Watch CBS News

Suspected Serial Killer Charged With Second Woman's Murder

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Suspected serial killer Darren Vann has been charged in a second murder, after allegedly admitting to killing at least seven women in northwest Indiana.

Wednesday afternoon, Vann was charged with strangling 35-year-old Anith Jones, whose body was among six found in vacant buildings in Gary, Indiana, over the weekend.

Vann was charged with murder, murder in perpretation of a robbery, robbery resulting in serious bodily injury in Jones' death.

Vann 1
Darren Vann. (Credit: Hammond Police Department.)

Vann already had been charged with murder in the strangling of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy, whose was found dead in the Motel 6 in Hammond on Friday.

Police have said Vann admitted to killing at least five other women after he was arrested Saturday, and led investigators to the bodies of Jones and five other women in Gary.


According to an affidavit in Jones' case, she was reported missing on Oct. 10. Police used her car's GPS system to locate the vehicle in Gary, and found a blood stain in the back seat.

After his arrest on Saturday, Vann allegedly led detectives to Jones' body in an abandoned house at 421 E. 43rd Av., where her body had been covered with teddy bears and tires. An autopsy determined she had been strangled.

According to the affidavit, Vann admitted killing Jones after a friend of his contacted Vann, telling him he wanted Jones to disappear "because of an upcoming legal matter." Vann claimed the friend offered to pay him $300 in cash and $200 worth of cocaine.

Vann claimed his friend told him Jones was an escort. He allegedly called Jones a month to a month-and-a-half before she went missing, "and was building a rapport with her," according to the affidavit. He claimed he then met her at a house in Merrillville about a week to a week-and-a-half before his arrest on Saturday, and the two had consensual sex before he wrapped a cord around her neck and strangled her.

Vann allegedly claimed he used a metal trash can to move her body from the house in Merrillville to the a nearby wooded area, and left it there until later the same night, when he moved it to the vacant house in Gary where he dumped the body, and covered it with teddy bears and tires.

The affidavit revealed Hammond police seized a computer and a tool bag from Vann's home, and found a tie for a robe in the bag. Vann allegedly told police he had not used the robe tie to kill any of his victims, but planned to use it for his next victim.

Earlier Wednesday, Vann refused to answer a judge's questions at a hearing to face charges in Hardy's death. The judge warned Vann he would stay behind bars "the rest of his life" until he cooperates in court.

Lake County Sheriff John Buncich said Vann apparently was upset with the fact the hearing was held in a jailhouse courtroom, rather than the public courthouse.

Another hearing was scheduled for next Wednesday. The sheriff said, although Vann had been cooperative with authorities since his arrest, he now is refusing to speak to investigators without his public defender present.

Authorities have said Vann indicated he might have killed other women outside of Indiana, and that his murders might date back as long as 20 years.

Vann, 43, a convicted sex offender in Texas, is accused of strangling Hardy on Friday, after making arrangements online to meet her for sex in Hammond. Hardy's naked body was found Friday night in a room at the Motel 6 in Hammond.

Afrikka Hardy
Afrikka Hardy (Credit: Facebook)

Police have said Hardy was a prostitute who arranged to meet Vann through the website When her facilitator received suspicious text messages from Hardy's phone after Hardy met Vann at the motel, the facilitator went to the motel room and found her body.

The facilitator called police and gave investigators Vann's phone number, and they tracked him to Gary. After he was arrested, he confessed to killing Hardy, and led police to six other women's bodies in vacant buildings in Gary.

In addition to Hardy, authorities have identified three other victims – 36-year-old Kristine Williams, 28-year-old Teaira Batey, and 35-year-old Anith Jones. Hardy, Batey, and Jones were strangled.

Teaira Batey Serial Killer Victim
Teaira Batey (photo provided)

To date, the Lake County coroner's office has identified four of the women. Three others were little more than skeletons when found, and Coroner Merrilee Frey said she will bring in a University of Indianapolis forensic anthropologist to try to help her establish identities, as well as how and when they died.

One of the women wore three pieces of jewelry that may aid in her identification. Frey said there was a silver band with scalloped edges, a silver ring with a heart on it and a silver bracelet bearing the words "Best Aunt;" she is said to be African-American and about 5-foot-3.

To date, Frey said, she has received calls from the families of 17 missing women inquiring to see if they could be among the victims. She said only one is a possibility, and that DNA samples are being taken from the victim and family members to determine if they match.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.