33 Years Later, 'Days Inn Killer' Has Been Identified

DNA analysis leads to cold case resolution, points finger at a dead man
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2022 1:29 AM CDT
Updated Apr 6, 2022 6:53 AM CDT
33 Years Later, the 'I-65 Killer' Has Been Identified
This undated booking photo provided by the Indiana State Police shows Harry Edward Greenwell, the suspect in the "Days Inn" cold case.   (Indiana State Police via AP)

(Newser) – In 1987, Vicki Heath was murdered in Kentucky; two years later, Margaret "Peggy" Gill and Jeanne Gilbert were killed in Indiana. More than three decades later, Indiana State Police say they've identified the man who murdered them and sexually assaulted another woman in Indiana in 1989, CNN reports. Harry Edward Greenwell, who died in Iowa in 2013 at age 68, is the man known as the "I-65" or "Days Inn" killer, police say. He targeted night clerks at motels along the Interstate 65 corridor, the New York Times reports. Heath, 42, was found behind the Super 8 motel where she worked. Gill, 24, was found in a vacant wing of the Days Inn where she worked, and just two and a half hours later, Gilbert, 34, was abducted from another Days Inn and found in a ditch 15 miles away. All had been sexually assaulted and shot.

There were no witnesses to any of the crimes, but in 1990, another clerk at a third Indiana Days Inn reported being raped at knife point in a robbery at the motel, and gave authorities a description of the suspect. (In the two Indiana murders, $426 had been stolen from the motels.) Even so, that suspect was not connected to the earlier murders, but years later, investigators used genetic genealogy to match Greenwell's DNA to ancestry records and determine he was responsible for the three murders as well as the 21-year-old clerk's attack in 1990. They are still investigating what they say is a likely possibility he was behind other murders, rapes, and robberies in the Midwest. Greenwell had an extensive criminal history stretching from 1963 to 1998 including armed robbery, sodomy, burglary, and two prison sentences—and two escapes from custody. (Read more Indiana stories.)

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