Bodies of seven women found in Indiana. Mayor: Suspect is sex offender

Gary, Indiana Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson tells The Associated Press that the 43-year-old man in custody directed investigators to sites where bodies were found Saturday and Sunday.

Jim Karczewsk/Sun-Times Media/AP
In this Oct. 19 photo is the Motel 6 in Hammond, Ind., where a victim was found on Sunday. Police said Sunday that a 43-year-old man confessed to killing a woman whose body was found in the motel and told investigators where the bodies of three other women could be found in abandoned homes in neighboring Gary, Ind.

The bodies of seven women have now been found in Indiana after a man confessed to killing one woman who was found strangled at a motel and led investigators to at least three other bodies, authorities said Monday.

The coroner's office said three of the bodies were found Sunday night at two locations in Gary, a city about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Chicago, while the other four bodies were found earlier over the weekend. The coroner's office called the new deaths homicides, with one victim strangled and unspecified injuries for the other two women.

At least three of the bodies were found in the same abandoned home in Gary, according to the coroner's office.

It wasn't immediately clear Monday whether the man directed police to the three bodies Sunday night. Phone and email messages seeking comment from Gary police spokeswoman weren't immediately returned.

The mayor of Gary, Indiana, Karen Freeman-Wilson, 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.

Police haven't released the name of the man taken into custody after a 19-year-old woman was found fatally strangled Friday night at a Motel 6 in the neighboring city of Hammond.

Freeman-Wilson says authorities aren't certain how long the man 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.

Police said Sunday that a 43-year-old man confessed to killing a woman whose body was found in a motel in the neighboring city of Hammond and told investigators where the bodies of three other women could be found in abandoned homes in Gary.

Gary police found the bodies of three women at different locations in Gary late Saturday and early Sunday, following up on information the man provided during questioning, Hammond police Lt. Rich Hoyda said Sunday. Hoyda wouldn't comment on how the man knew the women, on a possible motive or on whether the man confessed to killing any of the other women.

The county coroner's office identified the victim found in Hammond as 19-year-old Afrika Hardy and ruled her death a strangulation. A second victim has been identified by family members as 35-year-old Anith Jones, who had been missing since Oct. 8.

Jones' body was found at the same address where two other bodies were found Sunday night. Autopsies are pending on those three women.

Police discovered Hardy's body about 9:30 p.m. Friday at a motel.

"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."

Police investigating her death obtained a search warrant for a home and vehicle in Gary. Police conducted the search Saturday afternoon and took the man into custody. Hoyda said the man confessed during questioning and then told investigators "where several other female victims of possible homicide were located."

Hoyda said the man's name wasn't being released because he had not yet been formally charged. He would not say when charges will be filed.

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