The ex-wife of Darren Vann says she is "lightheaded" to discover the man she was married to for 16 years is a suspected serial killer—whose crimes may have begun in the early years of their marriage. Maria Vann tells the New York Times that the man she first met in 1991 "was kind, intelligent, very relaxed, very nice to everybody," but something of a loner. The couple were divorced in 2011 but had been separated for years beforehand, and she says she cut off all contact in 2009 after discovering the man from Gary, Ind., had been convicted of a 2007 sexual assault in Texas. He got out of prison in July last year. More:
- Vann's younger brother, who is also a Gary resident, has offered apologies to the victims' families. "To the victims, I'm sorry for their loss," he tells the Chicago Tribune. “I'm a father of two daughters myself. This comes as a shock to us and our household. … This is a painful moment for us, too."
- Maria Vann's son tells the Tribune that the man who married his mother "was strange, he was weird," and he could never understand why Vann, now 43, was interested in his mother, who is considerably older than the suspect.
- Police say Vann quickly confessed to the murder of 19-year-old Afrika Hardy in a Hammond, Ind., motel room after they tracked him down, and he confessed to killing six more women whose bodies were found in abandoned houses in nearby Gary, USA Today reports. Vann has told investigators he strangled Hardy with a cellphone cord and left her in a bathtub. Hammond's chief of police says Vann told investigators he "messed up" with his last murder.
- The woman Vann served five years in prison for assaulting was a prostitute, and investigators believe he used an online prostitution service to find his victims in Indiana. Police sources tell the Chicago Sun-Times that Vann seemed to get a thrill out of leading them to the bodies. "He's basking in the glory," one detective says. "He is reliving everything, seeing photos of the victims, dead and alive."
- Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson says cadaver dogs may be used to see if there are more victims in the city's many abandoned properties. "We have 10,000 abandoned buildings and can only account for five that were the location of these bodies," she told reporters yesterday. "Do the math."
(Read more serial killers