Woman describes escape from Ohio man

Police identify a third victim

By Vicki Smith and Meghan Barr
Associated Press / November 6, 2009

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CLEVELAND - A Cleveland woman said yesterday that she was choked and threatened earlier this year by the man charged with murder after the remains of several people were found on his property - and that she is racked with guilt for not speaking up earlier.

Tanja Doss said that if she had quickly gone to authorities, her best friend, Nancy Cobbs, might not be missing. She believes Cobbs might be among the 11 victims whose remains were found at Sowell’s home.

Police have recovered 10 bodies and a skull from the home and yard of Anthony Sowell, 50, a registered sex offender who moved back to his family’s house in 2005 after serving 15 years in prison for attempted rape. He is being held without bond on five counts of aggravated murder.

Of the bodies found at Sowell’s home, three victims have been identified, including Tonia Carmichael, 52, of Warrensville Heights and Telacia Fortson, 31, of Cleveland.

Cleveland police said they have identified a third person. The family of Tishana Culver, 31, was notified yesterday, police said. The Cleveland woman had not been reported as a missing person, Lieutenant Thomas Stacho said.

As a cold, steady rain fell yesterday afternoon, investigators reentered the house to look for and review evidence to help them decide whether they need to dismantle walls, open floors, or look elsewhere.

“Right now there’s no indication that there are more bodies in the house,’’ Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said, noting that is also what he thought Tuesday, before four more were recovered.

Area pastors urged the families of missing people to provide DNA samples that could help the coroner’s office identify the remains, saying nearly two dozen others are still missing in the community.