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'I-65 Killer' Harry Edward Greenwell had a lengthy criminal history

From 1963 to 1998, the man known as the "Days Inn Killer" was involved in robberies, rapes and murders in at least three states.

INDIANAPOLIS — Throughout the nearly 30 years multiple police jurisdictions were working to track down the identity of the "Days Inn Killer," the murderer they now believe ended the lives of three women was living life as a married man with two children.

The Indiana State Police announced Tuesday they used advanced forensic technology to identify Harry Edward Greenwell as the so-called "I-65 Killer."

Authorities uploaded a crime scene DNA profile to one or more genetic genealogy databases to identify his family members. DNA tested by the Indiana State Police testing lab came back with a 99.999% positive match to Greenwell's. 

RELATED: FBI, Indiana State Police identify 'I-65 Killer' as Harry Edward Greenwell

Police documents show Greenwell had a lengthy criminal history dating back to the late 1960s. His first arrest came in Jan. 17, 1963 for armed robbery. He was paroled from the Kentucky State Penitentiary in 1969.

Greenwell's wife died in a Wisconsin house fire on April 28, 1978, and he remarried a little over a year later.

He was arrested for robbery again in the summer of 1982, but escaped custody and was recaptured twice.

The first murder police connected to Greenwell came in 1987. Vicki Heath, a 41-year-old mother of twowas killed at the Super 8 Motel in Elizabethtown Kentucky on February 21, 1987. She was sexually assaulted before her death and shot twice in the head with a .38 caliber firearm.

Credit: Indiana State Police
Vicki Heath, Margaret Gill and Jeanne Gilbert as pictured in police handouts.

On March 3, 1989, Jeannie Gilbert, 34 and Margaret Gill, 24, were murdered at separate Days Inn motels, 53 miles apart from each other, in Indiana. 

Gilbert was working as a night clerk at a Days Inn on State Road 24 and I-65 when the inn was robbed and she went missing. Her body was later found near Brookston, Indiana. 

Gill was found murdered at a Days Inn located at 8290 Louisiana Street, in Merrillville, Indiana. Gill died of two gunshot wounds to the head.

Both women had been killed with a .22 caliber firearm and, like Heath, had been sexually assaulted and robbed. 

Six days after those murders, Greenwell was arrested for a traffic violation In Wisconsin. That same month, he was arrested in Wisconsin for a domestic incident. He violated a restraining order and was sentenced to 15 months probation on April 18, 1989.

Credit: FBI
Police released a timeline showing Harry Edward Greenwell's criminal history dating back to the late 1960s.

Records show by Jan. 2, 1990, he attacked again. A 21-year-old Days Inn clerk was raped, stabbed and robbed in Columbus, Indiana. She survived the attack, and told police her assailant had green eyes and a lazy right eye.

In 1991, a woman in Minnesota, who was also sexually assaulted and stabbed, gave police a similar description of her attacker. The victim described the suspect as a white male, 6'- 6'2'', with green eyes, the right eye was described as a lazy eye, and he had grayish-brown hair. He was wearing a flannel shirt and blue jeans. 

Credit: WTHR
A police sketch of the "I-65 killer" next to the mugshot of Harry Edward Greenwell, who died in 2013, who was identified as the culprit of the killings in the 1980s and 1990s.

Greenwell was arrested twice in 1998 in Iowa, one for a restraining order violation and another for felony possession. His case was dismissed that November.

He died in Lansing, Iowa on January 31, 2013 of cancer.

The Courier-Journal wrote in Greenwell's obituary he was an employee of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, providing public safety for 30 years, and retired February 2010. The obituary also noted that Greenwell was remembered as "a man with many friends who loved his straight-up attitude." 

Detectives are still looking at other possible cases in the Midwest that might be linked to Greenwell.

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