Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET
Police in Hammond, Ind., believe they may be on to a serial killer after a man who confessed to killing one woman subsequently led authorities to the bodies of six others, The Associated Press reports.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson tells the AP that the suspect, 43, directed investigators to sites where bodies were found Saturday and Sunday. Freeman-Wilson said the suspect is from Austin, Texas.
At an early afternoon news conference, Hammond Police Chief John D. Doughty said the suspect, who is cooperating with authorities, said in an initial interview that he’d “messed up.”
He detailed several of the victims — some found in Hammond and others in nearby Gary.
“It is possible that the investigation will lead to more victims,” Doughty said, adding that the homicides could go back as far as 20 years.
“The Lake County coroner’s office said the women were found Sunday night in two different locations in Gary. The coroner’s office called the three new deaths all homicides, with one victim strangled and unspecified injuries for the other two women. The bodies of seven slain women have been discovered in the two cities since late Friday.
“Police in Hammond, Ind., were led to the man, who has not yet been formally charged and authorities aren’t naming, after finding the body of Afrika Hardy, 19, at Motel 6 on Friday. She had been strangled, according to the Lake County coroner’s office.”
The AP says:
“Police investigating her death obtained a search warrant for a home and vehicle in Gary. Police conducted the search Saturday afternoon and took the man into custody. Hoyda said the man confessed during questioning and then told investigators ‘where several other female victims of possible homicide were located.’
“Hoyda said the man’s name wasn’t being released because he had not yet been formally charged. He would not say when charges will be filed. He was being held in the Hammond City Jail.”