Criminal Justice

Gary Man Arrested, Admits To NWI Homicides

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October 21, 2014 — HAMMOND (AP) — A 43-year-old Gary man suspected in the deaths of seven women in Hammond and Gary has been charged in one of the slayings.  The Lake County prosecutor’s office charged Darren Vann in the strangulation death of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy.  Police say her body was found Friday night at a Motel 6 in Hammond.

Hammond Police Chief John Doughty says Hardy was involved in prostitution and had arranged to meet Vann at the motel through a Chicago-area website called .

Police took Vann into custody Saturday afternoon.   Chief Doughty said Vann confessed to killing Hardy and told investigators more bodies could be found in abandoned homes in Gary.  Gary officials expected to charge Vann later this week.  Upon his arrest, Vann told police he had “messed up” and was surprised he was located so quickly.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson assured residents in a video posted on YouTube yesterday that the discovery of the seven female victims in abandoned houses just shows that getting rid of those houses will remain a high-priority.  Mayor Freeman-Wilson says dealing with blight is part of the city’s emphasis on law enforcement.

Detectives from Hammond and Gary are still gathering evidence to charge him in six other killings.  The “Post-Tribune” reports Vann was convicted of sexual assault in Texas in September 2009, and is listed on the Indiana sex offender registry.  Investigators could have a hard time determining if Vann had other victims.  Mayor  Freeman-Wilson says Vann may have preyed on those who aren’t likely to be noticed missing.



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