Hammond serial rape suspect may be linked to mother of 3's murder, police say

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Hammond police said Monday a 15-year-old serial rapist taken off the streets last week may be connected to a separate unsolved murder. (WLS)

Hammond police said Monday a serial rapist taken off the streets last week may be connected to a separate unsolved murder.

The suspect is not being identified because of his age and a gag order issued by a Lake County Judge. However, Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott did not mince words when describing the 15-year-old boy believed to be responsible not only for two rapes but also a murder, all committed within one month of each other.

"Depraved young man. I talked to the officers who arrested him and there was ice blood, there is basically ice water in his veins. Described to me as a sociopath," Mayor McDermott said.

The suspect was seen on surveillance video from Aug. 8, allegedly forcing a 25-year-old woman into an alley around 12:46 a.m. in the 7400-block of Arkansas Avenue. The teen allegedly threatened the victim with a hammer while she was out walking and raped her in the alley.

Around 12:30 p.m. on July 26, police said a 14-year-old girl who was out walking in the 6700-block of Grand Avenue was also threated with a hammer, forced into an alley and raped.

The Indiana State Police Crime Lab confirmed DNA evidence links the suspect to both rapes, police said. He was taken into custody on Friday. Probable cause affidavits were presented to the Lake County, Ind., Juvenile Prosecutor's Office. Formal charges are pending.

The same rapist could be responsible for the stabbing death of a 25-year-old woman, police said Monday.

Lucia Gonzalez, 25 was killed while all three of her children slept. She was found by her 6-year-old, stabbed to death in the kitchen.

"Initially, the investigation was leading investigators to believe that it was an isolated incident. However, our investigators continue their investigation around the clock and develop information that the homicide could be related to the rapes," said Ezekiel Hinojosa, detective captain in charge of investigations, Hammond Police Department.

Investigators have not said what led them to connect what were previously believed to be two separate investigations, but prosecutors are now seeking to charge the teenager as an adult.

"We have to file a petition to waive him into adult court. That takes time. That's not done yet. It could take possibly months maybe," Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said.

The 15-year-old is being held at the juvenile detention facility in Crown Point. His bond hearing has not yet been set.

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