Families of Cleveland serial killer's victims break ground on memorial where bodies were found

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CLEVELAND — Relatives of the 11 victims of a convicted Cleveland serial killer broke ground on a memorial at the site where those victims' remains were found and the man's home was later demolished.

About 100 people watched Wednesday as friends and family of the 11 women murdered by Anthony Sowell dug shovels into the ground at the "Garden of 11 Angels" memorial site in Cleveland, the Northeast Ohio Media group reported (http://bit.ly/1yJ9NKS ). Vanessa Gay, who managed to escape from Sowell's home in 2008, was also at the groundbreaking.

The ceremony marked the fifth anniversary of the discovery of two bodies inside Sowell's Imperial Avenue home. Authorities found 11 corpses in and around his house within a week. Sowell was sentenced to death in 2011 and is currently seeking a new trial.

The memorial will feature a 20-foot curving entrance. A pathway leading to a remembrance plaza will merge with a line of trees to create to an infinity symbol.

About $200,000 is still needed to build the memorial, according to the coalition of ministers, business and community leaders planning it.

Tonia Carmichael was the first woman found in Sowell's house to be identified. Her daughter, Donnita Carmichael, was one of many family members at the event.

"You don't even know how much it means to us to be here today, to be able to break this ground and try to erase some of the negativity that this ground represents," Williams said.


Information from: The Plain Dealer, http://www.cleveland.com

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