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Cleveland police discover body located in basement of home on the city's west side; suspect currently detained

The suspect is already currently detained at the Cuyahoga County Correctional Center.

CLEVELAND — Editor's note: A previous version of this story indicated that the suspect in custody had admitted to killing and burying the man found in the basement. This has been updated to reflect that police received a tip about the body. 

The Cleveland Division of Police is investigating today after discovering a body buried in the basement of a home on the city's west side. 

According to the authorities, an investigation first began on Tuesday, Feb. 22, when police received a tip that 28-year-old Andrew Smith, an inmate at the Cuyahoga County Correctional Center, had killed and buried a man in the basement of a home in the 4000 block of W. 49th Street. 

Police officers were dispatched to the home around 1 p.m. and executed a search warrant which turned up the body of 41-year-old James Bennett, buried several feet below the basement's floor. 

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Cleveland police officials tell 3News that officials with the Cleveland Division of Fire assisted with the recovery of the body. 

At this time, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office has taken possession of the remains and will perform an autopsy. 

3News was able to obtain court documents that show Smith has a long rap sheet, including charges for robbery and abduction. 

Neighbors we spoke to said they were surprised and spooked that something like this could happen just a few doors down. 

"I've never seen such a police presence like that, ok. I mean I've never seen that many people," said a neighbor. "When I saw - you know, we're talking there were probably 50 people here, maybe more, the whole street was cars." 

That neighbor, who identified themselves as Charles, said he saw dozens of officers and emergency personnel suited up and entering the home with shovels. 

This is a developing story. Check back with 3News for updates as we receive them. 


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