A second round of murder charges were filed Wednesday against a registered sex offender suspected in the deaths of at least seven women whose bodies were found over the last weekend.
Darren Deon Vann, 43, was charged in the death of Anith Jones, a 35-year-old Merrillville resident whose body was found late Saturday night. Her family had reported her missing on Oct. 8.
Vann was charged Monday in connection with the strangulation death of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy.
Earlier Wednesday, Vann was ordered held in contempt of court when he refused to utter a word to the judge during his initial court appearance in the Hardy case.
"He will stay in jail for the rest of his life until this hearing takes place," Magistrate Judge Kathleen Sullivanwas said before putting the case on hold until Oct. 29 and agreeing to a defense motion for a gag order.
"See you in a week," she said.
Vann was then taken back to his jail cell, which is away from the general population and where he is under 24-hour watch from personnel.
Authorities said Vann, of Gary, opened up about previous crimes once he was arrested in connection with the Hardy case and helped police find six other bodies. By Wednesday morning, just three of those six had been positively identified: Jones, 28-year-old Teairra Batey, and 36-year-old Kristine Williams.
Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey on Tuesday asked for the public's help in identifying two of the women who were recovered over the weekend. Anyone with information is asked to call the Lake County Coroner’s Office at 219-755-3265.