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Dead man identified as ‘I-65 killer’ of 3 women from 1987 to 1990

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — More than 30 years after three women were murdered and another was beaten, the man responsible has been identified, Indiana State Police and the FBI announced Tuesday.

Harry Greenwell was identified using investigative genealogy, which uses DNA analysis and genealogy research to find leads for unsolved violent crimes.

Greenwell died in 2013 at age 68 in New Albin, Iowa. He had a long criminal history, dating from 1963 to 1998, say Indiana State Police.

From 1987 to 1990, Greenwell robbed and murdered three young women and left a fourth for dead in a series of attacks at motels in Indiana and Kentucky.

The cases Greenwell has been connected to include:

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

After the murders, the Indiana State Police lab found ballistic evidence linking the murders of Peggy Gill and Jeanne Gilbert. Using DNA analysis, the ISP lab also connected the Gilbert murder to the murder of Vicki Heath and the sexual assault in Columbus.

In 2019, Indiana State Police asked for help from the FBI’s Gang Responsive Investigative Team. In the years since the crimes were committed, many investigative and scientific techniques have improved or been created, including investigative genealogy.

Investigative technology is where researchers upload a crime scene DNA profile to one or more genealogy databases to try and identify the suspect’s genetic relatives and find the suspect within their family tree.

Using this process, a match was made to Greenwell with a close family member.

Investigators determined that the probability of Greenwell being the person responsible for the murders and assault was more than 99%, according to Indiana State Police.

“These cases did not go unsolved all these years because of a lack of investigative inactivity – investigators continuously tracked leads across the country and did everything they could to identify the person responsible for these crimes,” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Herbert J. Stapleton. “Now, through technological advances and strong, collaborative partnerships we were able to identify this person and, hopefully, start to bring closure and healing to the families of Vicki, Peggy and Jeanne; as well as the surviving victim.”