I-65 serial killer: Everything we know about unmasked murderer Harry Edward Greenwell

The “I-65 Killer”, also known as the “Days Inn Killer”, has been identified by police as Harry Edward Greenwell more than 30 years after he allegedly raped and murdered three female motel clerks along Interstate 65 between Indiana and Kentucky in the late 1980s.

The case went unsolved for decades before Indiana State Police, the FBI and officers from the police department in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, announced the suspected serial killer’s identity at a press conference on 5 April.

Authorities said Greenwell – who died in 2013 at the age of 68 – was finally identified through “investigative genealogy” which showed his DNA was a more than 99 per cent match to crime scene evidence.

“The animal that did this is no longer on this Earth. I’m not going to say his name about him. I think we need to focus on the victims today,” Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said at the multi-agency press conference.

Investigators also believe Greenwell could be linked to several other unsolved crimes including rapes, murders, assaults and robberies. Indiana State Police Sgt Glen Fifield said officials are still looking into that possibility.

The first woman allegedly attacked and killed by Greenwell was Vicki Heath, a 41-year-old mother of two who had recently gotten engaged before she was found dead beside the trash cans behind the Super 8 Motel in Elizabethtown on 21 February 1987.

Investigators subsequently said that the motel’s lobby betrayed signs of a struggle and it emerged that Heath had been assaulted and shot twice in the head with a 38-caliber pistol.

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The killer’s second and third victims were both slain on the same day: 3 March 1989.

Mary “Peggy” Gill, 24, a night auditor at a Days Inn motel in Merrillville, Indiana, was found dead in the building’s parking lot by a passing motorist, having met the same fate as Heath.

Her family said she had loved baking, cross-stitching and painting, according to The Indianapolis Star.

The last victim was Jeanne Gilbert, 34, a mother of two who also worked as a part-time auditor at the Remington Days Inn, near Remington in the same state.

Both Gill and Gilbert had been fatally shot with the same .22-caliber and the attacker had robbed both premises, making off with $426 in total.

A fourth woman working the night shift at a Days Inn motel in Columbus, Ohio, was sexually assaulted and stabbed in 1990 but managed to escape the scene and the DNA retrieved from the incident enabled police to conclude that her attacker was the same man responsible for the other slayings.

She described her assailant as six foot tall with greasy hair, a gray beard and green eyes (one of which was lazy), wearing a beanie hat, a flannel shirt and jeans.

A police composite sketch of the ‘I-65 Killer,’ a serial murder who stalked the highways of Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio in the late 1980s


A year later, another woman survived a similar attack in Rochester, Minnesota, that may also have been linked.

Police officially considered the matter a cold case until 2008 when fresh analysis of the DNA evidence was commenced.

Two years later, the affair was confirmed as being a serial killer spree.

This week’s reveal of Greenwell’s identity brought some closure to the victims’ families – however they will never learn why their relatives were targeted.

“I’d like to believe that whatever each of us defines as justice, or what each of us might define as closure, that we’re all now able to share the healing process knowing the long known attacker has now been brought out of the dark, into the light,” Gilbert’s daughter, Kim Gilbert Wright, told the Indy Star.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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