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Man confesses to killing 7 women around Gary, Ind.; charges in other slayings possible

| Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, 9:12 p.m.

GARY, Ind. — Police said an Indiana man has definitively confessed to killing seven women whose bodies were found during the weekend in northwestern Indiana.

Gary police Chief Larry McKinley told a news conference that authorities have enough evidence to charge Darren Vann, 43, with murder in at least three more of the cases involving bodies discovered in abandoned buildings around the city over the weekend. McKinley said those charges were expected to be filed within a few days.

Vann was arrested over the weekend after a missing person's report led police to a body in a bathtub at a Motel 6 in Hammond. He confessed to that killing and directed police to six more bodies. The first murder charge was filed against him on Monday.

Police in this northwest Indiana city Tuesday fanned out across neighborhoods where investigators found the bodies of six women they suspect were killed by Vann.

McKinley said 20 officers, along with a cadaver dog, inspected 90 homes, and said he will dispatch police officers to other neighborhoods Wednesday as Vann is scheduled to make his first court appearance in the killing of Afrika Hardy.

Gary spokeswoman Chelsea Whittington said police had no specific information suggesting there are more bodies in some of the city's roughly 10,000 vacant homes. The cadaver dog was dispatched out of an abundance of caution.

“The purpose of the search is to ensure that the structures are completely vacant, get them boarded up and place them on the list for demolition,” McKinley said. “We need our residents to feel safe and for them to know that their police department is out on the streets taking the measures to ensure this.”

Authorities in Gary and Hammond are investigating Vann in the deaths of seven women. The 43-year-old Gary resident allegedly told police he committed more killings, some that date to the 1990s. Authorities are trying to corroborate his claims.

McKinley said the FBI is assisting Gary and Hammond authorities with profiling experts and other technical experts.

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