GARY (Oct. 21, 2014) - The man whose alleged confession to one killing led authorities to the bodies of six other women is trying to negotiate a deal with prosecutors.
Authorities say 43-year-old Darren Vann admitted to murdering 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy. Her body was found Friday in a Motel 6 in Hammond. Vann has been officially charged in her death. A preliminary hearing is scheduled in the case Wednesday morning.
Police say Hardy was a prostitute and met Vann through a website and evidence quickly led them to Vann's home. He was arrested there and detectives say he confessed to six more murders while being questioned.
All the bodies have been found in abandoned homes. Four have been identified so far.
One of those is a 28-year-old woman missing since January. Her mother says she was mentally disabled and trusted everyone.
“This news has been devastating to our city, and my condolences go out to the families that have been impacted by these tragedies,” said Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson. “I want to reassure Gary residents that our police department is tackling this case aggressively and that we are employing every effort to make the city safe.”
Police suspect even more victims might be found, and that Vann's crime spree could span at least two decades.
They say Vann has said why he allegedly committed the murders, but detectives aren't sharing that information publicly yet because the investigation is ongoing.
Vann is a convicted sex offender in Texas. He spent five years in jail for aggravated sexual assault. The arrest warrant describes his victim meeting him after receiving a "call from her employer."
In the bedroom of an Austin apartment, she said Vann began to strangle her.
Authorities in northwest Indiana say Vann has been cooperating with them.
More charges are expected.
Meanwhile, the city of Gary is working to fix their problems with abandoned homes, saying they believe it'll help citizens take back their neighborhoods and ease fears. They'll be using $6.6 million in funds to demolish about 1,000 homes.