Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Anthony Sowell: The Cleveland Strangler

An Opportunity Missed


The incident with Wade would become the missed opportunity that would come back to haunt the community and its law enforcement officials. After Sowell's 2009 arrest, officials would differ in their explanations as to why Wade's complaint received such little investigation.

Cleveland Police Department spokesperson Lt. Thomas Stacho says that Sowell's accuser wouldn't cooperate with investigators. She eventually agreed to talk to police again but then failed to show up for the interview.

Stacho insists that Hussein presented the case to a prosecutor who decided not to charge Sowell.

Prosecutors agree there wasn't enough evidence to charge Sowell. But detectives and prosecutors continue to dispute who branded the woman "unreliable" and suggested that her testimony wouldn't be believable.

Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath
Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath

Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath was commander of the 4th Police District, where Sowell's home is located, until he became chief in 2005. He defends officers in the 2008 case, noting that patrol cops often don't have time to run background checks. He denies accusations that because of the victims' backgrounds, police were slow to react to the disappearances. McGrath adds that slow police response had nothing to do with the fact that Mayor Frank Jackson's niece had lived with Sowell. Frazier would later say she was shocked by the allegations against Sowell.

Explanations aside, the incident with Wade was not the only opportunity police had to investigate the convicted sex offender.

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