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Police: No additional victims found in search of Ohio properties

From Susan Candiotti, CNN
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'Horror house' searched
  • NEW: Search at home and adjoining property turns up no additional bodies, police say
  • NEW: Investigators took items to be "examined for investigative value," police lieutenant says
  • Thermal imaging and radar were used during the search Wednesday
  • Bodies of 11 women were found at the property where Anthony Sowell, 50, lived

(CNN) -- A police search at a Cleveland, Ohio, property where the remains of 11 women were found, as well as an adjoining property, turned up no additional human remains, authorities said Wednesday.

Six members of the Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office's office were on standby Wednesday as investigators returned to the home to dig by hand, according to a coroner's spokesman. The digging focused on areas on the property of Anthony Sowell, a registered sex offender who served 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted rape, as well as a property next door.

"Investigators removed various items that will be examined for investigative value," Cleveland police Lt. Thomas Stacho said in a statement. No more remains were found, he said, and no further search of either home or yard is planned.

Federal agents, meanwhile, have nearly completed a timeline tracing Sowell's whereabouts from his days in the military and beyond, Scott Wilson, spokesman for the FBI's Cleveland office, told CNN.

Cleveland homicide detectives asked the FBI to trace Sowell's life from the time he joined the Marines at age 18 to his life in Ohio. In the military, Sowell was based in California, North Carolina and even Japan before moving back to Ohio after spending eight years in the Marines.

"We're looking for any unsolved crimes to match what happened here," Wilson said.

Given the number of bodies found at Sowell's home, crime experts have told CNN, it wouldn't be uncommon for authorities to look for links to other unsolved cases.

Police and the FBI have said they're looking at the unsolved murders of three women in East Cleveland to determine if they share any similarities with the remains of 11 women found at Sowell's home between October 29 and November 3. Sowell faces five counts of aggravated murder, rape, felonious assault and kidnapping in connection with the deaths.

In addition, police in Coronado, California, are attempting to determine if Sowell is linked to a 1979 rape there. Sowell's DNA will be entered into a national database to see whether it can be linked to any unsolved crimes.

The timeline is just a start, Wilson said. "We'll take several weeks to a month before we get all these leads out to our other offices for them to take a look at."

Investigators returned to Sowell's home to search it and the adjacent property on Friday and Saturday. They used thermal-imaging equipment and ground-penetrating radar and marked several areas outside the home with spray paint.

The search Wednesday focused on areas identified during the recent use of thermal imaging equipment and radar technology, Stacho said.

Wednesday's search was conducted by Cleveland police and the Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office, the FBI and Cleveland's Department of Building and Housing.