Darren Vann (43), of Gary Indiana was charged with the murder of Anith Jones (35) from Merrillville, Indiana who police say was a prostitute he met through a website. Jones may have been a key witness in a pending case involving a mutual acquaintance who allegedly offered Vann $500 and drugs to prevent her participation in that proceeding. Federal and state police have been questioning Van since his recent arrest and charges of murder in connection with the death of Afrika Hardy (19) whose body was found in a Motel 6 in Hammond, Indiana last week. She had been strangled. According to authorities, Vann has now confessed to killing 7 women although authorities believe there may be more. Police have found 7 bodies in total. Two victims were identified as Teaira Batey (28) and Kristine Williams (36) both from Gary. The identities of the other bodies are under investigation and medical examiners are working with family members and forensic evidence to assist them in the identification process.
Vann was given an “Other than Honorable” discharge from the Marines in 1993. The exact reasoning for this type of discharge has not been disclosed. He has a prior record of sexual and violent behavior and has served time in jail. He is required to be registered as a sex offender. Vann spent time training in the military or working in Camp Pendleton, CA, Fort Bliss, TX, Yuma, AZ and Cherry Point, NC. Authorities are searching records and for leads to determine whether Vann could be linked to crimes in these areas.
COMMENT: Indiana has the death penalty by lethal injection however the 3-drug-protocol in place is under attack as it is in Missouri and Oklahoma and other states based upon cruel and unusual punishment contentions.