Shirellda Terry has been identified as the third victim of the East Cleveland murders, a grisly incident in which the bodies of three women were found in plastic bags last weekend.
The Ohio woman was identified by police on Tuesday afternoon, and officers shared the news with Terry’s family.
Police have arrested 35-year-old Michael Madison, a registered sex offender, and charged him with three counts of kidnapping and aggravated murder for the killings.
The 18-year-old Terry had last been seen July 10, leaving a Cleveland elementary school where she worked in the summer.
The family of Shirellda Terry had spent the weekend handing out flyers in the neighborhood where she went missing in the hopes of turning up some sign of her. But hope turned to despair on Tuesday when she was officially identified as the final East Cleveland murder victim.
Family members remembered Shirellda Terry as a kind-hearted person who attended Bible study groups and spoke to her mother frequently by text and cell phone.
“She was a good girl; she was a hugger,” said her mother, Rosetta Terry. “We used to tease her that we were gonna put her on a hug diet.”
The other bodies found have been identified as 28-year-old Shetisha Sheeley and 38-year-old Angela Deskins.
Terry appears to differ from both the other women, who came from troubled backgrounds. Deskins was homeless, though a friend said she was well-liked in the East Cleveland neighborhood.
Sheeley had recently been arrested and was described as unemployed and living alone in an apartment.
“She lived on the edge,” said Michael Nelson, her court-appointed attorney.
“The streets are just mean,” Nelson added. “She was a vulnerable person, and with that it probably multiplied her risk.”
The medical examiner’s office has not made an official identification of Shirellda Terry, saying the family asked for time to inform relatives.