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Police identify serial killer responsible for I-65 murders decades ago

Investigators believe they have solved a series of killings that took place decades ago along Interstate 65 in Kentucky and Indiana. However, it’s not the outcome that victims’ families had hoped for over the past 30 years.

The "I-65 Killer," also dubbed the "Days Inn Killer," sexually assaulted and killed at least three women at motels along I-65 in Kentucky and Indiana in the 1980s.

At a news conference in Indianapolis on Tuesday, the FBI, Indiana State Police, and the Elizabethtown Police Department identified Harry Edward Greenwell as the killer, although he died in 2013. According to police, Greenwell had an extensive criminal history.

“This case really highlights the generational dedication of the Elizabethtown Police Department," said Chief of Operations David Fegett. "Our detectives take each case personally, and they never lose faith, give up hope that one day their case will see closure.”

Greenwell was a Louisville native but lived in Iowa at the time of his death. The killer may be linked to other attacks and deaths, but his known victims were Vicki Heath from Radcliff, Kentucky in 1987, as well as Jeanne Gilbert and Mary “Peggy” Gill of Indiana in 1989. All three women worked at motels along the interstate.

In 1990, a clerk at Days Inn in Columbus, IN was sexually assaulted and stabbed. She survived and was able to describe her attacker to police. DNA linked the crime to the other women's killings.

Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said investigative genealogy, which wasn't available decades ago, was also used to identify Greenwell.

“The message here is, because of science and technological advances, to anybody contemplating committing these kinds of crimes, you cannot hide.”

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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