- Associated Press - Friday, February 13, 2015

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) - Authorities announced Friday the identities of the final two of seven women whose bodies were found last October in connection with a suspected serial killing.

The Lake County coroner said they were identified as 53-year-old Sonya Billingsley and 27-year-old Tanya Gatlin, both from Gary.

Police said Darren Vann, 43, led them to five bodies in abandoned homes in Gary after he was questioned in the death of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy of Gary. He has since been charged with killing Hardy and 35-year-old Anith Jones of Merrillville and is suspected in the deaths of the other five women. Prosecutors have said they may seek the death penalty against Vann.

No other information was released Friday about the two women identified.

Also on Friday, a judge ruled that a northwestern Indiana sheriff did not violate a gag order in the case when he contacted two newspapers to complain about a request from Vann’s lawyers.

But Judge Diane Boswell urged Lake County Sheriff John Buncich to be cautious in what he says about the case involving Vann.

The judge’s ruling stems from a request by Vann’s attorneys that the sheriff be held in contempt after comments he made to The Times of Munster and the Post-Tribune of Merrillville that the lawyers said could taint any jury in the case.

Buncich mentioned to the newspapers that Vann wanted a romance novel, when the request for reading materials made no mention of that, the lawyers said.

Buncich conceded he went to the newspapers because he was upset about the request by attorneys that Vann be given reading materials not allowed under jail rules.

A status hearing for Vann’s case was postponed until March 13. Vann did not attend Friday’s hearing because he has waived his right to be present at hearings in the case.

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