A 43-year-old man arrested during the weekend in the death of a woman at a Hammond, Indiana, motel has led police to at least six other bodies and told investigators his crimes could go back as many as 20 years, Police Chief John Doughty told a news conference Monday. Murder charges are now pending against Darren Vann of Gary, Indiana, who also is a registered sex offender in Texas.
Doughty said Vann admitted setting up a liaison through backpage.com, a classified ad site, with Afrikka Hardy, 19, at the Hammond motel Friday and expressed surprise that police were able to track him down so quickly. Hardy’s body was found at a Motel 6 after her “facilitator” contacted police, saying responses she had received from Hardy’s phone were “strange.”
“We got the phone number from the facilitator and used electronic measures to track him down,” Doughty said. “Mr. Vann is co-operating with us.” Vann said he had “messed up by committing the crime in Hammond,” Doughty said.
There was no immediate word on how the victims died. Doughty said the victims found so far had been killed more recently than 20 years ago. All except Hardy were found in boarded-up, abandoned buildings in Gary.
Doughty said police had not determined whether Vann committed any crimes outside northwest Indiana and had yet to contact Texas police.
Doughty identified two of the other victims as Anith Jones and Christine Williams. Jones’ sister, Yolanda Nowell, told the Gary Post-Tribune her sister was “very street-savvy.”