‘I-65 killer’ identified decades after slayings of hotel clerks along Midwest highway

The identification of a man believed to be the “I-65 killer” and the “Days Inn killer,” so-identified as due to the fact he qualified women who labored at lodges together the Midwest highway in the late 1980s, was discovered Tuesday.

Harry Edward Greenwell was discovered as the person suspected of raping and killing 3 females and attacking one more who received absent, Indiana State Law enforcement, the FBI and Elizabethtown, Kentucky, authorities reported at a joint news conference. Officials consider he might have had extra victims.

For much more than three decades, the killer of Vicki Heath, Margaret “Peggy” Gill and Jeanne Gilbert remained a secret.

Nevertheless, it is as well late for the victim’s families to see him prosecuted. Greenwell died in January 2013 at age 68, Indiana State Law enforcement Sgt. Glen Fifield explained at the information convention.

The murders unfolded in Indiana and Kentucky.

A sketch of Harry Edward Greenwell.
A sketch of Harry Edward Greenwell.by using Indiana Point out Police

It all started on Feb. 21, 1987, with the murder of Vicki Heath, who was performing the night change at a Tremendous 8 lodge in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, when she was sexually assaulted and shot in the head, police reported.

Two years afterwards, on March 3, 1989, Indiana State Police investigated two homicides that happened the exact day, authorities reported at the information convention.

Margaret Gill was killed though she was working the night change at a Days Inn in Merrillville. Jeanne Gilbert was also performing the night time change at a Times Inn in Remington when she was killed, Fifield said.

Law enforcement preserved DNA evidence and ballistic evidence from all 3 cases.

The man is thought to have then struck again on Jan. 2, 1990, attacking a clerk doing work at a Days Inn in Columbus, Indiana, in a equivalent fashion. That lady, who was not publicly discovered, was capable to escape, Fifield said.

She was the critical guide in the circumstance for police, delivering a in-depth description of the suspect and particulars of the criminal offense.

“She is the only regarded sufferer to have survived the vicious, brutal attacks of this killer,” Fifield reported at the information meeting.

She described him as a gentleman with eco-friendly eyes and a lazy right eye, NBC affiliate WTHR of Indianapolis described.

Patterns rose speedily in the attacks — all of the victims labored at accommodations and all were sexually assaulted and robbed, and all attacks unfolded together the I-65 corridor, which runs from Gary, Indiana, to Mobile, Alabama.

Then came the proof.

Ballistic proof from the scenes of the Gill and Gilbert murders matched, which means they had been most likely killed by the identical suspect, Fifield claimed. The Indiana Point out Police Laboratory later on matched DNA proof linking the Heath and Gilbert murders to the Columbus, Indiana, scenario, Fifield claimed.

In 2019, the FBI’s Gang Response Investigative Workforce was requested to support, bringing contemporary eyes to the circumstance. At the identical time, technological know-how had sophisticated, Fifield said, giving investigators new strategies to method the murders.

Harry Edward Greenwell.
Harry Edward Greenwell.through Indiana Condition Police

A single of the approaches officials utilized was investigative genealogy — the use of DNA analysis, genealogy investigate and historic information to lookup for qualified prospects.

Additional investigation and lab tests of proof by the Indiana State Laboratory led to a positively identified suspect — Greenwell — with a 99.9999 p.c beneficial match.

“It is this scientific breakthrough that in the long run led to the identification of the I-65 killer Harry Edward Greenwell,” Fifield mentioned. “Greenwell had an substantial criminal historical past and experienced been in and out of prison.”

Fifield mentioned that Greenwell experienced escaped from jail twice and was known to journey regularly in the Midwest.

Police sa
id they do not know the formal cause of his loss of life. They noted that an obituary for him claimed he died of most cancers.

The investigation just isn’t over.

“Investigators have long thought that there have been rapes, murders, robberies or assaults that have not yet been linked to this investigation,” Fifield said.

Kim Gilbert Wright, Jeanne Gilbert’s daughter, mentioned at the news conference that the announcement her household experienced been aching to listen to for a few decades was “overwhelming.”

“In our case we’ll in no way know what the killer was wondering. We’ll never know the ‘why’s’ of his steps,” she claimed.

She recounted her last reminiscences of her mom.

“I explained to everybody I recall her final text … ‘I love you, I’ll see you tomorrow.’ I did not see her that tomorrow, but I see her just about every working day. I see her in me. I see her in my brother. I see her in my relatives.”