Police Search for Bodies After Man Admits Serial Killings
GARY, Ind. (AP) _ A convicted rapist charged with strangling an 8-year-old girl has reportedly confessed to killing the youngster and at least 10 other people and told police where they could find three of the bodies.
Authorities had not even known about some of the murders until Eugene V. Britt’s confession on Tuesday, and they immediately found the remains of one woman, the Gary Post-Tribune and The Times of Munster reported Thursday.
Police searched for the other victims.
``Do we believe a serial killer has been at work in this area? I would have to be truthful and say yes,″ Police Chief Joseph Slay said.
Britt, 38, already faces murder and sexual deviate conduct charges in the Aug. 22 death of Sarah Lynn Paulsen of Portage. The little girl’s body was found under a pine tree near her home.
No immediate charges were brought in the other slayings. Investigators were awaiting lab results and other evidence.
During eight hours of interrogation Tuesday with detectives and his minister, Britt confessed to Paulsen’s death, as well as 10 other slayings, said the Rev. Clyde Smith.
``He was driven by a murdering spirit,″ Smith said. He said Britt told him about the killings on Monday, and he persuaded Britt to confess to police on Tuesday.
``He’s at peace,″ said Smith, who runs a homeless shelter where Britt has stayed since September. ``He’s very remorseful for what he did. But he’s happy (that he confessed).″
Britt said all but one of his victims were female; all were beaten and strangled. At least five victims, including Paulsen, were sexually assaulted, the newspapers reported.
Police had been expected to discuss the case at a news conference Wednesday but canceled after a judge issued a gag order.
The bodies of eight women were found in Gary between May 9 and Sept. 12, and Britt confessed to killing all but one, the Post-Tribune reported.
Three of those seven deaths had not previously been ruled homicides, the Post-Tribune reported. One woman’s body was too decomposed to determine a cause of death, another’s cause of death was pending and the third was thought to have died of natural causes.
In addition, Britt told authorities he had killed three other people, and he told them where to find their bodies. It was not immediately clear whether the male victim mentioned by Britt was counted among those three bodies.
Police following Britt’s instructions on Wednesday found the bones and clothing of a woman in the Miller area. The police chief could not say how long she had been dead. Authorities classified the woman’s death a homicide on Thursday.
Mayor Thomas Barnes said the remains were similar to other bodies that police believe were victims of a serial killer. He wouldn’t elaborate.
Britt served 15 years for the 1978 rape and robbery of a Gary high school girl and was released from prison in 1993. He had been staying at a homeless shelter.
Gary, a decaying former steel boom town of 116,000 people, has reported 104 murders so far this year. The record for an entire year was 110 in 1993, when Gary was labeled the nation’s murder capital.
Last month, Gov. Evan Bayh sent 50 state troopers to begin patrolling the city.