Sex Offender Suspected in 7 Murders of Black Women in Indiana

Sex Offender Suspected in 7 Murders of Black Women in Indiana

Darren Deon Vann, a registered sex offender in Texas, confessed to strangling 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy to death and brought police to six more bodies.

Published October 21, 2014

(A house in Gary, Ind., where the body of a woman was found on Oct. 19. Photo: AP Photo/Sun-Times Media, Jim Karczewsk) 

Hammond, Indiana, police have identified Gary resident Darren Deon Vann, 43, as the suspect responsible for a brutal string of murders, the Washington Post reports.

A convicted sex offender in Texas, Vann was charged on Monday in the death of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy. Police located the woman's body in a local Motel 6, where she had been strangled to death, last week.

Having traced text messages between Vann and the victim, authorities were able to verify Vann's number and find him.The suspect confessed to killing Hardy and brought the authorities to additional locations in Gary where they discovered three additional women’s bodies. By Monday morning, three more bodies had been found in Hammond.

The seven victims, including Anith Jones, who had been reported missing since Oct. 8, were African-American women, ranging from 19 to 36 years old.

Vann told police that he had been involved in crimes stretching back two decades. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Wednesday and could face additional charges, AP reports.

“I can’t go into direct statements, but his level of cooperation and the things he’s told us could indicate that there are other potential victims,” Hammond Police Chief John Doughty said at a recent news conference.

The bodies of the seven victims were located in or near dilapidated, run-down houses, so police are continuing to comb through abandoned buildings this week.

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Written by Patrice Peck

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