After discovering the body of a woman in a motel in Hammond, Indiana, on Friday night, police were led to a Gary man, 43, who surprised them by leading police to three more bodies, which were found in three different homes from late Saturday to early Sunday. It is unclear whether the man has confessed to the actual murders, but if he is responsible for the deaths of the four women, it is possible that authorities have uncovered an active serial killer.
In an emailed statement, Lt. Richard Hoyda of the Gary police said that police were called to the Motel 6 in Hammond at approximately 9:30 p.m. Friday on a report of an unresponsive woman. Upon their arrival, they discovered a deceased woman in one of the rooms. Investigators were able to uncover a lead, which led detectives to obtain a search warrant for a Gary home.
Police searched the property on Saturday afternoon and then arrested the man. They also seized a vehicle at the location, which was not the man’s home but is located nearby. During questioning, the man made “a confession” and led police to where the bodies of the other three women could be found. Police have not said whether or not the man confessed to actually killing the women.
The victim discovered in the hotel room has been identified as Afrika Hardy, 19. Her address is unknown. The coroner’s office has ruled her death to be a homicide by strangulation.
Cpl. Gabrielle King wrote in an email that the Gary Police Department were informed late Saturday that the bodies were located in three separate residences within Gary. All of the homes had been abandoned and were unoccupied. A female body clad in white Nike shoes and blue jeans was discovered in a home in the 2200 block of Massachusetts Street, but authorities have not determined the woman’s age or race.
The third body was discovered in a residence located in the 400 block of East 43rd Avenue. Her identity is unknown. The Lake County, Ind., medical examiner’s office reported that the body was that of a black woman who had several tattoos. She had on a long-sleeved black Dereon shirt, blue Dereon jeans and white socks. In addition, the victim’s belly button was pierced and she was wearing three rings on her fingers.
The last victim was found at a home on the 1800 block of East 19th Avenue. A female whose age and race remain unknown, she was wearing blue jeans and a green hoodie. The coroner’s office has not yet determined how the later three victims died. According to King, at least one of the victims was decomposed.
Hoyda said that the unidentified man is currently under arrest in the Hammond jail. The man will remain unidentified until formal charges are filed. In the meantime, detectives with the Hammond police are being assisted by the Gary Police Department. King has asked that anyone who has information related to the case to please call the lead investigators on the case, Cpl. Ed Gonzalez at (219) 881-4750 and Cpl. James Nielsen at (219) 881-4750.
WGN is reporting that officials in Lake County are being swamped with phone calls by families of disappeared people asking if any of the bodies could be their missing relative. As the police continue their investigation into the possible serial killer in Gary, Indiana, residents and law enforcement alike wonder how many more victims might be found.
By Jennifer Pfalz