A 15-year-old was taken into custody in connection with two violent rapes and the death of a woman in northwest Indiana last week, authorities announced Monday.
"Today, our streets are safe from this violent individual," police said in a release.
According to authorities, DNA recovered from two sexual assault victims matched the teen, who had been a person of interest in the case. Formal charges are pending against the teen suspect, whose name was being withheld because of his age, police said.
The sexual assaults happened within two weeks of each other in Hammond, with a 14-year-old girl and a 25-year-old woman being approached by a young man who forced them into an alley and raped them, officials alleged.
The incidents happened around 12:30 p.m. July 26 in the 6700 block of Grand Avenue and just before 1 a.m. Aug. 8 in the 7400 block of Arkansas Avenue. Both times the women reported the teen threatened them with a hammer.
The teen is also accused in connection with the killing of Lucia Gonzalez, who was found stabbed to death in her Hammond home last Tuesday.
Around 6 a.m., officers responded to a report of a bleeding woman in the 7500 block of Alexander Avenue in Hammond, according to police.
Gonzalez, 25, was found dead in her home, but children inside the house were “safe and unharmed,” officials said.
An autopsy determined Gonzalez died of multiple stab wounds and her death was ruled a homicide, the coroner’s office and police said.
"At this time, we believe our suspect in the rapes is also our prime suspect in the homicide of Ms. Gonzalez," Hammond police said in a statement.