Chesterton Tribune



Center Township boy charged with murder of missing teens

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A 17-year-old Center Township boy has been formally charged with the murder of two missing Lake County teens, the remains of whom are believed to have been found on Saturday morning in a vehicle found abandoned and burned in a field in rural Hebron, the Porter County Sheriffs’ Police reported just before deadline today.

Connor Kerner, with an address on Kinsale Ave., was charged this morning with two counts of murder and waived into adult court, the PCSP said.

Kerner was detained for questioning at 6:15 p.m. Saturday by the PCSP but has “refused to answer questions,” the PCSP said. He is being held without bond and no initial arraignment has yet been scheduled.

The charges follow an intensive investigation this weekend, which began after information from an anonymous source was forwarded to the PCSP by the Cedar Lake Police Department, in connection with the disappearance of Molley Lanham, 19, of St. John; and Thomas Grill, 19, of Cedar Lake. Lanham was last seen on Monday, Feb. 25; Grill on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

According to that anonymous source, Kerner killed Lanham and Grill, placed their bodies in the Honda Civic in which the two had been riding, drove the Honda to a field in rural Hebron, and then set it on fire.

The car was discovered on Saturday morning and inside it the remains of two persons.

“The identities of the two individuals inside the vehicle have not been confirmed,” the PCSP said today. “However, all evidence obtained at this point at the scene and through statements given point to the individuals being Thomas Grill and Molley Lanham. DNA is being sent to the lab for processing and the Porter County Coroner’s Office will be working on a forensic autopsy with medical records to confirm the identities. The Grill and Lanham families were notified on Saturday, March 2, of our findings and the evidence pointing to their murders.”

At least three different search warrants have been obtained in the course of the investigation, the PCSP said: one for the Honda Civic; one for Kerner’s residence on Kinsale Ave.; and one for a residence in rural Hebron, in Boone Township, where investigators believe the murders occurred. “Investigators recovered what they believe to be substantial evidence during the execution of these search warrants,” the PCSP said. “Further information and testing are pending on items located during the execution of these warrants.”

Assisting in the investigation are the Cedar Lake and St. John PDs, the Valparaiso PD’s Crime Scene Investigations Team, the ATF, the Porter County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and the Porter County Coroner’s Office.

“I want to commend the work of our Criminal Investigations Division, the Crime Scene Investigators, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Coroner’s Office, and the additional agencies that assisted, for working throughout the weekend and for working together cohesively, in obtaining statements, locating and processing evidence, locating the suspect, and successfully apprehending him,” Porter County Sheriff Dave Reynolds said. “I want to send my sincere condolences to the Thomas Grill and Molley Lanham families on the tragedy they are now facing with the heinous deaths of their children.”



Posted 3/4/2019




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