Police have person of interest in Gary, Hammond deaths

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Monday, October 20, 2014
Person of interest in custody in NW Indiana deaths
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A person of interest is in custody in connection with the deaths of one woman in Hammond and three other women in Gary.

HAMMOND, Ind. (WLS) -- A person of interest is in custody in connection with the deaths of four women, one in Hammond, Ind., and three other in Gary, Ind.

The investigation began Friday with the discovery of a woman's body in Hammond. Police say after a suspect was arrested he led authorities to the other victims in Gary.

Authorities say they are continuing to hold the suspect at the Gary Police Station. Investigators are calling him a person of interest after they say he confessed to killing one of those women.

Authorities say 35-year-old Anith Jones of Merrillville is one of the women allegedly killed by a man now being held in connection with several killings in northwest Indiana.

"We'll have do a timeline backwards to see who the last person was that they talked to or who the last person it was they were with, and then the investigation can really take off," said Cpl. Gabrielle King, Gary Police Department.

Investigators say the man, who is being held by Hammond police, is considered a person of interest in the deaths of at least three other females found at different locations in Gary and Hammond since Friday evening.

The suspect, a 43-year-old Gary man, led police to the three bodies in Gary after confessing to the death of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy, found unresponsive around 9:30 Friday night at a Motel 6 in Hammond. An autopsy Sunday revealed that she died as a result of strangulation.

Jones's body was found in the 400-block of East 43rd Avenue in Gary.

"It does concern me, especially because I am a female and I do have girls, I have daughters," said Gary resident Sheila Russell.

Another female was found in the 1800-block of East 19th Avenue. The coroner's office said she was wearing a green hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.

A third female was found in the 2200-block of Massachusetts Street. She was wearing blue jeans and white Nike shoes.

"Prostitutes come down here constantly, whatever negativity that they do, they go in these building and you don't know what they're doing," Gary resident Lonnie Winbourne said.

Investigators say they have executed a search warrant at a home connected to the person of interest, but have not said if they have searched his home. They have searched his car.

No charges have been filed as the investigation continues.