After more than 30 years of searching, investigators have linked the Interstate 65 killings of three female motel clerks and the sexual assault of a fourth clerk to an Iowa man who died in 2013, the Indiana State Police announced Tuesday.
State Police Sgt. Glen Fifield said during a press conference that they identified Harry Edward Greenwell — dubbed the “I-65 killer” — as the perpetrator. Greenwell died in New Alban, Iowa, at age 68 in January 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,” Sgt. Fifield said. “He was known to travel frequently in the Midwest.”
Police said investigative genealogy data and crime scene evidence connected Greenwell to the slaying of Vicki Heath, who was killed at a Super 8 Hotel in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, in February 1987.
The evidence also linked Greenwell to the murders of Margaret “Peggy” Gill and Jeanne Gilbert, who were killed at two separate Indiana Days Inn locations in March 1989, police said. All three victims were sexually assaulted and shot.
Police said they connected Greenwell to another unidentified female clerk’s January 1990 sexual assault at a third Indiana Days Inn.
“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,” Sgt. Fifield said. “She is the only known victim to have survived the vicious, brutal attacks of this killer.”
Police said the crimes’ proximity to I-65 — which runs from Gary, Indiana, to Mobile, Alabama — was one of the primary factors that linked the crimes.
“Further investigation and kinship lab testing by the Indiana State Police lab of crime scene samples positive identified the suspect. The match was 99.9999% positive. It is this scientific breakthrough that ultimately led to the identification of the I-65 killer, Harry Edward Greenwell,” Sgt. Fifield said.
Investigators said they are reaching out to other Midwest police departments, as there is a possibility that Greenwell committed further crimes.