Convicted sex offender confesses to murdering seven women in Chicago suburbs ... but police fear more victims

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Police Investigating Possible Serial Killer in Indiana

By RYAN GORMAN

An Indiana man has confessed to killing seven women, and police believe there may be more victims.

Darren Vann, a 43-year-old convicted sex offender from Gary, has already led police to three of their bodies, police said. The investigation into the women's deaths began after a teen escort was found last week strangled to death in a motel bathroom.

The admitted serial killer also provided investigators information on where to find the additional four bodies, and police believe there may be more victims.

"His level of cooperation and statements he's given us could lead to more victims," Hammond Police Chief James Doughty said at a Monday afternoon press conference. "It could go back as far as 20 years, based on some statements we have."

Vann appeared surprised police quickly tracked him down after 19-year-old Afrika Hardy was found murdered at a Motel 6, according to Doughty.

She was found naked in the bathtub with the shower running, according to an affidavit obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times. There were red marks on her neck that appear to have been caused by "something thin."

A broken fingernail, shirt button and torn condom wrapper were found on the floor, according to police. The bed had been moved away from the wall, indicating there was a struggle between the victim and her killer, the affidavit said, according to the Sun-Times.

Hardy is believed by investigators to have met Vann on Backpage.com as an escort, sources told WGN. Hardy's partner in the escort service told police she was met in the motel by a John using the name "Big Boy Appetite" on the site, according to the affidavit.

The partner detailed frantic attempts to contact Hardy after her appointment with Vann "went past the normal time," police said in the filing. She called the dead escort eight times.

The woman and a friend then later that evening went to Hardy's hotel room and discovered her dead body.

Vann was soon linked to the killing after detectives tracked him down using phone records, Doughty added. He did not resist arrest and volunteered all information to officers while "seeking a deal with prosecutors."

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Convicted sex offender confesses to murdering seven women in Chicago suburbs ... but police fear more victims
This undated handout photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Darren Vann. Police say Vann, a suspect in the slayings of seven women whose bodies were found in northwestern Indiana over the weekend, is a former Texas resident who now lives in Gary. Hammond Police Chief John Doughty says Vann will be charged Monday in the slaying of a woman whose body was found Friday at a Motel 6 in Hammond. (AP Photo/Texas Department of Criminal Justice)
This undated photo provided by the Lake County Sheriff's office shows Darren Vann. Vann, 43, of Gary, Ind., was charged Monday, Oct. 20, 2014 in the death of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy, whose body was found Friday night at a Motel 6 in nearby Hammond, Ind. Hammond Police Chief John Doughty says Vann confessed to Hardy's slaying and directed police to six bodies in Gary. (AP Photo/Lake County Sheriff's Office)
Darren Vann, 43, of Gary, Indiana, has admitted to killing seven women, police claim. (National Sex Offender Registry)
Afrikka Hardy, 19, was found strangled to death Friday night in a suburban Chicago motel. (Facebook)
In this June 2013 photo provided by Natasha Conway is Anith Jones of Merrillville, Ind., whose body was found Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014 in an abandoned Gary, Ind., home. Authorities say Darren Vann, who was taken into custody Saturday, confessed to killing Afrikka Hardy on Friday in Hammond, Ind., and during interviews directed police to Jones body in Gary, Ind. Police found five more bodies Sunday in other Gary homes and hinted at more victims over a 20-year span. (AP Photo/Natasha Conway)
Anith Jones, 34, is another of the suspect's admitted murders. She is believed to have met the convicted sex offender as an escort on Backpage.com. (Facebook)
Hardy is believed to have been one of seven known victims of a confessed serial killer. (Facebook)
This Motel 6, in Hammond, is where Hardy was found dead. (WGN)
Her body was inside one of these rooms. (WGN)
Jones' body was found in this abandoned home in Gary, Indiana. (WGN)
Other bodies were found in abandoned homes in the towns of Hammond and Gary. (WGN)
Another body was found inside this abandoned home. (WGN)
GARY, IN - OCTOBER 21: A home sits abandoned in the 400 block of East 43rd Avenue October 21, 2014 in Gary, Indiana. According to police, Darren Deon Vann, 43, of Gary, allegedly left three bodies at this location. Vann is suspected in the deaths of at least seven women in northwest Indiana. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
GARY, IN - OCTOBER 21: A home sits abandoned in the 2200 block of Massachusetts Street October 21, 2014 in Gary, Indiana. According to police, Darren Deon Vann, 43, allegedly left the body of an unidentified African American woman at this location. Vann is suspected in the deaths of at least seven women in northwest Indiana. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
GARY, IN - OCTOBER 21: A home sits abandoned in the 2200 block of Massachusetts Street October 21, 2014 in Gary, Indiana. According to police, Darren Deon Vann, 43, allegedly left the body of an unidentified African American woman at this location. Vann is suspected in the deaths of at least seven women in northwest Indiana. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
GARY, IN - OCTOBER 21: A home sits abandoned in the 1800 block of East 19th Avenue October 21, 2014 in Gary, Indiana. According to police, Darren Deon Vann, 43, of Gary, allegedly left the body of Teaira Batey, 28, at this location. Vann is suspected in the deaths of at least seven women in northwest Indiana. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
GARY, IN - OCTOBER 21: A home sits abandoned in the 2200 block of Massachusetts Street October 21, 2014 in Gary, Indiana. According to police, Darren Deon Vann, 43, allegedly left the body of an unidentified African American woman at this location. Vann is suspected in the deaths of at least seven women in northwest Indiana. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
GARY, IN - OCTOBER 21: A home sits abandoned in the 2200 block of Massachusetts Street October 21, 2014 in Gary, Indiana. According to police, Darren Deon Vann, 43, allegedly left the body of an unidentified African American woman at this location. Vann is suspected in the deaths of at least seven women in northwest Indiana. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
GARY, IN - OCTOBER 21: A home sits abandoned in the 2200 block of Massachusetts Street October 21, 2014 in Gary, Indiana. According to police, Darren Deon Vann, 43, allegedly left the body of an unidentified African American woman at this location. Vann is suspected in the deaths of at least seven women in northwest Indiana. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
GARY, IN - OCTOBER 21: Lory Welch boards up an abandoned home in the 1800 block of East 19th Avenue October 21, 2014 in Gary, Indiana. According to police, Darren Deon Vann, 43, of Gary, allegedly left the body of Teaira Batey, 28, at this location. Vann is suspected in the deaths of at least seven women in northwest Indiana. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
GARY, IN - OCTOBER 21: A home sits abandoned in the 400 block of East 43rd Avenue October 21, 2014 in Gary, Indiana. According to police, Darren Deon Vann, 43, of Gary, allegedly left three bodies at this location. Vann is suspected in the deaths of at least seven women in northwest Indiana. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
GARY, IN - OCTOBER 21: A home sits abandoned in the 1800 block of East 19th Avenue October 21, 2014 in Gary, Indiana. According to police, Darren Deon Vann, 43, of Gary, allegedly left the body of Teaira Batey, 28, at this location. Vann is suspected in the deaths of at least seven women in northwest Indiana. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
HAMMOND, IN - OCTOBER 21: A Motel 6 can be seen on October 21, 2014 in Hammond, Indiana. According to police, Darren Deon Vann, 43, of Gary, allegedly left the body of Afrika Hardy, 19, at this location. Vann is suspected in the deaths of at least seven women in northwest Indiana. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
GARY, IN - OCTOBER 21: A home sits abandoned in the 400 block of East 43rd Avenue October 21, 2014 in Gary, Indiana. According to police, Darren Deon Vann, 43, of Gary, allegedly left three bodies at this location. Vann is suspected in the deaths of at least seven women in northwest Indiana. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
These homes were previously discussed by Gary's mayor as being a hotbed for criminal activity. (WGN)
CORRECTS YEAR TO 2014 INSTEAD OF 2015 - Gary, Indiana Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson speaks at a news conference Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, in Hammond, Ind. Police investigating the slayings of seven women whose bodies were found over the weekend in northwestern Indiana say the suspect has told them that he may have killed people going back 20 years. Hammond Police Chief John Doughty says Darren Vann will be charged Monday in the slaying of a woman whose body was found Friday at a Motel 6 in Hammond. Police say Vann provided information that led authorities to the bodies of six other women in abandoned homes in the nearby city of Gary, Indiana. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
CORRECTS YEAR TO 2014 INSTEAD OF 2015 - Hammond Police Chief John Doughty speaks at a news conference Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, in Hammond, Ind. Police investigating the slayings of seven women whose bodies were found over the weekend in northwestern Indiana say the suspect has told them that he may have killed people going back 20 years. Chief Doughty says Darren Vann will be charged Monday in the slaying of a woman whose body was found Friday at a Motel 6 in Hammond. Police say Vann provided information that led authorities to the bodies of six other women in abandoned homes in the nearby city of Gary, Indiana. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
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"Mr. Vann told Hammond police officers at the scene that he messed up by committing the crime at the Motel 6 in Hammond and was surprised he was caught," the police chief said.

The suspected serial killer admitted to killing Hardy while the pair had sex.

"At one point the sex was getting rough and she started to fight with him," the document said, according to the paper. "Vann said that he strangled the woman first with his hands and then with a cord before placing her body in the bathtub of the motel room."

No motive has yet been established for the crimes: "I don't have a specific reason he does this," said Doughty.

"Late afternoon on Saturday the search warrant was executed at a home there and a vehicle and person of interest in the Hammond incident was taken into custody by Hammond police," authorities told the paper in a statement.

"A subsequent interrogation of [Vann] led to the man making a confession and then leading detectives to the city of Gary where several other female victims of possible homicide were located.

"The search warrant was executed not at the residence of the suspect but at a location near to the reported suspect's home in Gary."

A second woman, 35-year-old Anith Jones, of Merrillville, was found murdered late Saturday night, according to the paper.

Jones had been reported missing one week ago according to police. The dead woman's sister told local reporters she is "very street savvy."

Five additional Jane Does were discovered dead Sunday, two of them in the same home, according to Doughty. Of the seven victims, six were found in abandoned houses in Gary.

The remains uncovered over the weekend are believed to be "more recent" than 20 year ago, said Doughty.

"We have evidence that he was in Texas and all over the United States," Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson told the Tribune.

Police believe he acted alone in all the killings.

His sex offender status was established in Texas, according to federal records.

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