Man in custody after 2 Gary-area women found strangled

GARY, Ind. (AP) — A former radio talk show host and her adult daughter were found strangled and beaten to death in and near their home, and a man who had worked for the victims was taken into custody in northwestern Ohio, authorities said Monday.

Lana Taneff, 63, was found dead Sunday afternoon in the home the two women shared outside Gary, and her mother, 86-year-old Velia “Val” Taneff, was found a few hours later in a neighboring rental property that she owned, investigators said.

“Autopsy results determined both women died of result of strangulation and blunt force trauma,” Lake County Sheriff John Buncich said at a news conference.

Both women had ligature marks on their necks, the Lake County Coroner’s Office said. It declared both deaths to be homicides.

A handyman who had worked for the women was arrested on unrelated charges in Montpelier, Ohio, after a car belonging to one of the victims was found there, investigators said. Montpelier is about 140 miles east of Gary.

Buncich said the man was a Lake County resident.

The (Munster) Times reports Val Taneff was active in Democratic politics and hosted a political talk radio program called “The Real Deal with Val Taneff” that had aired on WLTH.

Two tenants living in one of Taneff’s rental homes spoke highly of her and expressed shock at the slaying.

“We loved her. She helped us out whenever we needed it. She was great. We loved her like she was our grandma,” Gabriel Henderson told WLS-TV.

“I am disgusted by it” said Tiffany Lewis, another tenant. “I think it is disgusting that somebody could do something like that.”

Verlie Suggs, who was station manager at WLTH when Taneff worked there, recalled the political talk show that aired as recently as 2010.

“Val was an amazing woman. She was very feisty, very politically savvy and very opinionated and knowledgeable. Everybody loved her, unless they hated her — unless they were catching the brunt of what she was saying,” Suggs told The Times.

Suggs said Lana Taneff had been fighting breast cancer for the past few years.

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