Seven women have been found dead this week in northwestern Indiana, one in a motel and six in abandoned houses in Gary.
Darren Vann, 43, was charged Monday in the death of the woman whose body was found Friday at a Motel 6 in Hammond, 20 miles southeast of Chicago. Police say Vann has confessed to all seven killings and hinted that there could be more, stretching back two decades.
Family and friends of three victims reached by The Associated Press on Tuesday remembered the women as caring, loving family members who will be missed.
Jones was a fixture in Natasha Conway‘s life for 25 years.
She was the little girl who wanted to play when Conway moved to a new neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side at 9. She was the teenager who promised to carry on the tradition of baking Betty Boop birthday cakes after Conway buried her father at 18. She was the woman who snuck a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich into the hospital room after Conway gave birth to her second child at 25.
So when Jones went missing in early October, Conway, 34, noticed.
“They say you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” Conway said. “I knew what I had in a friend.”
As young women, Conway and Jones visited Memphis, St. Louis and Detroit. They shared a love of Chicago’s reggae clubs. They got tattoos together.
“She just wanted to travel and enjoy life,” Conway said.
Apart from her dog, Buzz, and cat, Chuck, Jones, 35, had no children. Instead, she was godmother to her friends’ children, including Conway’s son and daughter.
One of several siblings, Jones was also the “favorite aunt to every last one of her nieces and nephews,” Conway said.