Suspect in cold Days Inn murders, assault identified | News
INDIANAPOLIS — More than 30 years after three young women were murdered and another brutally assaulted, the man responsible has been identified through a genealogical investigation.
This is a unique method that can generate new leads for unsolved homicides and help identify unknown victims.
Harry Edward Greenwell was identified by this method as the person responsible for all four attacks. Greenwell died in 2013 at age 68 in New Albin, Iowa. Greenwell had an extensive criminal history spanning from 1963 to 1998.
Dubbed the I-65 or Days Inns murders, Greenwell robbed and murdered three young women and left a fourth for dead in a series of attacks on hotels in Kentucky and Indiana.
Cases Greenwell has been connected to include:
• February 21, 1987 – Vicki Heath was murdered at the Super 8 Motel in Elizabethtown, Ky.
• March 3, 1989 – Margaret “Peggy” Gill was murdered at the Days Inn in Merrillville, Ind.
• March 3, 1989 — Jeanne Gilbert is murdered at the Days Inn in Remington, Ind.
• January 2, 1990 — Jane Doe was sexually assaulted at the Days Inn in Columbus, Ind.
Following the murders, the Indiana State Police Laboratory matched ballistic evidence linking the murders of Gill and Gilbert. The ISP lab further connected the murders of Heath and Gilbert and the sexual assault of the Columbus victim, through DNA analysis.
In 2019, the Indiana State Police requested assistance from the FBI’s Gang Response Investigation Team (GRIT).
Since these crimes were committed, many investigative and scientific techniques have improved or been created through new technological advancements. One of these methods is investigative genealogy and combines the use of DNA analysis with traditional genealogical research and historical records to generate investigative leads for unsolved violent crimes.
This technique involves uploading a crime scene DNA profile to one or more genetic genealogy databases for the purpose of identifying an offender’s genetic relatives and locating the offender in their family tree.
Using this process, a match was made at Greenwell with a close family member. Through this match, it was determined that the probability of Greenwell being the person responsible for the attacks was greater than 99%.
Agents from the FBI Field Office in Houston provided invaluable assistance in solving the case.
“Our family is extremely grateful to all of the agencies, as well as the agency partnerships, who have committed to keeping these unsolved cases front and center for over 33 years and who have worked tirelessly to resolve these cases for all. those who suffered from these crimes,” said Kimberly (Gilbert) Wright, daughter of Jeanne Gilbert.
“Indiana State Police investigators work diligently every day closely with our state and federal law enforcement partners throughout Indiana and beyond our state borders to help solve senseless crimes like this, no matter how many days, months or even years have passed since the crime took place,” said Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas G.Carter.
“These cases have not gone unsolved all these years because of…investigator inactivity – investigators have continuously followed leads across the country and done everything they can to identify the person responsible for these crimes,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge in Indianapolis, Herbert J. Stapleton.
“Now, thanks to advances in technology and strong collaborative partnerships,” Stapleton continued, “we have been able to identify this person and hopefully begin to bring closure and healing to the families of Vicki, Peggy and Jeanne – as well as the surviving victim.”
“This case represents the generational dedication of the Elizabethtown Police Department and the forward thinking of our detectives when science and law enforcement [were] in [their] childhood. Our detectives take each case personally and they work diligently, never giving up that one day their case will be closed,” said Elizabeth’s deputy chief operating officer, David Fegett.
“We hope and pray that this multi-agency collaboration will help bring an end to the long-standing families and friends of Ms. Heath and other victims,” Fegett said.