scanlon said, "Obviously it brought terrible memories for her -- that's the focus of our efforts right now.”

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