Darren Deon Vann, the suspected serial killer already charged with strangling two Indiana women, was charged Monday with murder in the deaths of five more women, according to police and court records.
Vann, now 45, of Gary, was arrested in October 2014 and charged with murder after the body of Afrika Hardy, 19, was found in a hotel room bathtub in Hammond. Shortly thereafter, he was charged with murder in the death of Anith Jones, 35, and pleaded not guilty in both cases.
Police alleged that Vann admitted to killing Hardy, Jones and five other women and told investigators where to find all of the six other bodies. Three of the seven women remain unidentified, and all are believed to have been sex workers.
Records filed Monday in Lake County Superior Court show Vann, an ex-Marine who previously served five years in a Texas prison for sexual assault, now faces murder charges in the five other cases. He is scheduled for trial July 25 and could face the death penalty if he's convicted.
Gary police Lt. Dawn Westerfield said no further information was being released, but she confirmed that in addition to the murder counts, Vann was also charged Monday with 10 additional counts, among them rape, attempted murder and criminal confinement.
A criminal complaint filed with the new charges was sealed, but in an affidavit filed when Vann was initially charged in October 2014, Hammond police said Vann used the pseudonym "Big Boy Appetite" to contact Hardy through the personals site Backpage.com and met her in the hotel room for sex.
Hardy's partner in the escort business went to the hotel room when Hardy didn't respond to phone calls and text messages and called 911 after she found Hardy's body, according to the affidavit. There were signs of a struggle, and Hardy had red marks on her neck suggesting she had been strangled, police said.
A man matching Vann's description was recorded on surveillance video at the hotel and, when cops arrested him, he admitted strangling Hardy with a cord and placing her body in the bathtub, police said.