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Did Gary police ignore possible links to a serial killer years ago?

Darren D. Vann | Lake County police photo

A news outlet is reporting that four years ago it gave Gary, Indiana, police and the Lake County, Indiana, coroner’s office a list of strangulation victims dating back to November 1991 indicating the work of a possible serial killer. Scripps News earlier this week published a report detailing its communication with the department.

The Northwest Indiana city, once the “murder capital” of the U.S., is in the midst of an investigation into suspected serial killer Darren D. Vann, 43, of Gary. Vann has been charged in the strangling of Afrika Hardy, 19, whose body was discovered Oct. 17 in a Hammond motel. Hammond police used surveillance footage and arrested Vann, who allegedly confessed to strangling women and dumping their bodies in abandoned houses in Gary. He has led police to six bodies in such locations in Gary.

The search for other possible victims continues with Cook County sheriff’s investigators using Vann’s phone records to narrow their search, sources say.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said she and police Chief Larry McKinley were not in office in 2010 when the requests by Scripps were made. “The chief was contacted by Scripps this week, and he spoke with them regarding the requests. He and his team will look into these inquiries but decline to speculate whether these cases are related to the current investigations,” Freeman-Wilson said in a statement emailed Saturday morning.