FBI joins Cleveland police in investigating murders of 2 women found beaten along E. 93rd
Possible serial killer's description given to Cleveland cops by woman a man tried to abduct on E. 116th as FBI steps up pressure to find him
CLEVELAND, OH – Cleveland Challenger has learned from a source that the FBI has volunteered to assist Cleveland police homicide detectives in investigating the crimes scenes of two women whose bodies were found within one mile and four days of each other along East 93rd Street.
FBI special agents will visit the locations where Jazmine Trotter and Christine Malone were found so they can examine evidence that might connect their murders. The source said FBI agents and Cleveland police plan to walk the neighborhood on April 4 to knock on doors and ask residents for assistance in identifying a potential suspect.
There is growing speculation among police detectives, greater Cleveland and Ward 2 Councilman Zachary Reed that the murders might be the work of another serial killer like Anthony Sowell. Reed has been relentless in pressuring Cleveland police to step-up the investigation of the Trotter and Malone’s murders since learning from the Cleveland Challenger that a third woman was killed at 93rd and Manor Avenue last December. Sowell’s murders occurred in Reed’s Ward 2.
“The community is just now starting to heal from that discovery and tragedy, and now this is happening,” Reed told Cleveland Challenger. ”We can’t wait to see if there’s a connection we have to do something now or people are going to just move out of the community.”
Cleveland police officials aren’t calling the murders of Malone, Trotter and Jameela Hasan the work of a serial killer. Reporters are told the homicides are not connected even though all were found dead along a two miles stretch of 93rd street between Manor street and Miles road, and within four months of each other. The county medical examiner has said that both Malone and Trotter were strangled and beaten to death.
“Although, the Jasmine Trotter incident and this one do have some similarities there is no evidence at this time linking the two incidents,” Fourth District Commander Deon McCauley said in a statement.
Malone and Trotter were murdered elsewhere between March 24th and March 28th and their bodies dumped within a mile of each other near East 93rd Street. Both were beaten to death with a blunt instrument to the head.
Malone was found in a vacant lot on Bessemer and 93rd Street. Trotter was found behind an abandoned home and under a porch on East 93rd Street. Hasan was stabbed 11 times in the neck and was found in her 9428 Manor Street duplex residence on December 17 after a neighbor called police when he realized she hadn’t been seen in almost a week.
A fourth woman was nearly abducted close to a bus stop in the 2900 block of East 116th Street at 5 a.m. on March 30th, two days after Malone’s body was found.
The 20-year-old woman told police she was approached from behind by a man she didn’t know who attempted to pull her off the street and into an abandoned home.
The man started pulling on her clothing to remove them when two men and a woman who were driving by in a blue Pontiac saw what was happening and started screaming until he ran away. The woman escaped. The three “good Samaritans” left before police arrived.
The 20-year-old woman and the other three witnesses now know the man’s face, height, approximate age, weight and body build. For the woman who must still walk to work in the early morning, her ability to identify the man makes her a threat to him. So are the other three witnesses especially since the suspect now knows what their car looks like and may have seen their faces. Coming forward with information and more details about his physical appearance only helps them to help themselves. Cops want them to call 216-623-5360.
The suspect is described as an African-American man who is about 6’2″ tall and thin. He’s possibly in his 40′s. The woman told police he has a small gap between his upper teeth. He was wearing a black, hooded, knee-length jacket, dark blue or black Dickies brand pants that were ripped at the bottom, black steel toe boots and black winter gloves. Police have claimed that Malone and Trotter were beaten in the head with a blunt object. The man’s steel toed boots suggest that he could have kicked each woman in the head until they died.
While the public and media spent time focusing on the proximity of Malone and Trotter’s bodies being found near each other, the 93rd Street connection to Hasan’s death wasn’t made until it was revealed in the Cleveland Challenger. Ward 2 Councilman Zachary Reed read the newspaper’s report and immediately decided to see the linkage between the three murders, especially after he became aware of the other woman’s near abduction on East 116th Street in his ward.
Cleveland police are right now calling the March 30th attempted abduction a “kidnapping and gross sexual imposition” incident. That case is being handled by the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit instead of homicide for obvious reasons. Since the woman didn’t die, the disconnection between the two separate departments within the police division shows why cops sometimes miss clues that fail to connect dots to potential serial crimes.
McCauley, nonetheless, is urging women and residents in the area to be careful and on the lookout.
“The Cleveland Division of Police advises that individuals walking alone after dark or before daylight be cognizant of their surroundings, do not be preoccupied or distracted by such things as texting or playing games on cell phones and always notify a friend or family member of their intended destination/whereabouts and call police if you see anything suspicious,” McCauley said.