Watch CBSN Live

Finger-Pointing at Police in Ohio Murders

Criticism of Cleveland police is intensifying, even as the search for victims of an alleged serial killer expands.

Police say they've found four more decomposing bodies -- and a skull -- at the home of convicted rapist Anthony Sowell, bringing to ten the number of bodies discovered there.

Authorities say they'll start knocking down walls in the house seeking more, as well as starting to look in nearby vacant homes in the low-income neighborhood, reports CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston.

For months, says Pinkston, there were complaints about a foul smell in the neighborhood, but many residents thought the odor was from a sausage factory there.

Police were led to Sowell late last month when a woman came forward with allegations of rape.

Police: Body Count Hits Ten at Ohio Rapist's House
Crimesider: Home "Smelled Like a Dead Body" for Years
Crimesider: Identifying the Victims at Sowell's Home
PICTURES: Anthony Sowell's Home of Horror

Because Sowell was a registered sex offender, police would drop by his house to check on him, Pinkston explains.

But, officials insist, before last week, there was never any reason to suspect Sowell of murder. "At that address over the last three years," Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath told reporters, "including the call we just had on Oct. 20, there was only one other call to that address."

Relatives of missing women are watching anxiously, wondering if their loved ones are among the victims, Pinkston points out.

Among them, the daughter and mother of Tonia Carmichael, who vanished almost a year ago. Her car was found soon after, just blocks from Sowell's home. Carmichael, a heavy drug user, used to go to the neighborhood to buy drugs, her family tells CBS News.

Carmichael's daughter, Donnita Carmichael, and mother, Barbara Carmichael, complained about police conduct to "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith. Wednesday. They said just because Tonia was a drug user doesn't mean she wasn't a person, or that her disappearance deserved to go unanswered for the last year, as the family begged authorities for help finding her.

Now, police have asked for Tonia's dental records (to help them identify Tonia's body, if she is one of the victims) and, Donnita told Smith, that makes her "very concerned, and even almost for certain that she is, indeed, gonna come back as one of these victims from this heinous crime. It has been a year. And ironically, her one-year anniversary is on the 10th of this month, which is Tuesday. And by them asking us for the information that they asked for, it's a gut feeling that this is gonna be the end of it for this family."

Smith read a statement from a woman who escaped from Sowell's house after, the woman says, Sowell started to try to choke her. The woman said Sowell remarked, "You're just another crack (blank) from the street. No one will know if you're missing."

Asked by Smith if she thinks "that's part of what happened here? Is it possible that people just didn't care about people like your mother?," Donnita replied, "I think it is very much possible. And, in fact, I think that is exactly the case. Not just my mother being missing, but all of the women that went missing from this area, I think they were stereotyped, I think, because they had a drug addiction, whether it was crack, alcohol, heroin, or whatever drug of their choice, or just having to fall on hard times and relying on the streets to be their home and their comfort. I believe he preyed on them. And I believe, from the time that we initially tried to report my mother missing in Cleveland, they did nothing as far as looking for her. So, yes, I indeed strongly believe that, not just my mother, but a lot of these cases out here with these women being missing, their age didn't make a difference, her being on the street, and living the lifestyle that she did very well made a difference in them not looking for her or for anybody else that was missing, for that matter."

Tonia's mother and Donnita's grandmother, Barbara, told Smith, "If she's (Tonia's) in there, I'd like for her to be identified, because it's agony not knowing what happened to her.

"What upset me so bad, when I went to the police to try to report her missing, the Fourth District would not take the report, because she lived in (a nearby police district), (even though) she disappeared right around the corner from them, we found the car there. We went to (the other police district) after she was gone three weeks. They belittled it. They made jokes, (such as) 'Oh, go home, she'll show up by Christmas, after the drugs are all gone.' And they wouldn't even take the report. I had to go back up and demand to see the officer in charge. That's the only way I got her reported missing."

Cleveland police have refused repeated requests from CBS News for a live interview.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Associated Press has withdrawn reports referring to Sowell as a "convicted rapist." The AP says that Sowell was only convicted of attempted rape, according to police.

View CBS News In