Bodies of 7 women found in northwest Indiana

Crime Scene Tape

GARY, Ind. (AP) – The bodies of seven women have now been found in northwestern Indiana after a man confessed to killing one woman who was found strangled at a motel and led investigators to at least three other bodies, authorities said Monday.

The Lake County coroner’s office said three of the bodies were found Sunday night at two locations in Gary, a city about 30 miles southeast of Chicago, 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.

It wasn’t immediately clear Monday whether the man directed police to the three bodies Sunday night. Phone and email messages seeking comment from Gary police spokeswoman Cpl. Gabrielle King weren’t immediately returned.

Police said Sunday that a 43-year-old man confessed to killing a woman whose body was found in a Motel 6 in the neighboring city of Hammond and told investigators where the bodies of three other women could be found in abandoned homes in Gary.

Gary police found the bodies of three women at different locations in Gary late Saturday and early Sunday, following up on information the man provided during questioning, Hammond police Lt. Rich Hoyda said Sunday. Hoyda wouldn’t comment on how the man knew the women, on a possible motive or on whether the man confessed to killing any of the other women.

The county coroner’s office identified the victim found in Hammond as 19-year-old Afrika Hardy and ruled her death a strangulation, and said a second victim has been identified by family members as 35-year-old Anith Jones of Merrillville, 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 6.

“A friend of the deceased called us, and she was concerned when she didn’t respond to her calling,” Hoyda said. “We were sent there and found that person dead.”

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. Hoyda said the man confessed during questioning and then told investigators “where several other female victims of possible homicide were located.”

Hoyda said the man’s name wasn’t being released because he had not yet been formally charged. He would not say when charges will be filed. He was being held in the Hammond City Jail.

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