Indiana state police announced Tuesday that they used DNA evidence to link a dead suspect to a series of motel clerk slayings and attacks across two states between 1987 and 1990.
Harry Edward Greenwell was named as the “I-65 killer” who murdered three women and raped another at motels along Interstate 65 in Indiana and Kentucky decades ago, officials said Monday.
The Iowa man died of cancer at the age of 68 in 2013.
“Greenwell had an extensive criminal history and had been in and out of prison several times, even escaping from jail on two separate occasions,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Glen Fifield said at a press conference.
“He was known to travel frequently in the Midwest.”
Forensic evidence tied Greenwell to the 1987 murder of Vicki Heath, 41, and the 1989 killings of Margaret “Peggy” Gill, 24, and Jeanne Gilbert, 24.
Heath was shot as she worked the night shift at a Super 8 Hotel in Elizabethtown, Ky.
Gill and Gilbert were shot and raped on the same day as they worked shifts at two different Indiana Days Inns located 50 miles away from each other.
The alleged serial killer also sexually assaulted a 21-year-old woman as she worked at an Indiana Days Inn a year later, investigators said.
“This victim was able to escape her attacker and survive. She was later able to give an excellent physical description of the suspect and details of the crime,” Fifield said.
“She is the only known victim to have survived the vicious, brutal attacks of this killer.”
Investigative genealogy led police to declare with 99.9999% certainty that Greenwell was responsible for all four crimes.
Gilbert’s daughter joined officials at the press conference and said the development had brought a type of closure to her family.
“She’s still in my family’s hearts,” Kimberly Gilbert Wright said. “We talk about her as if she hasn’t gone. My brother and I were fortunate enough to have spent the last seven months of her life living with her and experiencing the joy that she could bring to every day of our life.”
There was a “distinct possibility” that Greenwell had committed other crimes, and detectives were reaching out to other Midwest departments with cold cases to see if he was linked to them.
With AP wires