2 More Bodies Connected to Ind. Serial Killer Case ID'd - NBC New York
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2 More Bodies Connected to Ind. Serial Killer Case ID'd

Women are the final two of seven bodies recovered after Darren Deon Vann was arrested in October

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Suspected Serial Killer Pleads Not Guilty

    Darren Vann appeared before Lake Superior Court Judge Diane Boswell to face murder charges and other counts in the strangulation deaths of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy and 35-year-old Anith Jones. Michelle Relerford reports. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014)

    The final two women who authorities believe were killed by suspected serial killer Darren Deon Vann were identified Thursday.

    Lake County, Indiana, Coroner Merrilee Frey said DNA testing identified the bodies found in October as Tanya Gatlin, 27, and Sonya Billingsly, 53. Both were last known to have resided in Gary, Indiana.

    Vann, 43, is being held without bail at the Lake County Jail. He's been charged with murder in the strangulation deaths of Afrika Hardy, 19 and Anith Jones, 35, of Merrillville last fall. Additional charges have been delayed while police waited for Frey to declare additional women as homicide victims. In her latest release, Frey made no mention of the cause or manner of Gatlin's and Billingsly's deaths.

    The case against Vann, of Gary, broke when Hammond police found Hardy dead in motel bathtub on Oct. 17 and determined that Vann had been with her at the motel. He was arrested the following day after police traced Hardy’s cellphone to him. Vann admitted killing several women and told police where the bodies could be found.

    Gatlin and Billingsly were two of three women found in two adjacent abandoned houses at 43rd Avenue and Delaware Street. The third was Jones, whose sister had reported her missing days before her body was discovered.

    The body of Kristine Williams, 36, was in a vacant house at 4330 Massachusetts St., and Tearia Batey, 28, was found in a vacant unit at the Dorie Miller Housing Development.

    A body found in a vacant house at 2200 Massachusetts St. was identified last month as 41-year-old Tracy Martin.

    Lake County prosecutors in January obtained five search warrants related to Vann’s case. The warrants were sealed and a gag order prohibits investigators from speaking publicly about the case.