COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Supreme Court has declined to hear Cleveland’s appeal of a lower court ruling allowing families of a serial killer’s victims to sue a police detective.

Several family members say the detective, Georgia Hussein, failed to thoroughly investigate a complaint from a woman who said Anthony Sowell (SOH’-wehl) attacked and raped her a year before bodies of Sowell’s victims were found. Hussein has since retired.

The 58-year-old Sowell was convicted in 2011 of killing 11 women and hiding the remains in and around his home. He was sentenced to death.

The 8th Ohio District Court of Appeals said in March the lawsuit could proceed. The City of Cleveland appealed but the state Supreme Court declined on Dec. 20 to take the case.

Cleveland Law Director Barbara Langhenry declined to comment.