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Indiana mayor: Suspect in 7 deaths is sex offender

GARY, Ind. - The mayor of Gary, Ind. says that a man who confessed to killing one woman and led police to the bodies of six others in northwestern Indiana had been convicted of sex crimes in Texas.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson tells The Associated Press that the 43-year-old man in custody directed investigators to sites where bodies were found Saturday and Sunday.

Police haven't released the name of the man taken into custody after a 19-year-old woman was found fatally strangled Friday night at a Motel 6 in the neighboring city of Hammond.

Freeman-Wilson says authorities aren't certain how long the man has been in northwestern Indiana, although he does have a conviction for residential entry in the area. The mayor says she doesn't know whether more bodies might be found.

The coroner's office said three of the bodies were found Sunday night at two locations in Gary, while the other four bodies were found earlier over the weekend. The coroner's office called the new deaths homicides, with one victim strangled and unspecified injuries for the other two women.

At least three of the bodies were found in the same abandoned home in Gary, according to the coroner's office.

The county coroner's office identified the victim found in Hammond as 19-year-old Afrika Hardy and ruled her death a strangulation. A second victim has been identified by family members as 35-year-old Anith Jones, who had been missing since Oct. 8.

Jones' body was found at the same address where two other bodies were found Sunday night. Autopsies are pending on those three women.

Police discovered Hardy's body about 9:30 p.m. Friday at a motel.

Police investigating her death obtained a search warrant for a home and vehicle in Gary. Police conducted the search Saturday afternoon and took the man into custody.

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