, 2022-04-05 02:00:00,
His chosen conduit for terror was Interstate 65, preying on women working as night clerks at motels along the highway.
For more than three decades, the serial killer evaded the authorities, who say he was responsible for at least three murders and a separate sexual assault in Kentucky and Indiana during the late 1980s and in 1990.
Investigators now say that they have discovered the identity of the man known as the I-65 Killer, and that he died in 2013 at age 68.
At a news conference on Tuesday in Indianapolis, the authorities said that the killings were committed by Harry Edward Greenwell, who had served at least two prison sentences, in Iowa and Kentucky, for a string of violent crimes.
The breakthrough in the case was reached when genetic genealogy was used to match Mr. Greenwell’s DNA to ancestry records, according to investigators, who declined to elaborate on those findings.
Law enforcement officials said there was a distinct possibility that Mr. Greenwell was responsible for additional murders, rapes and robberies in the Midwest, which are being actively investigated.
“I hope that today might bring a little bit of solace to you, to know that the animal that did this is no longer on this earth,” Douglas G. Carter, the superintendent of the Indiana State Police, told the victims’ relatives at the news conference.
Mr. Carter said that advances in DNA analysis and the dogged work of investigators should give other criminals pause.
“The message is: You might be able to hide for a while, but we’re going to find you, even if you’re not here,” he said.
Three of the victims were sexually assaulted and shot. The motels, one in Kentucky and two in Indiana, were just off Interstate 65, a north-south highway that extends from Gary, Ind., to Mobile, Ala.
In the early morning hours of Feb. 21, 1987, the police discovered the body of Vicki Heath, 42, behind a Super 8 motel in Elizabethtown, Ky., The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky., reported at the time. A guest had alerted the authorities that the motel’s clerk was missing.
More than two years later, and about 300 miles north, investigators say, the killer struck again — twice in a matter of hours.
A worker at the Days Inn in Merrillville, Ind., had found the body of the night clerk, Margaret Gill, 24, in a vacant wing of the motel on March 3, 1989, according to news reports at the time.
About two and a half hours later, Jeanne Gilbert, 34, was abducted at gunpoint from a Days Inn in Remington, Ind.,…
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