A Kentucky man has been charged in the 1994 cold case rape and murder of an Indiana woman found strangled to death inside her home with an electrical cord.
The FBI on Tuesday said Gerald Lynn Smith, 60, a Madisonville resident, faces charges of murder, murder while committing or attempting to commit rape, and rape in connection with the brutal slaying of 69-year-old Gloria Hansell.
Hansell was found strangled inside her home in Gary on June 17, 1994. She was a widow who relied on an in-home oxygen machine due to poor health, authorities said.
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She had been sexually assaulted and strangled with an electrical cord attached to a box fan, according to court records.
Smith, who was 32 at the time of the killing, had been to Hansell’s home at least twice in the weeks before the murder and said he had just moved back to the area. A witness told authorities that Smith asked Hansell if he could cut her grass for money, but she declined his offer, the FBI said.
On one occasion, Hansell said Smith made an unwanted advance toward her inside her house that made her uncomfortable when he tried to kiss her neck, according to the FBI.
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He was charged after FBI’s Gang Response Investigative Team submitted evidence to a laboratory in 2020 and learned Smith was a likely contributor to DNA found in Hansell’s sexual assault kit, The Northwest Indiana Times reported.
A DNA profile from the kit was entered into the Combined DNA Index System, which found Smith to be a match.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.