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17-year-old charged with murder in 2 Porter County deaths

Connor Kerner

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — A 17-year-old from Valparaiso faces murder charges in the deaths of two teens in what police say an informant told them was a drug deal that turned into a robbery.

Porter County prosecutors say Connor R. Kerner of Valparaiso is charged as an adult in the deaths of 18-year-old Thomas Grill of Cedar Lake and 19-year-old Molley Lanham of St. John.

According to court documents filed Monday, police say an informant told them Kerner said he shot and beat Grill with a pipe wrench when Grill tried to rob him during a drug deal. The informant told police Kerner said he shot Lanham in the head despite telling her she could leave if she promised not to tell anyone, according to the Times of Northwest Indiana.

Molly Lanham and Thomas Grill Jr.

Police say they believe two bodies found in a burned vehicle in Porter County are Grill and Lanham. The informant, who came forward to report the murders, told police that Kerner said he'd loaded the bodies into a the trunk of their car, loaded the vehicle with flammable liquids and then set them on fire.

Online court records don't list an attorney for Kerner. He is scheduled for an initial hearing Monday.

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