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Are unsolved murders along Cleveland's East 93rd Street corridor connected?

Posted at 9:17 AM, Feb 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-16 09:17:57-05

CLEVELAND — Cleveland parents, Damon and Watonya DeFreeze hope more police resources can be found to help solve a series of unsolved murders in a corridor along the East 93rd Street neighborhood.

Their 14-year-old daughter, Alianna, was found after she was abducted and murdered in the same neighborhood in January 2017.

Damon DeFreeze told News 5 he wouldn't rule out the unsolved murders along East 93rd Street could be the work of a serial killer.

"Cleveland does have a problem with serial killers, honestly I believe that we do," DeFreeze said. "This looks like a hunting ground; there are multiple predators I believe."

Watonya DeFreeze also pointed out the corridor has five unsolved murder cases in the area of East 93rd Street from Buckeye Road to Harvard Avenue, including the murders of Jazmine Trotter, Ashley Leszyeski and Christina Malone.

"When it comes to people who commit multiple murders, they don't stop until they're caught, they think that this can go on forever," Watonya DeFreeze said.

Former Cleveland Councilman Zack Reed, who's ward makes up part of the corridor, also would not rule out a serial killer in these unsolved murder cases.

"I don't want to speculate that there is, but I don't think that there is not," Reed said.

"The five people who lost their lives here on 93rd, not one person has been brought to justice, not one."

The Murder Accountability Project, a Virginia based nonprofit agency, has been working hard on creating a national list of unsolved homicides, hoping it will help police departments across the country.

Project founder Thomas Hargrove told News 5 his organization helped provide information and data to Cleveland police in the creation of a relatively new Homicide Review Task Force, which Hargrove said is producing some results.

Still, Hargrove said more resources are needed to be dedicated to unsolved murders across the nation.

"Not enough homicide records are being reported to the U.S. Department of Justice," Hargrove said.

"We simply have insufficient homicide detectives in America."

Meanwhile, Reed is hoping even more resources will be dedicated to solving the cases in 2019.

"Lack of police on the street, lack of police in our specialized units and the lack of technology that even the federal monitor says we don't have," Reed said. "You put those three together; you got a perfect storm."