CHICAGO (CBS) — A convicted sex offender who allegedly confessed to at least seven murders in northwest Indiana has told police his crimes date back as long as two decades.
Gary resident Darren Vann, 43, has been charged with murdering 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy. Hammond Police Chief John Doughty said charges were possible in at least six other murders which were still under investigation.
According to Doughty, Hardy was a prostitute who met Vann on Friday at the Motel 6 in Hammond. Police said Vann responded to an ad Hardy and her facilitator placed on backpage.com, and arranged to meet Hardy Friday night.
The woman who facilitated the meeting called police when she received suspicious text messages from Hardy’s phone. Fearing for Hardy’s safety, she called a male friend and went to the hotel, where they found Hardy’s body, and then called police.
Doughty said the woman who facilitated the meeting provided investigators with Vann’s phone number, and police tracked him down to Gary. When he was arrested, he confessed to killing Hardy, and told detectives he “messed up” by committing the crime in Hammond, Doughty added.
Vann later told police about six other victims, whose bodies all were found in abandoned homes in Gary.
A source told CBS 2’s Brad Edwards that the suspect has indicated that there may be many other victims, including those in other states, but Doughty said police have not confirmed any victims beyond the seven found so far.
Doughty said Vann — who is a convicted sex offender in Texas — has been cooperative from the beginning, and told police his crimes “could go back as far as 20 years,” although the victims found so far all appear to have been killed more recently.