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.
CLEVELAND - Crystal Dozier, 38, of Cleveland, had been reported as a missing person twice at the time her body was discovered in Anthony Sowell's East Cleveland residence.
"He took mothers and daughters away from people, you know, and they were people too. And he just threw them in the garbage, like they was nothing. So why should he have the right to choose just he wants to die?" said Dozier's mother, Florence Bray, about the man accused of killing her daughter. "He didn't give them no choice, so why should he have one?"
"He took away not only my oldest daughter, he took away my best friend…I'll never get over it… I want him to suffer like all the other women suffered."
Bray said her daughter married at a young age and struggled with drugs as a result of an abusive relationship. She took off her dark-framed glasses, setting them down on the stand so she could wipe her eyes. But Dozier was starting to get her life together.
"She was at a point where she was more stable. She wasn't out, running the streets," Bray said. "She got to be more positive about her lifestyle… Maybe, maybe, once or twice she would slip off the wagon."
Antonia Dozier said she was bothered that her family didn't get enough help from police, even though her mother had been missing for nearly three years.
"No one said anything… I've never heard nothing from nobody… From the police station, besides me going down there asking questions myself. No one came out concerned about her or any other of the women," Antonia Dozier told NewsChannel5.
At the age of 11, the now-25 Antonia Dozier went into foster care, living with her grandmother. While they did not have much of a relationship growing up, the two became close when Antonia became pregnant at the age of 17.
"Whenever I was with my mother, we always had a good relationship," Dozier said. "I couldn't tell she was on drugs. She didn't come off that way. She was very caring." Dozier said she last spoke to her mother on Mother's Day in 2007, and her and her brother filed missing persons reports with police days later.
"Crystal would call me, as God as my witness, everyday," Bray said, referring to the first part of 2007. As assistant prosecutor Rick Bombik shows Bray a photo of Crystal, Bray's voice gets shaky. "My baby, my baby. I miss her so much," she said slowly, while shaking her head, her large black earrings swaying.
"I was the last person to talk to her, that I knew of, and that was May 17, 2007," Bray said. "We put out fliers, the east side to west side… We were looking out for her. We took turns, going up to people's houses and looking up and down the streets. Two and a half years I look for my child." She said the family would post fliers at stores and on telephone poles, but the next day they would be gone.
"My gut feeling, it was there," Bray said about going down to the coroner's office after the third body was found on Sowell's property in November 2009. They swabbed the inside of her cheek for DNA and later detectives came to her granddaughter's house to notify them of her daughter's death.
"They (Cleveland police) sent me a letter in about September of that year," Anthony Dozier said. "From my understand, when I first filed that initial report, I was told she was an adult, and had a right to disappear." That's when Dozier started canvassing the area, talking to people and posting fliers near East 130th and Buckeye.
"I would run up on people, show them pictures and ask them questions," Dozier said. "I actually would run into people who knew her (Crystal)."
Prosecutors said she was the second body found in Sowell's backyard. She had cloth wrapped around her neck, and her wrists and ankles were bound with wire.
Crystal Dozier left behind six children and four grandchildren. Her cousin, Amelda Hunter, was also found dead on Imperial Avenue.
"She loved life. She loved to sing. She loved to cook. She loved her family. She will be greatly missed," Dozier's cousin Nicole Phillips said.
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