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 - Leshanda Long, of Cleveland, had a history of disappearing.
She was reported missing at the age of 13 and again at 17. The 25-year-old was last seen in August 2008. Long was not reported as missing in her latest disappearance.
Leshanda was in and out of the juvenile court system and her father, James Allen, said he tried to bring structure to her life. At the age of 15, Long gave birth to a daughter, Allen said. Long had two other children.
"She was probably on drugs… I seen the way she acted. You know your child when you've been around them. You can fool some people, but you can't fool your parents," Allen said.
"I tried heavily to try to turn her lifestyle things around," Allen said of his daughter, who childhood nickname was "Crybaby Ganster." "She could never be homeless if she had a father because the door was always open," Allen said. Long's mother was a longtime drug addict, who is now in recovery.
"She was a loving person. She was a loving mother. That's going to be missed," Long's cousin Adbul Malik Zaid said.
Allen said his daughter would call him each year on his birthday and her birthday, but in August 2008 Allen said "there was no call."
"It was around Halloween. It was Halloween day… They said there was a serial killer up in Cleveland," Allen said about news reports on the 11 bodies found on Imperial Avenue. Allen contacted the coroner's office when he "started wondering and found out it was on Imperial."
Police said Long was identified Nov. 11, 2009 after a DNA analysis of her skull, which was found in a plastic bucket in Anthony Sowell's basement. The rest of her remains were not found, but her family wanted investigators to ask Sowell where they could find the rest of her.
"He has to know exactly where her body would be because that was the only person in your house headless so, and her head was in a bucket," said Long's cousin, Thessalonia Hardy.
Allen is a corrections officer, working in the same building where Sowell is housed. Allen said he has not had any contact with Sowell.
"As soon as you start to heal, it's like ripping the scab off," Allen said. He said this has been particularly traumatic for him, since he couldn't properly bury his daughter's remains.
During the trial, one woman told the jury she was attacked and raped while at Sowell's house in 2008. The woman knew Leshanda Long, who she called "Thick." She covers her hand with her face, as she talks about "Her girl."
More Imperial Avenue
Family members of Anthony Sowell murder victims have filed an appeal to a lawsuit against Cleveland police.
A woman who survived an attack from convicted serial killer Anthony Sowell is reminded of her trauma during these recent East Cleveland murders.
The Ohio Supreme Court has ordered a lower court to decide a debate over fees paid to attorneys of a Cleveland man who killed 11 women.
A children's play area and a reflective pool are among proposed designs for a memorial at the site where the remains of 11 women were found in a serial killer's home.
Anthony Sowell's attorney filed a reply brief of errors in his case on Thursday, recommending the convicted killer face a life sentence rather than execution.
Cuyahoga County prosecutors are battling back against convicted serial killer Anthony Sowell's claims that he was denied a fair trial.
A rally and candlelight vigil was held Saturday evening on Imperial Avenue in Cleveland, the site of the demolished home of convicted serial killer Anthony Sowell.
A new appeal filed with the Ohio Supreme Court on Monday admits that Anthony Sowell's conviction was imminent and criticizing the serial killer's defense attorneys.
Out today, "Nobody's Women" tells the story of Cleveland serial killer Anthony Sowell and his 11 victims.