GOD SPEED TO ALL THOSE SEEKING JUSTICE - - -
It's been weeks since teenagers Liberty German and Abigail Williams disappeared near their small hometown of Delphi, Indiana. When their bodies were found the next day, police launched a double homicide investigation. No arrests have been made, though police have identified a possible suspect.
Even as tips continue to pour in — some 7,000 at last count — and a reward has grown to more than $200,000, the mystery surrounding the murders has deepened. The community is rallying in support with fundraisers, and the FBI has joined local and state law enforcement as investigators race against the clock to solve the case.
The trauma in Delphi began on Feb. 13 when German, 14, and Williams, 13, went for a hike at Deer Creek and didn't return. Their families reported them missing, and the next day, the girls' bodies were found in nearby woods.
Police have released this photograph of a man who they say is the prime suspect in the investigation, but no arrests have been made.
While no charges have been filed, Carroll County Prosecutor Robert Ives told ABC News today that there's "an immense effort" underway, which includes local authorities, Indiana State Police and the FBI. There are 15 to 20 FBI agents in town, as well as 20 or 30 other officers from across Indiana, Ives said.
ABC News contributor and former FBI agent Steve Gomez, who is not involved in the Delphi case, told ABC News today that having the FBI and the state police involved "is incredibly important."
"You clearly have somebody or a number of people that are sick — they committed a double homicide — and the fear is that this is going to happen again [or] already happened before these two victims," he said. "Other agencies that have vast resources and expertise is very important. The state police have boots on the ground in the state of Indiana, which is going to be very vital to pursue all these leads in a timely manner. And the FBI not only provides resources and coordination across state lines. The FBI also specializes in behavioral analysis to try to rebuild a profile of the person or persons who may have been involved in this murder."
Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine told ABC News today that more than 25 agencies and hundreds of police officers are involved in the investigation, poring through the 7,000 tips they have received.
"Every single tip we're looking into," he said. If we get a name from somebody, then we're looking into that person ... We're only clearing [someone] if we're 100 percent sure they had an alibi."
Gomez said that "one of the biggest challenges that occurs when you have a case like this — where you're moving as fast as possible, operating 24 hours a day with vast amount of resources — is coordinating and collating all of the tips that you are receiving and the results of the investigative work that you are conducting to be able to analyze and cross-reference all of that information."
"It's not just about a manhunt," he added. "It's also about managing this massive investigation and all of the data that is coming in from a myriad of sources."
That becomes "the greatest challenge," Gomez said, "because you don't want to let anyone slip through the cracks. We've seen that in terrorism investigations ... There are bits of information that are coming in from all over the world, and you have to have the infrastructure to gather and manage all of that to interpret what [it means]."
Gomez said that "one of the most important parts of this investigation is to establish a very detailed timeline of what was occurring in the victims' lives leading up to the point that they were dropped off and as much information about their activities that they can determine as possible."
That includes looking at their phones, checking any texting or social media activity that occurred, he said, "just to understand what was going on in their lives."
Police are also likely building a profile of the suspect, even if he is unknown, Gomez said, "to try to determine if this crime fits a pattern of other crimes."
As the police investigation continues, authorities hope a short audio clip they released — from video retrieved from the cellphone of one of the victims — will help lead them to the suspect. In the released audio clip, just three words are heard: "down the hill." Police have said the rest of the retrieved recording hasn't been released because of the ongoing investigation.
The audio is "evidence of a crime," Perrine said, explaining that police "don't want to release too much at this point. Right now the audio we released is the best audio we have of the suspect."
But Gomez said, "That's very concerning to me from an investigative standpoint. If you're going to go through the process of releasing 'down the hill,' then you would expect them to release more information."
He believes more than three words are necessary for the public to help identify the suspect.
"If you have, say, 20 words, and you're only releasing three, you're really not doing the public a service in helping you find this person," he said.
Police may be holding back evidence so they do not alert the suspect that they are getting close, Gomez said, noting that it's a "cost benefit analysis" for the police to evaluate.
While police released a photo of the suspect and a brief audio clip, police have not released one of the critical details — how the girls died.
Gomez said, "When police don't reveal how the victims died, it's usually an indication that there's some type of evidence or something significant with how they died that would alert the suspect or suspects that they know that they are the ones to find."
"But it's a double-edged sword," he added, "because the more information police put out to the public, the more opportunity to get better investigative leads to locate them."
Perrine told ABC News that police have not released how the girls died because they don't want to risk jeopardizing the case. "It's important to keep some of the information close to us," he said, adding that at some point that detail might be released.
Other elements of mystery surrounding this case include whether there is more than one suspect and if the suspect or suspects knew the victims.
Of the possibility that there is more than one perpetrator, Perrine said today, "At this point, we do not know."
Gomez said that having two victims means it's more likely that there's than one suspect, because the two might have fought back.
As for whether the suspect or suspects knew the girls, Perrine said, "We have no assumptions at this point of anything."
Gomez said he thinks it's "more probable than not" that the suspect knew the girls.
"Suspects tend to prey on people that they either know or they know of, so they know that they have an opportunity to commit that crime," he said. "In this case, these two victims were at a location [where] the suspect or suspects were able to catch them at a vulnerable stage."
Meanwhile, a growing reward is bringing more attention to the case, which Perrine said is vital. As of Friday, the reward reached $216,000, he said. The reward received a big boost from contributions by former Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee and team owner Jim Irsay.
Perrine said police want as many people as possible to see the suspect's photo and hear the audio. He said that the money may be bringing the photo and audio to more people's attention and that the money might be the motivation someone needs to come forward.
Gomez said reward money is "very important."
"It is something that will keep the case and the need for the public's assistance in the limelight. It'll continue to gather attention, which is very important to keep the case moving and the tips coming in," he said. "It is a great motivator for people just to call in for any small reason or large reason, because some people will often think that they might have seen something or heard something and not think anything of it and they don't call."
"The reward keeps it on everybody's mind," Gomez said. "We've seen that happen many times, where somebody sees something, they think it's irrelevant but you have somebody near them who says, 'You need to say something.'"
According to Gomez, the first 48 hours in an investigation are usually "the most important" because the "assumption is that within the first 48 hours, the suspect is very close by."
Now that the investigation has reached the three-week mark, Gomez said, the suspects "could be out of the area. For all we know, they could be out of the state."
"You now need as much information as possible to keep the leads fresh so you can continue the manhunt with some success," he said.
"Unfortunately, we are getting close to the point, depending on the amount of leads ... the case may have to transition into a more traditional investigation, where the resources aren't as intense," Gomez said. "If the leads are continuing to come in to the police department — which is why it's so important to keep the public aware — then there's justification for having the vast resources that they've had to keep the investigation moving in an urgent manner."
Once the leads start to shrink, he said, then it's harder to justify the vast resources given to the police.
While Perrine said the investigation "takes a lot of time and a lot of resources," he vowed to continue until the case is solved.
"We're not giving up," he said. "We're going to continue doing this. We just need one break. One break in this case is all it's going to take to put somebody in jail. That's our goal — to bring justice."
The tight-knit community of Delphi — a rural town of about 2,800 people some 70 miles north of Indianapolis — has united in an unparalleled way, according to Jake Adams, the director of community development for Delphi.
"Everybody kind of came together," he told ABC News today. "People are tripping over themselves to try to do fundraisers specifically for the good of the whole cause, to help support local law enforcement and the family members."
He said events included motorcycle rides, memorial runs, trail walks, fundraisers at businesses and bake sales.
"That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how many fundraisers we've seen for the families," he said. "It's been unparalleled."
With the case unsolved, Adams said that there is an element of fear in town but that there are just as many people as before out on the streets. He also said there have been three or four self-defense courses held in town in the past three weeks.
"I think it's in the back of everybody's minds," he said, but "the sense of pride and community outweighs ... the risk of something happening."
Adams said the entire community is grieving the loss of the two teens.
"All the emotions you would feel in a normal loss personally is what our community has been doing as a whole. We took our City chambers, and we turned it into an FBI headquarters," he said. "This is not a situation where we're going to let them be limited on options for the investigation. We turned over the city to whoever needs it."
"As long as we can keep this case in the news ... the better chance we have of solving this crime," Adams said.
People can provide information by calling the tip line at (844) 459-5786. Information can be reported anonymously. Tips can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABC News' Nicole Pelletiere, Blair Shiff, Avianne Tan and Jeff Costello contributed to this report.
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Angel Abigail - - -
Fast Thinking Angel Liberty - - --
Recorded & photographed their killer. Justice will be served. Watch & See. JUSTICE.
Humanity has no words for killers. For the horror they cause. For the injustice they do.
This sick-soul wanted for murder.
Indiana State Police ask anyone who recognizes the man or the voice, or who may have any other information, to call the Tip Line at (844) 459-5786 or 1-800-225-5324 (800-Call FBI). Tips can also be emailed to Abbyandlibbytip@cacoshrf.com. Information can be reported anonymously
- - Play on in heaven...in the arms of the angels.
DELPHI, Ind. – Carroll County Prosecutor Robert Ives told FOX59 the law of averages favors that of the thousands of tips that have poured in and the hundreds of doors police and FBI agents have knocked on in connection with the murders of Abby Williams and Libby German.
Investigators say they’ve possibly met the killer or killers, or may have the clue that will wrap up the case. They just don’t know it yet.
“I think there’s an excellent chance that in these tips, somebody has named the right person,” said Ives of the more than 13,000 submissions that have come in to investigators. “When you ask me, ‘Is it possible some police officer has talked to him?’ I think it’s extremely likely that’s happened.
“I think that’s possible, yes.”From a command center on the town square in Delphi, authorities have served approximately 70 subpoenas and a couple search warrants approved by Ives in pursuit of the man who abducted and murdered the girls near the Monon High Bridge Trail east of town on February 13.
“If we’re looking for third party data, if we’re looking for information from a company, or a business, that the business acquires in the course of its business, that might relate to an investigation, we send a subpoena,” said Ives. “If you’re looking for evidence that relates directly to proof of a crime and it’s in a realm of privacy, in a person’s home, in a person’s phone, in a person’s computer, on their person, some other situations, then you have to get a search warrant for that type of information, and we’ve gotten some search warrants but often those search warrants didn’t directly relate to the investigation of the killing of the two girls. They’re related to other matters in the course of this investigation. When so many people are being checked on, other things get found.”
That was true in the arrest of a local man known to investigators last weekend who is being held without bond on a probation violation for an alcohol-related offense.
Sheriffs and state probation officers have questioned registered sex offenders in several north central Indiana counties to determine their whereabouts on the day the girls were murdered and then confirmed those accounts with other interviews or polygraph examinations.
“This is really an unprecedented thing for Carroll County,” said Ives. “There have been or there will be charges relating to things that have been uncovered.”
Each day, the small town of almost 3,000 people is flooded with police officers from across Indiana and federal agents from across the country, all searching for the clue that will lead to the girls’ killer.
“With the data base that they have that was provided by the FBI, if a person has been checked on before, it’s easy to tell they’ve been checked on before,” said the prosecutor. “The crime is so serious that you’re following leads you might not otherwise follow before. There’s no obvious suspect as there often is.
“They go out and check on things, they report back, sometimes people are called in for statements, sometimes other avenues of investigation are taken up with regard to particular people.
“On any particular day there are twenty FBI agents and 25 or 30 officers,” observed Ives. “On some days it’s probably as many as 200 people working.
“That goes on not only here, that happens at Quantico, too,” he said. “The FBI is working on this in Virginia as well as working on it here.”
Outside the command center are parked satellite dish vehicles providing investigators immediate links to their headquarters counterparts.
“Those citizens who are in Carroll County and in the Delphi area should be extremely proud of the law enforcement, the local enforcement, that is there and leading this investigation,” said FBI Special Agent Jay Abbott. “The FBI is extremely proud to be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with them in support of their leadership in this case.”
Investigators are anxiously awaiting full DNA test results being compiled by FBI forensic analysts.
“I go back before DNA and cell phones,” said Ives who remembered prosecuting criminal cases in Carroll County with less evidence than in this case since 1987, “and I certainly would have said, if experienced investigators, as we have in this case, had the evidence that was available in this case, I would expect them to solve it within a month. That’s without DNA and cell phones which are a big part of what’s going on here.
“No arrest is imminent,” he said. “No case is close to being developed.”
That extraordinary evidence came from Libby’s cellphone as the young girl’s device yielded at least two images of a man dressed in blue clothes walking along the bridge and captured his voice as he ordered the children, “Down the hill,” to their deaths.
“If you see that picture and you hear that voice, and you’re going to call in a tip, explain why,” urged Ives. “’I’ve seen him wear those clothes, I know the way he walks, I know that combination of clothing, I know that voice, I know something about him.’
“’Not only do I know that person, but he said something to me, I saw something about him.’”
The reward for information leading the killer or killers of the best friends and youth softball players is more than $200,000.
“Look at that picture,” said Ives, “listen to that voice and don’t assume someone else has made a call.”
The Delphi Homicide Tip Line is (844) 459-5786.
DELPHI, Ind. -- Changes are in the works for the Delphi trail system where two young girls were killed while hiking last month.
The “Trail Safety Task Force” met for the first time on Monday to discuss plans to improve safety along the Delphi Historic Trail’s 10 mile path.
The task force is composed of community members from law enforcement, trail organizations, schools and the public.
Liberty German, 14, and Abigail Williams, 13, went missing on February 13 while hiking near the Monon High Bridge. Their bodies were found the next day less than a mile from the trail.
The search for their killer has now gone into its second month.
David McCain, organizer for the Monon High Bridge Trail, said the community is devastated by the murders but determined not to let that be what defines them.
“This community is so much more than that,” said McCain. "We’re going to prove them different. We’re going to take back our trails.”
The task force discussed a timeframe for when trail cameras would begin going up in the area, the first of their big projects. They are also considering adding posts along the trails to help 911 callers identify where they are if they need to call for help.
The Wabash & Erie Canal Association is collecting donations to raise money for the task force, and a 5k benefit run in early June will help fund some of the future improvements.Indiana State Police released a picture of a suspect, which was taken by Liberty on her cell phone. She also captured a man's voice saying "down the hill" during what police call "criminal activity."
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Justice for Dave and Troy.
DELPHI, Ind. (WISH) — You’ve seen the headlines and the stories.
Two teens killed while walking a trail in Carroll County. It’s been just over a month since 13-year-old Libby German and 14-year-old Abby Williams were slain and police still need your help.
Despite thousands of tips, video and audio from one of the girls cell phones and a reward of more than $200,000, the search for a suspect or suspects continues.
Here’s a look back in the hopes that you might be able to help move the case forward.
“It’s had a terrible impact on our community, the people who have participated in the search, the people who have participated in all the efforts to try and find the victims in this care are very much appreciated,” said Chief Steve Mullin with the Delphi Police Department. “But I know it’s had a terrible effect on our people.”Valentine’s Day. Delphi police announced that they found two bodies just off the shore of Deer Creek in Carroll County. While it is less than a mile from where two teen girls were last seen the day before, the bodies had not yet been identified. Police say 13-year-old Libby German and 14-year-old Abby Williams were dropped off at the Monon High Bridge Trail near Delphi about 1 p.m. and weren’t there to be picked up about 5:30
The girls were best friends, says Alexis Cripe, Libby’s cousin, who she calls by her full name, Liberty.
“Abby, she’s very funny, she’s kind of shy, she’s very sweet. She played sports with Liberty. She sat next to me in some of my classes,” Cripe said.
The Delphi community pulled together and two days after the girls disappeared, it gets the news it was dreading. The bodies found are that of Libby and Abby.
“It is concerning as sheriff in my position. I want to assure the community that we’re going to get to the bottom of this. We’re going to do everything we can within our resources to reach justice in this situation,” said Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby.
Later that evening, a picture is released. Police say the man is a possible suspect. They won’t say where or how they got the picture.
Ron Logan owns the property where the girls bodies were found. He, like the rest of the community, are trying to come to grips with what’s happened.
“Something like this happening in my backyard, I just can’t get my emotions around it. It’s crazy. It’s unreal,” said Logan.
Logan has since been arrested due to a probation violation in another case. Investigators have not named him as a suspect in the case.
At this point 30 or 40 investigators are working the case. A new tip line is set up. But people in Delphi are nervous
“I’m home everyday before dark. Our doors are dead-bolted constantly, knowing where he’s at when he’s off. The bus when he gets on the bus, he has to send me a text,” said Deanna Rich, speaking about her son.
While residents worry, a home outside Delphi is searched by a newly-formed task force made up of FBI agents, state police and local law enforcement. No arrests are made.
The town says goodbye to the two girls with a public visitation and lantern release. The burials are private.
“One of two things happen. That was a chance encounter that’s possible, don’t think it’s likely but it’s possible. Or that person knew that they were going to be there. That’s possible, as well and those are the things we’re looking at,” said Indiana State Police Capt. David Bursten.
Police say there is more video, but they aren’t releasing it. And they don’t know if the voice is the man in the picture. At the same time, the FBI launches a nationwide ad campaign, with photos of the girls and the suspect on 6,000 digital billboards across 46 states. A special phone number and email address are established for tips.
The FBI searches a home in Peru in connection with the killings. They conclude the residents were “in no way connected” to the case. It is the second house authorities say they’ve searched. By the next day the reward for suspect information hits $50,000 after donations by Congressman Todd Rokita, the FBI and many others.
As March begins the reward goes over $200,000 after former Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee announced in a video he posted on Twitter that he and Colts owner Jim Irsay are donating $97,000 to the reward fund. But still no arrests.
“It’s the small things that seem to hurt the most, its just natural for us to holler for them to come to dinner, or in the mornings to get up and get ready to go to school, then expecting them to come through the door after school. The silence when we don’t hear their voice,” said Mike Patty, Libby’s grandpa.
Libby German’s grandfather Mike Patty pleas for someone to come forward with information.
“This horrible crime has torn a hole in our families that will never heal,” Patty said.
Police say since it began, they’ve gotten more than 13,000 tips in the case. They’ve ruled out 2,000 and they’re assigning detectives to about 1,500.
Your help is still needed. You can call the FBI tip line at 844-459-5786. You can also email abby and libby tip at cacoshrf.com.
The reward for information leading to an arrest is more than $230,000 "
ABIGAIL WILLIAMS. Rest in the Arms of the Angels.
Justice Comes in Sorrow.
These officers should be commended for their outstanding efforts & good coverage of the crime and seeking JUSTICE for Liberty & Abby - - -
Can not FATHOM laying a hand on a child. Let alone murder. Everyone's worst fears. Killer won't be such a "big man" in jail.
Liberty was also known as "Libby."
On February 13, 2017, Liberty German, age 14, and Abigail Williams, age 13, were hiking on the Delphi Historic Trail near the Monon High Bridge just east of Delphi in Carroll County, Indiana. Liberty and Abigail were reported missing to police after their parents were unable to locate them at the pick-up location. Volunteers subsequently discovered the girls’ bodies in the woods east of Delphi in Carroll County, Indiana, on February 14, 2017.
Investigators have distributed a photo of a person observed on the Delphi Historic Trail. The photo appears to depict a White male wearing blue jeans, a blue coat/jacket, and a hoodie. During the course of the investigation, preliminary evidence has led investigators to believe the aforementioned person is suspected of being involved in the murders of Liberty German and Abigail Williams.
Field Office: Indianapolis