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March 8, 2022

Serial Killers You've Never Heard Of: Darren Deon Vann - The Gary Strangler

Serial Killers You've Never Heard Of: Darren Deon Vann - The Gary Strangler
Between 2013 and 2014, serial killer Darren Deon Vann, also known as The Gary Strangler, murdered at least seven women in the Gary, Indiana, area, leaving their bodies in abandoned foreclosed homes. Vann was born on March 21, 1971, in Indiana, and served time in jail for sexual assault. Vann preyed on female sex workers he found on websites like Backpage, among other charges and offenses — including a dishonorable discharge from the Marine Corps in 1993. Despite the fact that Vann's official list of victims (those he acknowledged to killing) only includes seven names, there are other unsolved murders in his area dating back to the year 2000 that fit his killer description.
Vann's final victim was 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy. On October 19, 2014, he murdered her and dumped her body in the bathtub of a Motel 6 in Hammond, Indiana. Authorities discovered her body, which was covered with used condoms, and discovered she had been strangled with Vann's hands and a string.
Hardy, on the other hand, was a local sex worker who kept in touch with her pimp on a regular basis. Hardy's pimp went to her motel room after she didn't answer his texts and calls. He dialed 911 after finding her in the tub. Authorities examined the security footage and discovered that Vann was the last person seen with her; his vehicle was also captured on video which made locating him easy for law enforcement.
Several of Vann's victims had decayed to the point where it was difficult to identify what he strangled them with, but in the case of Tracey Martin, it was evident that he strangled her to death with her own necklace, which was still around her neck. Martin's body was discovered in a residence on Gary's 2200 block of Massachusetts Street, which was cluttered with garbage. Her body was discovered in a bedroom on the second floor. Martin, who had been missing since June 2014, had only been in the house for 48 hours when police arrived. Her mummified body was discovered in a closet they had missed during their first visit looking for her.
Vann claims that he killed her because he was "angry," and that she was "the first person he ran into.”
Rather than going to trial and facing the death penalty, Vann struck a plea deal with the state and pleaded guilty to seven counts of murder. He was sentenced to seven sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole and is currently serving his time at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Carlisle Indiana.
Interested in learning more about Darren Deon Vann? Make sure to check him out on one of our upcoming episodes. Visit our website, subscribe to our podcast, and join our mailing list to stay updated on new episodes and posts about your favorite American serial killers. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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