HAMMOND, Ind. (CBS) — A juvenile stands accused of a series of violent crimes in Hammond, in a case cracked by DNA evidence.
“Today, our streets are safe from this violent individual,” Hammond police said in a statement.
Charges are now pending against the 15-year-old male in the murder of a 25-year-old mother of three and two rapes in the Hessville neighborhood.
The Indiana State Police lab has confirmed that the DNA recovered from the two rape victims matches the suspect, police said.
The investigation also connected the teen in the murder of 25-year-old Lucia Gonzales in the 7500 block of Alexander Ave. The cause of death was released by the Lake County Coroner’s office as a homicide resulting from multiple stab wounds.
A relative said Gonzalez moved to the Hessville area of Hammond about two years ago from Chicago. She lived with her boyfriend, who was the father of two of her children.
“Fifteen years-old. How do you get to that point where you gotta rape somebody or kill somebody? Why?” said Laura Tate, a neighbor of Gonzalez.
The first rape occurred on July 26 when a 14-year-old female was approached by a 15-16 year-old black male and threatened with a hammer. The suspect forced the female into an alley near the 6700 block of Grand Ave. where she was raped.
Then, on Aug. 8 at approximately 12:46 a.m., a 25-year-old female was approached by a 15-16 year-old black male and threatened with a hammer. The suspect forced the female into an alley near the 7400 block of Arkansas Ave. where she was raped.
On Twitter, Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. praised investigators and then referred to the suspect as an “animal” who has been removed “from society.”