Indiana man’s confession leads to 7 bodies

GARY, Ind. (AP) — Seven women’s bodies were found in northwestern Indiana over the weekend after a convicted sex offender’s confession to one killing led police to the grisly discovery of other deaths, including three in one abandoned house, authorities said Monday.

The discoveries began after a 43-year-old man allegedly confessed to killing a woman whose body was found Friday in a Motel 6 in Hammond, Indiana. He then told investigators where more bodies could be found in abandoned homes in the nearby city of Gary, a deteriorating former steel town about 30 miles southeast of Chicago, police said.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said Monday that the suspect is a sex offender from Austin, Texas.

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

“When you’re dealing with someone like this it’s just hard to tell,” she said.

Hammond police Lt. Rich Hoyda said Sunday the man’s name wasn’t being released because he had not yet been formally charged.

The bodies were found after Gary police followed up on information the man provided during questioning, Hoyda said. He wouldn’t comment on how the man knew the women, a possible motive or whether he confessed to more than one killing.

The Lake County coroner’s office identified the first woman, found about 9:30 p.m. Friday at the Motel 6, as 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy, and said she was strangled.

A second body was found Saturday night in an abandoned home in Gary. The coroner said family members identified her as 35-year-old Anith Jones of Merrillville, Indiana, who had been missing since Oct. 8.

Five other bodies were found on Sunday in various Gary homes — including two more in the same home where Jones’ body was found on Saturday, the coroner’s office said Monday. Autopsies are pending on the three women found in one house. The causes of death were not specified for all the women found in Gary.

The gruesome discoveries began after a friend reported Hardy missing.

“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.”

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