A serial killer's victim made a 911 call that helped police link the cases of 5 murdered women

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One morning last week — while her abductor, 40-year-old Shawn Grate, slept in the same room — a woman quietly loosened ties binding her to a bed, reached for Grate's phone, and called 911. Her voice shook when the dispatcher picked up: "I've been kidnapped," she said. She stayed on the call for 19 minutes, softly relaying answers to help police find the abandoned Ohio house where Grate had taken her two days earlier.

Police officers in Ashland, Ohio, found the unnamed woman still alive and arrested Grate. Elsewhere in the vacant, ministry-owned house, they discovered the bodies of two women who went missing this summer: 29-year-old Elizabeth Griffith, who went missing in August, and 43-year-old Stacey Stanley, who went out for coffee earlier this month and never returned. Stanley's family told reporters she gave Grate a ride after he helped her change a flat tire.

Grate was surprisingly candid and polite with investigators after being taken into custody. That day, he led police to the body of a third woman, 29-year-old Candice Marie Cunningham, in the woods behind a house. He said he killed her last June. Her family never filed a missing-person report, thinking she'd moved to North Carolina.

Grate also admitted killing 31-year-old Rebekah Leicy, whose body was discovered in a field in Ashland last year. She was pronounced dead from a "suspicious" heroin overdose. Police reopened her case last weekend but refused to say whether it was linked to Grate's confession.

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Report of woman held captive in Ohio leads to gruesome discovery
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Grate said his first victim was an unidentified woman known as Jane Doe, about 26 years old, who sold magazine subscriptions. Her body was found near a trash dump in 2005 or 2006 — one mile from where Grate lived at the time — but her case went unsolved for a decade. Grate told investigators he killed the woman after she never delivered his mother's subscription. He could only remember that her name began with a D, maybe Dana or Diana, because he had taken her driver's license. Police are now asking the public for help identifying her.

On Monday, Grate pleaded not guilty to two murder charges and one kidnapping charge. He hasn't yet been charged in connection with the other murders, though investigations are under way. "It's hard to believe that others aren't out there," Marion County Sheriff Tim Bailey said at a news conference, noting the decade-long gap between the murders of Jane Doe and Rebekah Leicy. "He's obviously a serial killer."

Grate's extensive arrest record includes previous domestic abuse, identity theft, and marijuana possession charges. Some media reports have described him as homeless, though his Facebook page reportedly shows he took a maintenance job at a Holiday Inn last month.

An ex-girlfriend who filed domestic-abuse charges against Grate said their six-year relationship ended permanently after he broke her hand in one brutal incident. She escaped. "I think he would have eventually killed me," she told Cleveland 19 News. "If I hadn't got out, I'd be one of the victims."

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West Mesa Bone Collector: The city of Albuquerque was shaken in 2009 when the bones of 11 women were found in shallow graves in the desert. No suspect has ever been identified, despite FBI and local police investigations. 

(AP Photo/Sergio Salvador)

The Cleveland Torso Murders: Upwards of a dozen victims of "the mad butcher of Kingsbury run" were always found between 1935 and 1938. This photo shows the investigation into a burned boxcar in which three bodies were found. 

(AP Photo/Bill Allen)

The Texarkana Moonlight Murderer: The killer, who was never identified, is credited with terrorizing the town of Texarkana, Texas in 1946 by attacking eight people in ten weeks, creating panic.
The Zodiac Killer: Here are three victims of the self-proclaimed "Zodiac" killer, who's connected to at least 5 murders in Northern California in the 1960s and 1970s, which he bragged about to the police, without ever being caught. 

The Monster of Florence: This killer linked to the murders of seven couples which were targeted after being found engaged in sexual acts in cars in the Italian city. Pictured here are Pia Rontini and Claudio Stefanacci, both shot to death in the seventh such double murder in the Florence area since 1968. The killer was known to mutilate the women.

(AP Photo)

Béla Kiss, the Vampire of Czinkota: This accused Hungarian serial killer is believed to have murdered at least two dozen women and kept their bodies in giant metal drums. He eluded police for years.

(Getty Images)

The Witch Doctor: Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, known as "El Padrino" or "Godfather," is shown in this undated photo. Constanzo is the ring leader of a satanic cult that has killed at least 12 victims at a ranch near Matamoros, Mexico.

(AP Photo)

The Alphabet Murders: 10-year-old Carmen Colon, pictured here, is one of three girls believed to have been killed in the "double initial" killings in 1971 in Rochester, N.Y. The three girls killed all had first and last names that started with the same letter.

(AP Photo)

The Servant Girl Murders: Three years before Jack the Ripper began his deadly attacks across the ocean, a killer preyed upon the city of Austin, Texas in the 1880s. He would attack men and women in their beds, although not all of his victims died. According to reports more than 400 men were arrested over the years for the crimes, but no one was ever convicted.

(RapidEye via Getty Images)

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