“I-65 Killer” identified after 30+ years through DNA

Harry Edward Greenwell. Photo courtesy of Indiana State Police.

A serial killer, responsible for the death of two Indiana women along Interstate 65 and an assault on a Columbus woman in 1990, has been identified through DNA and ancestry records.

Harry Edward Greenwell of Iowa is believed to have been the “I-65 Killer” also known as the “Days Inn Killer.” He died in 2013 of cancer.

Indiana State Police are reporting that Greenwell was identified through investigative genealogy.

The killer was responsible for attacks from 1987 to 1990 that targeted clerks at motels along the Interstate. According to police those included:

  • February 21, 1987 – Vicki Heath, murdered at the Super 8 Motel in Elizabethtown, Kentucky
  • March 3, 1989 – Margaret “Peggy” Gill, murdered at the Days Inn in Merrillville, Indiana
  • March 3, 1989 – Jeanne Gilbert, murdered at the Days Inn in Remington, Indiana
  • January 2, 1990 – Jane Doe, sexually assaulted and left for dead at the Days Inn in Columbus.

The Indiana State Police lab matched ballistic evidence linking the Gill and Gilbert murders. State police also connected the Heath and Gilbert murders, and the Columbus victim, through DNA analysis.

State police say that Investigative Genealogy combines the use of DNA analysis with traditional genealogy research and historical records to generate investigative leads for unsolved violent crimes. Crime scene DNA profile is uploaded to genetic genealogy databases in an attempt to located the offender’s relatives and locate the offender within their family tree.

Police say that a match with one of  Greenwell’s close family members was made and they estimate that it is a 99 percent probability that he was responsible for the attacks.

In 2019, the Indiana State Police requested the assistance of the FBI’s Gang Response Investigative Team  and say that agents in the Houston FBI Field Office provided invaluable assistance in solving the case.