11th Cold Case Solved by FBI GRIT Since 2018
Merrillville, IN-(ENEWSPF)- The Lake County Prosecutor’s Office has charged Gerald Lynn Smith, 60, of Madisonville, Kentucky, with murder, murder while committing or attempting to commit rape, and rape in connection with the brutal slaying of 69-year-old Gloria Hansell who was found strangled inside her Gary, Indiana home on June 17, 1994. Hansell, a widow, lived alone at 3966 Buchanan Street and relied on an in-home oxygen machine due to poor health.
In 2020, the Indiana State Police Lowell Regional Laboratory was requested by The FBI’s Gang Response Investigative Team (GRIT) to re-examine evidence collected in this case, and Smith was developed as a suspect from the analysis of male DNA found in the victim’s sexual assault kit collected at her autopsy. Upon further re-investigating this case, GRIT investigators were able to place Smith in Gary shortly before Hansell’s murder and learned he knew Hansell.
A witness reported Smith, who was 32 years old at the time of the murder, had gone to Hansell’s house on at least two occasions in the weeks before her murder and said he had just moved back into the area from out of state. The witness stated on one occasion, Smith asked Hansell if he could cut her grass for money, but she declined his offer. The witness stated on another occasion, Hansell said Smith made an unwanted advance towards her inside her house that made her uncomfortable when he tried to kiss her neck.
Other agencies who assisted in the investigation are the Gary Police Department, Lake County Police Department Crime Scene Unit, and Hopkins County, Kentucky Sheriff’s Department.
GRIT investigators are asking anyone with information on this case or any other cold case to call 219.942.4899.
This is a release from the United States Department of Justice.