Daughters of two Anthony Sowell victims push forward with lawsuit against Cleveland, Cuyahoga County

CLEVELAND - Daughters of two of serial killer Anthony Sowell's victims walked the vacant lot on Imperial Avenue for the first time since their mothers' bodies were recovered nearly four years ago.

Tonia Carmichael and Nancy Cobbs were two of the 11 women that Sowell killed before leaving their remains around his house on Cleveland's east side.

"I believe I've been given the strength to speak today because of my mother because I'm standing in the very spot where my mother was unearthed," Donnita Carmichael said.

Donnita Carmichael and Kyana Cobbs said they tried filing missing persons reports, but they weren't taken seriously by police. The women said regardless of a missing person's lifestyle, police must do a better job. 

"They should take people's reports more seriously," Cobbs said. 

The women and their attorneys hope an appeals judge allows their lawsuit against the city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and Warrensville Heights, where Carmichael lived, to proceed after a federal judge called the lawsuit frivolous.

The city of Cleveland released the following statement:

"Today's action by the attorney for the Carmichael estate is another step in an ongoing legal process and the City does not comment on the specifics of pending litigation.  However, the City believes Judge Nugent made the correct decision in dismissing the lawsuit filed by the Estate."

The women said accused serial killer Michael Madison and the three women held captive in a house on Seymour Avenue for a decade are reminders that more needs to be done to track missing people.

"These lawsuits need to stay in the national spotlight because this means a lot to our families," Carmichael said.

The women questioned why Sowell was let go by police after a woman said he attacked her in 2008.

The women also question why a probation officer didn't check on Sowell, a registered sex offender who didn't register after his release from prison.

Sowell is on death row.

Relatives of other Sowell victims also have litigation pending in how the case was handled.

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