The tale begins back in 1987, Vicki Heath, aged 41, was employed at the Super 8 Motel located just off of I-65 in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, as a way to make some extra cash. She had just been poped the question and gotten engaged, and was looking forward to a new amazing story in her life as her two children were now reaching adulthood. That all came to a sudden and horrible end on the 21st of February, 1987, when police were called about a “complete mess” in the lobby of the motel. The caller worried about the fact that the clerk for the front desk could not be found. Police got to the scene and discovered Heath’s body hidden behind the compound’s nearby dumpster.
Another pair of women, Jeanne Gilbert and Margaret “Peggy” Gill, was killed just two years later, each of them while employed and working at separate Days Inn Motels across Indiana. A final woman, who is referred to only as Jane Doe in the case, was sexually assaulted at the Days Inn out in Columbus, Indiana in 1990.
A span of over 30 years sped by with no progress being made in finding or charging a suspect, whom they had started to refer to as either the “Days Inn Killer” or the “I-65 Killer,” since the motels were located just off the highway.
However, this past Tuesday, Indiana State Police (ISP) came forward and announced that they had, after so long, finally identified this serial killer as Harry Edward Greenwall, who passed away at the age of 68 back in 2013. He had been taking up residence out in New Albin, Iowa, and had an “extensive criminal history ranging from 1963 to 1998,” stated the ISP in their announcement.
“In 2019, the Indiana State Police requested the assistance of the FBI’s Gang Response Investigative Team (GRIT). Since these crimes were committed, many investigative and scientific techniques have either improved or been created through new advances in technology. One of these methods is Investigative Genealogy and combines the use of DNA analysis with traditional genealogy research and historical records to generate investigative leads for unsolved violent crimes,” explained the ISP. “This technique involves uploading a crime scene DNA profile to one or more genetic genealogy databases in an attempt to identify a criminal offender’s genetic relatives and locate the offender within their family tree. Utilizing this process, a match was made to 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 more than 99 percent.”
Herbert J. Stapleton, the FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge, stated in a press release that “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.”
“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,” he went on.
The daughter of Jeanne Gilbert, Kimberly Wright, stated in that same press release: “Our family is extremely grateful to all of the agencies, along with agency partnerships, who have committed to keeping these unsolved cases at the forefront for more than 33 years, and who have worked tirelessly to bring these cases to resolution for all who have suffered from these crimes.”