17-Year-Old Arrested in Connection to Bodies of 2 Missing Teens Discovered Inside Burned Vehicle

17-year-old Connor R. Kerner pleaded not guilty Monday morning.
17-year-old Connor R. Kerner pleaded not guilty Monday morning.(Porter County Sheriff’s Office)

Police believe it was a drug deal gone wrong.

The burnt remains believed to be two missing Indiana teens have been discovered as police arrested a local 17-year-old in connection with the killings.

Eighteen-year-old Thomas Grill Jr. and 19-year-old Molley R. Lanham are believed to be two individuals police discovered inside a burned-out vehicle Saturday following what authorities called a drug deal gone wrong.

“The identity of the two individuals inside the vehicle [has] not been confirmed, however all evidence obtained at this point at the scene and through statements given point to the individuals being Thomas Grill and Molley Lanham,” the Porter County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Grill and Lanham, whom friends said were an on-again, off-again couple, were last seen on Monday, Feb. 25 ,and Tuesday, Feb. 26.

They were known to take short trips together, and friends said they were not originally worried when they were first reported missing.

Police said they had gone to 17-year-old Connor R. Kerner’s grandparents’ home in Boone Township to conduct a drug deal in the garage, the Northwest Indiana Times reported. Kerner’s grandparents were reportedly out of town at the time.

Grill had allegedly attempted to rob Kerner when Kerner shot at him, according to arrest reports. Kerner then beat Grill with a pipe wrench until he died, reports stated.

Lanham was taken to the garage shortly after Grill’s death and also shot in the head, police said.

“Both Molley and Thomas were 2018 graduates of Hanover Central High School and their families are an integral part of the Hanover community,” Hanover Community Schools said in a statement Monday. "We would like to ask that the Hanover community keep the families and friends of Molley Lanham and Thomas Grill in their thoughts and prayers."

Kerner later confided in an anonymous source that he placed their bodies in the black Honda Civic Grill that Lantham arrived in, drove it out to a rural area, then lit it on fire, police said.

The anonymous source who came forward with the information allegedly told police officers he was with Kerner shortly after the murder, the Northwest Indiana Times reported.

Kerner was charged Saturday evening with two counts of murder in the first degree and he pleaded not guilty during an initial hearing Monday morning.

His grandfather, who told authorities he found what he suspected were bullet holes in his garage and discovered a gun and some supplies missing upon returning from the trip, is cooperating with the investigation.

InsideEdition.com’s request to Kerner’s attorney for comment has not yet been answered.