Many here believe the ever-growing number of missing and murdered women is tied to the recent economic crisis. Across Cuyahoga County, home to the Cleveland metro area, about 76,000 residences are vacant, according to Census Bureau figures -- the wreckage left from the loss of jobs, and the foreclosure crisis.
"I hate to say this, but in a sense, to a large degree, we have an underclass in the city of Cleveland of those that truly are disconnected from the social fabric, from the mainstream economy and society," said Ronnie Dunn, an urban studies professor at Cleveland State University. "They're left without anything to grasp onto."
Once a hub of the nation's industrial might -- shipping out seemingly endless streams of iron, steel, machinery and automobiles from its perch on Lake Erie -- the city that once housed nearly a million people now has barely a third of that population.
The crisis has gotten so serious that civilians are now doing things that are normally left to the authorities. On Wednesday, groups of local residents went into wooded areas and several abandoned homes in East Cleveland, looking for bodies or signs of missing women who might have been kidnapped or assaulted.
McKoy of Black On Black Crime helped lead the search. "The real heart of our city is our women, and if you can't protect our women, it's not a city," he said.
All over the Cleveland area, fliers were posted for a missing 18-year-old named Shirellda Helen Terry, a regular at Bible study, who went missing just this month after leaving her summer job at an elementary school.
On Wednesday afternoon, members of Shirellda's family stood on roads, as they do nearly every day, handing out fliers and missing posters, calling out "Help us find Shirellda!"
That afternoon, the family learned Shirellda was no longer missing. She was dead, positively identified as one of the three women found in East Cleveland.
Hours later, family, friends and supporters gathered for a vigil at the same place where they had been searching for the young woman.
"My baby is gone," said her father, Van Terry, as he was consoled by friends. "That's the reality of it all. Now, when I cry tonight, I'm not crying hoping I find her. I know where she's at. I'm crying because I miss her, and now she's gone on."