Indiana police investigate deaths of seven women

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 20, 2014 12:37 PM

By Karen Brooks

(Reuters) - Police are holding a convicted sex offender in the murder of one of seven women whose bodies were found in northwestern Indiana in what one mayor said may be the work of a serial killer.

A 43-year-old man from Gary, Indiana, was arrested Saturday in the strangulation of Afrika Hardy, 19, whose body was discovered the day before in a Motel 6 in neighboring Hammond.

While being interrogated, the man confessed to that murder and told detectives where three other bodies could be found, said Lieutenant Richard Hoyda of the Hammond Police Department. Police found those on Saturday, he said.

The bodies of three additional women were found on Sunday, according to Lake County coroners.

Hoyda did not provide other information about the deaths or the confession by the man, whose identity was not released.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman said the suspect is a convicted sex offender in Texas and has an unrelated conviction in Lake County, and may yet lead police to more victims.

"We do know he continues to talk to the police and it is quite possible that there may be more victims," Freeman said in Monday in an interview on CNN.

Three of the bodies were found in the same abandoned Gary home, according to a report in the Times of Northwest Indiana newspaper.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., referred to the suspect as a "serial killer" in comments on his Facebook page.

But Hammond police and coroner's officials have declined to confirm whether they believe the seven bodies are connected, pending a news conference Monday. Gary police could not be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Karen Brooks in Austin, Texas; Additional reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Doina Chiacu)