Coroner Seeks Public's Help in Identifying Indiana Victims

Seven women's bodies were found over the weekend in Indiana

The Lake County coroner says three women whose bodies were among seven found in Indiana over the weekend remain unidentified and officials are asking for the public's help in identifying two of those women.

The coroner's office has released images of jewelry and clothing descriptions in hopes that someone might know who they are. They said two of the bodies have partially skeletonized.

"It makes identity difficult intially because something they may not have identifying factors," said Coroner Merrilee Frey.
[[280116972, R]] One unidentified woman was found Sunday in the 400 block of 43rd Avenue in Gary. The woman was wearing a silver linked bracelet with “Best Aunt” on top, a silver ring with a heart shape and a silver ring with scalloped engravings. The woman was approximately 5-foot-3.

The other was found Sunday in the 4300 block of Massachusetts in Gary. She was wearing a pair of blue jeans by RUE21 and white Nike gym shoes. The individual was approximately 5 feet tall.

A phone call from a family who believes the third unidentified victim may be a relative has led to DNA testing to confirm the woman's identity.

"We'd like to continue to receive phone calls here at the coroner's office if anyone may have knowledge of a loved one that's missing," Frey said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Lake County Coroner’s Office at 219-755-3265.

[[279854992, C]] The coroner on Tuesday identified a woman found Sunday in the 4300 block of Massachusetts in Gary, Indiana, as 36-year-old Kristine Williams of Gary. Williams’ family has been notified, Coroner Merrilee Frey said, and her identity was confirmed.

[[279708142, C]] An autopsy was performed Monday, but the manner and cause of her death are pending.  

[[279856372, C]] Three other victims already have been identified: 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy, 35-year-old Anith Jones, 28-year-old Teairra Batey.

Darren Deon Vann, 43, of Gary, was charged with one count of murder, as well as murder in the perpetration of a robbery and robbery resulting in serious bodily harm, all related to Hardy's death.

Vann was moved Monday night to the Lake County (Indiana) Jail as charges were pending in other cases and as authorities continued the task of identifying the victims.

[[279985202, C]] Though Vann hasn't yet been charged in the deaths of the other six women, Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. told reporters Vann is "what I would label a serial killer."

"We're working with closely with the coroner's office, dental records and that," said Lake County Sheriff John Buncich. "We expect something hopefully shortly."

Court records show Vann has been a registered sex offender in Texas since a September 2009 conviction.

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