Nearly two weeks after detectives found the bodies of seven women in Hammond and Gary, families and communities came together Saturday to mourn three of the women.
Afrika Hardy, 19, was found dead Oct. 17 in a bathroom at the Motel 6 in Hammond. The grisly discovery of Hardy's body led police to Darren Vann, who she had arranged to met with through an online escort service, according to court records.
Vann, 43, of Gary, allegedly confessed to killing Hardy along with six other women. He led detectives through abandoned properties in Gary where he had dumped the women, police said.
He is charged in the strangling deaths of Hardy and Anith Jones, 35, of Merrillville, with two counts of murder, two counts of murder in the perpetration of a robbery and two counts of robbery resulting in serious bodily injury.
Jones was found Oct. 18 in an abandoned home in the 400 block of East 43rd Street in Gary. According to the affidavit, Vann killed Jones in a Merrillville home and later left her body in Gary.
Teaira Batey, 28, of Gary, and Kristine Williams, 36, of Gary, were found Oct. 19 in different abandoned homes. The Lake County coroner's office ruled Batey's death a homicide, but they have not determined how she died. The manner and cause of death for Williams are pending.
Two women found Oct. 19 in the 400 block of East 43rd Avenue in Gary have not yet been identified. Another woman found Oct. 19 in an abandoned home in the 2200 block of Massachusetts Street in Gary also has not been identified.