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‘I-65 killer’ who murdered 3 women in 1980s identified with DNA evidence

Harry Edward Greenwell, who died in 2013, had a “long criminal history”.

Police have named a man who died in 2013 as the serial killer responsible for the deaths of three women in the late 1980s.

Harry Edward Greenwell has been identified as the man known as the “I-65” or “Days Inn” killer, an elusive character who killed three motel workers along Interstate 65 in Indiana and the Kentucky, Indiana State Police spokesman Sgt. Glen Fifield told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.

The case began on February 21, 1987, after the murder of Vicki Heath, a 41-year-old mother who had recently become engaged and worked nights at the Super 8 motel in Elizabethtown, Ky., Fifield said. On March 3, 1989, Indiana State Police were investigating two other murders that occurred in similar circumstances on the same day Heath was killed, Fifield said.

Margaret Gill, also known as Peggy Gill, was murdered while working nights at the Days Inn in Merrillville, Indiana, while Jean Gilbert was murdered while working nights at the Days Inn in Remington, Indiana, Fifield said. Gill, who was 24 at the time, had been promoted from housekeeper to night listener, while mother-of-two Gilbert had traded shifts to watch her daughter’s final game as a cheerleader. -cheerleader, reported the Indy Star.

The women were raped before they were killed, the Indy Star reported.

On January 2, 1990, an employee working at the Days Inn in Columbus, Indiana was attacked in the same manner as the three previous victims, but she was able to escape her attacker and survived, later giving authorities ” an excellent physical description”. of the suspect and the details of the crime,” Fifield said. The clerk was sexually assaulted and stabbed during the attack, the Indy Star reported.

The primary factor that tied the four cases together was proximity to Interstate 65. Extensive forensic evidence was collected and preserved to include DNA, clothing, hair, fiber, and ballistic evidence from the cases, allowing investigators to match ballistic evidence linking the Gill and Gilbert murders and to later match DNA evidence linking the Heath and Gilbert murders to the surviving victim’s case, Fifield said.

Decades after the murders, the Indiana State Police and the FBI were able to use genetic genealogy to generate investigative leads on the killer. Greenwell – who was born on December 9, 1944 and died in January 2013 – had a “long criminal history” and had been “in and out of prison several times”, Fifield said.

Investigators were able to establish a timeline of Greenwell’s movements through police reports, newspaper records and “certain statements from him,” Fifield said. Greenwell is feared to be responsible for other murders, rapes, robberies and assaults stretching from Gary, Indiana, to Mobile, Alabama along Interstate 65, Fifield said.

Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter addressed family members of the victims, saying he hopes the announcement “can bring you some comfort knowing that the animal that did this is no longer on this earth.

Carter described the decades-long investigation as a “relentless, relentless pursuit” that had detectives searching for leads across the country. Advances in technology finally allowed investigators to crack the cold case, Carter said.

“It’s amazing what happens over generations,” Carter said. “There are detectives in this same room who have been involved in this in one form or another, literally for generations. And they owe a debt of gratitude that we could never repay. But, you know, their efforts were for you. “

Ahmad Hemingway and Beatrice Peterson of ABC News contributed to this report.

ABC News

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