MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – 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 death of Gloria Hansell, 69.
Officials say Hansell was found strangled inside her Gary, Indiana home on June 17, 1994. Officials say Hansell, a widow, lived alone in the 3900 block of Buchanan Street and relied on an in-home oxygen machine due to poor health.
The FBI says 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. The FBI says upon further re-investigation of the case, GRIT investigators were able to place Smith in Gary shortly before Hansell’s murder and learned he knew Hansell.
A news release says 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 FBI says the witness stated on one occasion, Hansell said Smith made an unwanted advance towards her inside her house that made her uncomfortable when he tried to kiss her neck.
GRIT investigators are asking anyone with information on this case or any other cold case to call 219-942-4899.