CLEVELAND — This week marks 10 years since police arrested Anthony Sowell, for the murder of 11 women. Among his victims, Crystal Dozier, a mother of seven and just 35 years old when she disappeared in 2007.
Her son, Anthony Dozier experienced all the grief and anger felt by victims’ families. But he has also moved on with his life, with purpose and forgiveness.
Imperial Avenue looks far different than it did this week, in 2009. Wails of police sirens and on-lookers sobs are remembered from those early days. Discovered was a mass murder with bodies buried in and around a house on Cleveland’s Imperial Avenue. The first of eleven found was that of Crystal Dozier, who had been missing for 2 years.
“When she first went missing, I actually came home and put in a police report for her,” says Anthony Dozier, Crystal’s firstborn child.
This is not just the story of a mother murdered by Anthony Sowell. It’s also the story of her son, left to deal with the trauma. Anthony Dozier remembers his mother and how she left several children.
“When a person is hurt or a person is sick, they act out in different ways,” Dozier said.
Today he works with more purpose. Two college degrees, his own software development for computer game apps and a supervisory position in a tech firm. Still there are those memories when his mother was missing, just as he was pursuing a career as a police officer.
“At the time I had joined the police academy, I would leave the police academy and kind of go searching for her at night,” said Dozier.
His dreams of a career in law enforcement fell away because police see so much trouble. He had seen enough of that. Then came the 2009 discovery of bodies, including his mother’s. Anthony Dozier’s turmoil deepened.
Ten years later, Dozier is at peace, even naming his computer company Crystal Clear Solutions in memory of his mother Crystal.
“If she had the opportunity to become something, there’s no idea who she could have become, had her sickness not affected her,” Dozier said, referring to his mother’s long struggle with drugs, including crack cocaine.
We asked Anthony if he ever goes by Imperial Avenue. The house of horrors is long gone, bulldozed by the city in 2011. Yet Dozier says he does sometimes go that way. And for the monster that murdered all those women, including his mother, Dozier has found forgiveness.
“For me, I had to spend ten years facing what happened and then working with the Lord has helped me forgive him,” Dozier said.
Today, Anthony Dozier is a father to a young daughter. He raises her with love and great affection. Having known so much grief, Dozier only wants peace.
PAST COVERAGE: Jury convicts Anthony Sowell in 11 murders