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Author Topic: Darren Deon Vann Confessed to Killing at Least 7 Women - More Victims Possible  (Read 5433 times)
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« on: October 20, 2014, 01:30:50 PM »



http://www.khou.com/story/news/nation/2014/10/20/gary-women-killed/17598281/
Ind. police I.D. Texas sex offender in serial killings
October 20, 2014

HAMMOND, Ind. -- Police said Monday that Darren Deon Vann, a convicted sex offender, has confessed to killing at least seven women and may be responsible for several other victims in northwest Indiana.

Police Chief John Doughty said Vann told officers he had "messed up" in committing the latest killing and was surprised that police tracked him down so quickly.

Authorities announced early Monday that they have discovered the bodies of three more slain women in Gary, Ind., following Vann's weekend confession.

The Lake County coroner's office said the women were found Sunday night in two different locations in Gary. The coroner's office called the three new deaths all homicides, with one victim strangled and unspecified injuries for the other two women. The bodies of seven slain women have been discovered in the two cities since late Friday.

Police in Hammond, Ind., were led to Vann, who has not yet been formally charged, after finding the body of Afrika Hardy, 19, at Motel 6 on Friday. She had been strangled, according to the Lake County coroner's office.

Investigators developed a lead that led them to Vann, who is from Gary, on Saturday afternoon.

"A subsequent interrogation of the person of interest ... led to the man making a confession and then leading detectives to the city of Gary where several other female victims of possible homicides were located," Hammond Police Lt. Richard Hoyda said in a written statement.

On Sunday, Gary police say the man led police to three victims — all women — in that city. One of those women discovered was Anith Jones, 35, of Merrillville, Ind. She had been reported missing by family earlier this month.

Jones' body was found in the same abandoned home where two other bodies were found Sunday night.

Hammond's mayor, Thomas McDermott Jr., described the suspect on his Facebook page Sunday as an "admitted serial killer" and "convicted sexual offender." McDermott also wrote that the suspect told police of the location of another victim, and that he admitted "to a couple of homicides in Hammond back in '94 or '95."

Chelsea Whittington, a spokeswoman for the city of Gary, said the suspect moved to Gary from Austin, Texas, about a decade ago, and was divorced. She confirmed that he had previously been convicted of a sex crime, but did not provide any further detail.


 
The man is being held by police in Hammond.
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2014, 01:33:55 PM »

http://www.kvue.com/story/news/local/2014/10/20/ind-man-who-confessed-to-killings-has-austin-ties/17612349/
Ind. man who confessed to killings has Austin ties
October 20, 2014


Darren Vann
Photo: Lake County Sheriff's Office)

AUSTIN -- Police say 43-year-old Darren Vann, charged with aggravated sexual assault in Austin in 2008, is the same man who confessed to killing at least seven women in Gary, Ind.

Chelsea Whittington, a spokeswoman for the City of Gary, said Vann moved to Gary from Austin in 2004 and was divorced. She confirmed that he had previously been convicted of a sex crime, but did not provide any further detail.

According to an arrest affidavit, Vann attacked a woman at his apartment in December 2007. The affidavit says Vann tried to strangle her, then began hitting and sexually assaulting her.

Public records show that Vann was found guilty of a lesser charge of sexual assault (downgraded from aggravated sexual assault) in 2009. He was sentenced to five years in jail and served time at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Huntsville.

Vann is registered as a sex offender in Texas and in Lake County, Ind.

On Monday, police said they have found the bodies of seven women in northwest Indiana. Vann allegedly told police he had killed "several" women.
 
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2014, 01:38:01 PM »

http://kxan.com/2014/10/20/indiana-mayor-suspect-in-7-deaths-is-texas-sex-offender/
Suspect in 7 Indiana deaths is Austin sex offender
October 20, 2014


Texas Department of Criminal Justice mug shot of Darren Deon Vann, who served a five-year sentence for sexual assault in Travis County


Darren Vann’s Sex Offender Registry photo

GARY, Ind. (AP/NBC Chicago/CNN) — The mayor of Gary, Indiana says that a man who confessed to killing one woman and led police to the bodies of six others in northwestern Indiana had been convicted of sex crimes in Texas. Darren Deon Vann, 43, of Gary, is talking to police and is a convicted sex offender from Austin, Texas, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said.

“There are court records indicating that he was here back in 2004 [and] 2005, but there are also records that he was in Austin, Texas, and so he appears to be a person who has moved back and forth between a number of states,” Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson told reporters early Monday.

Vann is a registered lifetime sex offender in Texas since 2009. He is listed as a low-risk sex offender, and his Sex Offender Registry photo is from June 2013.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Robert Hurst says Vann served a five-year sentence for sexual assault in Travis County, arriving at TDCJ in October 2009. He was discharged from TDCJ when his sentence expired on July 5, 2013. During his time there, he was incarcerated in several units of the TDCJ.

Meanwhile, Freeman-Wilson says Vann directed investigators to sites where bodies were found Saturday and Sunday.

Police took Vann into custody after a 19-year-old woman was found choked to death Friday night at a Motel 6 in the neighboring city of Hammond. Freeman-Wilson says authorities aren’t certain how long Vann has been in northwestern Indiana, although he does have a conviction for residential entry in the area. The mayor says she doesn’t know whether more bodies might be found.

It started with one body at a motel in Hammond, Indiana.

By the next day, the 43-year-old Gary man was in custody, and his confession, police say, would lead them to three other women’s bodies. They’d find three more the next day.

The bodies were found in four locations, and Vann “continues to provide information of possible locations, not just in Gary but in other parts of northwest Indiana,” Freeman-Wilson told CNN. “It’s quite possible that there may be more victims.”

Though Vann hasn’t been charged, local headlines blare and residents wonder: Did police find a serial killer? Authorities have yet to label the man as such.

Police were told Friday night that an unresponsive woman was found in a room at a Motel 6 off Interstate 80, Lt. Richard Hoyda of the Hammond Police Department said. The 19-year-old woman had been killed by strangulation, CNN affiliate WGN reported.

Detectives developed a lead that led them Saturday to Gary, where they executed search warrants on a home and vehicle and took a person of interest into custody, Hoyda told CNN.

“The search warrant was executed not at the residence of the suspect but at a location near to the reported suspect’s home in Gary,” he said in a statement.

Vann made a confession and took detectives to Gary, where “several other female victims of possible homicide” were found, Hoyda said. Three women were found in three abandoned homes Saturday, and police found three other bodies Sunday, Freeman-Wilson said.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said in two Facebook posts Sunday afternoon that the man, who he called a serial killer, has “admitted to a couple of homicides in Hammond,” some of which date back 20 years. He also said in his posts that the man is a convicted sex offender.

Gary Cpl. Gabrielle King tried to defuse concerns among citizens, noting that the man is in custody and that Gary and Hammond police are working together to bring charges.
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2014, 10:30:32 AM »

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/10/21/darren-vann-gary-hammond-cell-phone-cord-afrika-hardy/17649197/
Police: Ind. serial killer suspect used a cellphone cord
October 21, 2014



Authorities say the Indiana man suspected of killing seven women, and perhaps more, told police he committed his last murder by strangling his victim with a cellphone cord.

Police say Darren Deon Vann acknowledged that he left Afrika Hardy, 19, dead in the bathtub of a Motel 6 in Hammond, Ind. last week, according to court documents. Vann had arranged to meet Hardy, who was a prostitute, through an online ad placed on a website called Chicagobackpage.com.

Hardy's killing triggered an investigation that led them to Vann, 43, who subsequently admitted to killing at least six other women whose bodies he discarded in abandoned houses in the city of Ga
ry.

Investigators now are trying to sort out whether there are more victims. Vann has told investigators that his killings go back some 20 years, according to Hammond police.

ourt documents detail the investigator's account of the murder of Hardy.

Police say that Vann — who used the screen name Big Boy Appetite — had originally arranged to meet Hardy — who used the screen name Octavia and Ms. Youngin — last Thursday, but canceled, saying "he couldn't get a babysitter."

According to an associate of Hardy, who was a partner in the escort service with the victim, she received another call from him on Friday to arrange a meeting. Hardy texted her associate that Big Boy Appetite was in the room with her at 5:13 p.m. The associate called and texted Hardy, when it appeared the appointment was going beyond the typical allotted time.

The associate told police that she received a text back that did not make sense and made her suspicious. At that point, the associate and a male friend went to the hotel to check on Hardy. Together they entered the room and the female associate was the first to discover Hardy's body in the bathtub.
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2014, 10:25:39 PM »

http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-darren-deon-vann-court-records-20141021-story.html
Indiana man confesses to killings, police say; FBI checks other states
October 21, 2014

A decade before Darren Deon Vann confessed to killing at least seven women in Indiana, he threatened to set himself and a woman on fire during a 2004 standoff with police, according to court documents released Tuesday.

Officials said they feared that the encounter was part of a bloodier trail that the 43-year-old left across at least two states during more than 20 years.

Vann has confessed to killing more than the seven women whose bodies were found since Friday, police said.
 
Vann’s first known contact with police was in April 2004 when he was arrested and charged with residential entry and intimidation stemming from an incident in Gary. Police alleged Vann threatened to kill a man in a wheelchair over a $7,000 debt that he believed he was owed by his ex-girlfriend, who was then living with the man, court records show.
According to court filings in that case, the victim told police he saw Vann approaching his house carrying a red plastic gasoline can. The man said he confronted Vann and asked him why he wanted to “burn my family, innocent people over a woman?”

Vann replied, “Give me $7,000 and you can have her,” according to the filings. Vann also told the man that he had dynamite and would blow the man up if he didn't give up the woman, court records show.

When police arrived, Vann was “holding a cigarette lighter and was acting crazy as if he might light himself on fire,” according to court records.

In a deal with prosecutors, Vann pleaded guilty in June 2004 to misdemeanor residential entry, and the felony charge of intimidation was dropped, court records show. He was sentenced to a year in jail and a year of probation.

In September 2005, Vann admitted violating rules of his probation and he was sentenced to 90 days in jail, court records show.

Vann spent five years in a Texas prison after he was convicted in the 2007 sexual assault of a 25-year-old woman in Austin. Vann was accused of pummeling his victim before forcing her to perform oral sex.
After his release in the Texas assault, Vann moved to Indiana, where he split time living with his sister and in a single-story ranch home in Gary. Texas’ sex offender registry classified him as a low-risk offender.

Vann told police he met Hardy through an ad on Backpage.com, according to an affidavit. The sexual encounter became violent, and when Hardy began fighting back, Vann strangled the woman using his bare hands and a cord, he said.

Police in Gary were using trained dogs to search for bodies around the places where other women’s bodies were found over the weekend, authorities said.

“I have dispatched a team of officers along with a cadaver dog to the Glen Park and Midtown sections of the city,” Gary Police Chief Larry McKinley said. “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.”

It's unclear when the six women found in Gary were killed. One was reported missing in January.

In addition to Hardy, the police have released the identities of three other victims: Anith Jones, 35, of Merrillville, Ind.; and Kristine Williams, 36, and Teaira Batey, 28, of Gary.
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« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2014, 09:36:11 AM »

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-indiana-killings-20141022-story.html
Suspected serial killer due in Indiana court today
October 22, 2014

 
Vann is scheduled to appear in Indiana court Wednesday morning on charges he murdered 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy at a Motel 6. Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said he will consider seeking the death penalty, though the decision could take months. Carter said he plans to help prosecute Vann.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said she expected charges to be filed Wednesday against Vann related to the three women found in Gary who have been identified while authorities continue trying to identify the bodies of the three other women who were found after Vann's arrest Saturday.

Ramsey said detectives had built a "good rapport" with Vann and federal authorities planned to help try to verify things he told police.
Gary Police Chief Larry McKinley said Vann has continued to cooperate. After allegedly confessing to killing the women, he escorted police to the sites where the bodies were hidden, the chief said. Police don't know if the women were killed where they were found or if their bodies were dumped there, McKinley added.

"(Vann) has been very forthcoming, and it's almost like he wanted this information to be out," he said.

About 70 people have been reported missing in Gary since 2010, McKinley said. Although there were many missing persons reports, the authorities had no reason to believe there was a serial killer in the area, though some of the victims were described as transient and involved in drugs or prostitution.

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Vann has a violent criminal history, records show. He was accused of sexually assaulting and trying to strangle a 25-year-old woman in Texas in 2007, according to records. DNA on her clothing matched Vann, and he pleaded guilty to sexual assault and served five years in prison before his release in July 2013, according to records and Texas officials.

Records show Vann registered as a sex offender in Lake County, Ind., about a month after his release, giving a Gary address.

One of the women who has been identified, Teaira Batey, 28, of Gary had been missing since January. A second woman, Anith Jones, 35, of Merrillville was reported missing by a friend who had last seen her Oct. 7, according to a missing persons report. Vann is also a suspect in the slaying of Kristine Williams, 36, of Gary, police said.

Police had been looking for Batey and Jones, Freeman-Wilson said.

"We are confident that the police have followed up every lead. And that they did actively work the cases," she said.

Jones was the younger sister of Yolanda Nowells, a Chicago police officer. Jones grew up on Chicago's South Side but moved to Northwest Indiana about a decade ago, her sister said. Nowells said her family still is trying to piece together how Jones might have crossed paths with Vann.
 

On Tuesday, dozens of officers searched about 120 of an estimated 10,000 vacant and abandoned buildings that dot Gary, a weathered former industrial center whose population has dwindled to about 78,000 from nearly 180,000 since 1960. The search yielded no human remains, Chief McKinley said.

As a result of the killings, the city is trying to expedite efforts to board up and tear down vacant buildings, the mayor said.

"We understand the safety risk that abandonment poses to the community," Freeman-Wilson said. "And so that will continue to be a priority."

Federal authorities, meanwhile, were trying to determine how they might investigate whether Vann — who has had listed addresses in Texas and North Carolina — has victims in other parts of the country, the FBI's Ramsey said. Authorities plan to examine his travels, he said, while also checking computers or other devices he used.

Ramsey confirmed that Vann had served in the Marines from November 1991 until September 1993. He received an "other than honorable" discharge, Ramsey said, for what he described as "a pattern of minor disciplinary infractions." Ramsey would not say what information Vann has given investigators that could pertain to his past.
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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2014, 11:15:55 AM »

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-indiana-killings-20141022-story.html#page=1
After days of talking to police, suspected serial killer refuses to speak to judge
October 22, 2014

Investigators say they've developed a "good rapport" with suspected serial killer Darren Deon Vann and have cited his help in locating some of the victims. But Vann had nothing to say to a judge Wednesday morning during his first court appearance.

Apparently upset that reporters and visitors were allowed in the courtroom at the Lake County Jail, Vann stared ahead and refused to even acknowledge whether he understood why he was in court.  Judge Kathleen Sullivan postponed the hearing for a week but issued a stern warning.

"I may be compelled to hold you in contempt. . .You can remain in jail forever," Sullivan said. "I'll try this in a week. See if Mr. Vann is willing to talk in a week."

Vann wore a gray-striped jail-issued jumpsuit and was held in a separate area in the cramped courtroom inside the Crown Point jail. He was handcuffed, his hands in front of him, and was flanked by two sheriff's deputies.
Before the hearing began, Vann apparently objected to having reporters or visitors there. "It's an open courtroom, we have to let people in," Sullivan said.

About two dozen reporters were escorted through several locked doors and watched the proceedings through a glass partition.

When Vann was brought before the judge, she told him it was a hearing to explain the reason for his arrest. "Do you understand?" she said.

But Vann stared ahead blankly.

She asked again and he did not respond.

The judge said she was taking his resistance as refusal to participate in the hearing and delayed it for a week. Sullivan added that Vann can "stay in jail for the rest of his life if he refuses to participate."

Acting on a request from Vann's attorney, the judge said prosecutors are to have no contact with Vann.

Vann, 43, so far has been charged with strangling a 19-year-old woman in a Hammond motel Friday night, and officials say murder charges in the deaths of three of six other women found in vacant buildings in Gary are expected this week. Vann gave police information to help find those women, authorities said.

Police said Vann, a convicted sex offender, claimed to have killed more people over the past 20 years, but investigators are working with statements about other killings that are "very vague," said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Bob Ramsey, who is in charge of the agency's Merrillville office.
 
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« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2014, 05:39:13 PM »

http://www.statesman.com/news/news/crime-law/marine-corps-darren-vann-didnt-meet-expectations-a/nhp8J/
Marine Corps: Darren Vann didn’t meet expectations and standards
October 22, 2014

Indiana was prematurely discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps, according to records from the military branch.
Darren Vann, 43, was a private who joined the Marines in December 1991, according to the public portions of his personnel file. He was discharged in September 1993.
“Mr. Vann’s premature discharge and rank are indicative of the fact that the character of his service was incongruent with Marine Corps’ expectations and standards,” the file notes. “Due to the associated administrative processes, further details are not releasable at this time.”
In the nearly two years Vann was in the Marines, he specialized as a Hawk Missile system operator and earned a national defense service medal,the file says.
He was based in San Diego, Camp Pendleton, Calif., Fort Bliss, Cherry Point, N.C., and Yuma, Ariz.
 
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« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2014, 05:45:49 PM »

http://www.myfoxaustin.com/story/26850521/family-of-missing-rundberg-women-hopes-vann-case-could-give-them-leads-in-her-case
Family of missing Rundberg women hopes Vann case could give them leads
October 21, 2014



The possibility that suspected serial killer Darren Vann may be responsible for some unsolved crimes in Austin has at least one family feeling a sense of hope.

Patti Swinburne disappeared from the Rundberg area in 2005.

FOX 7 spoke with her daughter on Tuesday.

Ashlee Swinburne last spoke to her mom Patti on November 3rd of 2005.

Patti had attended a funeral in San Antonio, but had returned back to Rundberg.

She was 46 when she disappeared. She has two daughters and five grandchildren.

Patti only got the opportunity to meet one, the rest were born after 2005.

FOX 7 was told she frequented the Rundberg area because of her drug addiction. She suffered a back injury and became addicted to pain pills and eventually cocaine.

Patti's life may not have been perfect, but her daughter describes her as having a kind heart and a soft spirit.

Now that detectives are going through their cases to see there is a connection to suspected serial killer Darren Vann, the Swinburne family has renewed hope of getting answers.
 

If you have any information about this cold case, the Austin Police Department wants to hear from you.

You can reach the Homicide Cold Case/Missing Persons Unit at the homicide tip line at (512) 477-3588 or the Capital Area Crime Stoppers Program at (512) 472-TIPS of text “TIP 103” + your message to CRIMES.
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