One of the women believed to have been killed by a suspected serial killer in Indiana grew up in the Twin Cities.
The body of Teaira Batey, 28, was found in an abandoned house in Gary, Indiana, along with two others, and authorities believe she is one of at least seven victims of self-professed serial killer Darren Vann, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
Batey was born in Chicago and moved to St. Paul when she was 4 years old. She graduated from a St. Paul high school in 2004 and moved to Gary shortly afterward, where she's been living for the past 10 years, her family told KARE 11. She has been missing since mid-January.
Batey's family said they knew something was amiss when Batey did not show up for a birthday party for her 2-year-old son in late January, which she had helped to plan, according to reporting by the Chicago Tribune. They filed a missing persons report at that time with the Gary police department.
Teaira Batey was developmentally disabled, according to her mother Gloria Cullom of St. Paul, adding that she was kind-hearted and trusting to a fault, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“She was very vulnerable. She would stick to anybody,” her mother said. “She had a good heart.”
But Batey also had been in trouble in the past, and was arrested and charged with dealing cocaine in 2010. Both Cullom and Marvin Clinton, Batey's boyfriend and the father of her son, told the Tribune they believed she was no longer using drugs at the time of her disappearance.
Vann, 43, was arrested on charges of killing a prostitute in a motel room in Hammond, Indiana. While being questioned he gave police information that led to the bodies of Batey and six other women left in abandoned houses in Gary.
Vann has claimed to police that he has killed more people over the past 20 years, the Chicago Tribune reports, and authorities, including the FBI, are investigating those claims. In 2007, Vann was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in Texas and served a five-year prison sentence.