Convicted Ohio rapist Anthony Sowell was ordered held without bond today during his first appearance in court on charges for five aggravated murder counts.
So far, a total of 10 bodies have been discovered in the basement, buried in the backyard, in an upstairs living room and in the crawl space of his Clevland home, the Associated Press reports.
After Sowell's court appearance authorities said they will continue their investigation and tear apart walls inside the house in search of more evidence or bodies.
As Sowell was a registered sex offender required to keep regular contact with police, many are wondering how he may have been allowed to embark on such a gruesome series of murders, keeping bodies stashed all over his property, and not have anyone notice.
Part of this might have to do with the timing of when Sowell was released as a registered sex offender. As reported by WKYC Cleveland, Sowell operated in a loophole between two laws passed to control registered sex offenders.
After his previous incarceation, Sowell was released under a law known as Megan's Law, which required yearly check-ins and address verification for registered sex offenders, but did not require notification of neighbors that they were living next to an offender. In 2008, the Adam Walsh Act was passed. It requires registered sex offenders to check-in every 90 days, and requires that neighbors be notified when an offender moves into the neighborhood.
The problem? Sowell never moved from the house now so infamous. He dutifully went and checked in with authorities every 90 days, but his neighbors were never informed that they were living next to a sex offender (let alone a suspected serial killer).
Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Brian Murphy called Sowell "an incredibly dangerous threat to the public."
In addition to the murder charges, Sowell, 50, faces charges of rape, felonious assault and kidnapping for a Sept. 22 attack on a woman at his home.
Police found the first six bodies last week, following the woman's report that she was raped at Sowell's home. They recently discovered four more bodies as the search of the property continued.
They also found a skull wrapped in paper inside a bucket in his basement.
As a registered sex offender, Sowell was required to check in on a regular basis at the sheriff's office. Officers, however, didn't have the right to enter his house, but said they would stop by to make sure he was there.
Their most recent visit was Sept. 22, just hours before the woman reported being raped in the home.
Sowell could face the death penalty if convicted of the charges.
- Rapist Anthony Sowell House of Horrors: Who's Buried There? (CBS/AP)
- Cleveland House of Horrors: Skull Found in a Bucket, 10 Bodies Found in House (ABC News)
- Anthony Sowell and Phillip Garrido Cases Raise Questions About Sex Offender Monitoring (ABC News)
- Jessica's Law Gets California Supreme Court Review (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Sex Offender Registry (provided by Patrick J. Artur & Associates)
- Sex Offenses Overview (provided by Michael K. Allen & Associates)