FBI Indianapolis
Public Affairs Specialist Chris Bavender
(317) 430-4140
February 8, 2021

FBI Arrests Tennessee Man for 1992 Murders of Indiana 4-Year-Old and Her Mom

MERRILLVILLE—Victor Lofton, 57, of Humboldt, Tennessee, was charged in Lake County Superior Court on February 2, 2021, with two counts of murder for the 1992 murders of 4-year-old DenNisha Howard and her 21-year-old mother, Felicia Howard. DenNisha and Felicia were found shot to death inside their second floor apartment at 3804 Washington Street in Gary, Indiana, on July 15, 1992.

The charges against Lofton are the culmination of work by the FBI’s Gang Response Investigative Team (GRIT) who began re-investigating the case in February 2019.

“This was a horrific crime that shocked our local community in 1992,” said Detective Lieutenant Nicholas Wardrip, Hobart Police Department, who investigated this case along with Detective Corporal Justin Clark, Gary Police Department, both of whom are assigned to GRIT. “Lofton was born in East Chicago, Indiana, but moved to Tennessee at an early age. Lofton was interviewed by investigators in September 2020; however, he denied knowing either victim or even being in Indiana at the time of the murders. Investigators utilized DNA technology and interviewed witnesses to bring the case together against Lofton.”

Lofton was arrested in Jackson, Tennessee, by Jackson Police on February 5, 2021, and is currently awaiting extradition back to Lake County.

“This case should serve as notice to those committing violent crimes in Northwest Indiana that the tireless investigators of the FBI’s GRIT Task Force will never rest to ensure justice for those who have been victimized, even if it’s 29 years later,” said FBI Indianapolis GRIT Task Force Supervisory Special Agent Michael Peasley.

Also assisting in the investigation were the Gary Police Department, Lake County Police Department Crime Scene Unit, ATF, and the Humboldt, Tennessee Police Department.

The GRIT Task Force is a team of law enforcement professionals working in unison to reduce violent crimes and other federal criminal violations in Northwest Indiana in support of its local law enforcement partners. Its members are made up of agents, officers and support staff from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Lake County Sheriffs Department, Merrillville Police Department, Hobart Police Department, Indiana State Police, Gary Police Department, Hammond Police Department, Crown Point Police Department, St. John Police, and the Indiana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).

This is the 9th cold case GRIT has solved since 2018. GRIT investigators are asking anyone with information on a cold case to call 219-942-4899.