DELPHI, Ind. – Authorities Monday released a faintly fuzzy, 3-second video of a double murder suspect taken by one of the two schoolgirl victims before her death more than two years ago near this small Indiana town.
Close reimaging of the video led police to make public a new sketch of the suspected male killer, who they believe is from the area 60 miles northwest of Indianapolis. A scratchy audio of what is believed the man’s voice was also released.
"We believe you are hiding in plain sight,” said State Police Supt. Doug Carter. “For more than two years, you never thought we would shift gears to a different investigative strategy, but we have.”
The video and audio came from the cellphone of Liberty (Libby) German, 14. Her body was found, along with that of Abigail (Abby) Williams, 13, on Feb. 14, 2017, in a rugged wooded area not far from a hiking trail near their hometown of Delphi.
The girls were dropped off on the trail at 1:30 p.m. the day before and planned to be picked up by a family member a couple of hours later. They were missing for 24 hours.
Carter said investigators have collected “new information and intelligence,” including additional DNA evidence from the site where their bodies were found by a volunteer searcher. Authorities have not yet disclosed the cause of the girls’ deaths.
Carter said investigators believe the suspect is between the ages of 18 and 40, and that he either lives or lived in Delphi or regularly visits or works in the vicinity. He was described as a white male about 5-feet, 10 inches tall.
Investigators urged the public to pay close attention to the mannerisms of the man in the video, which shows him walking across an abandoned railroad bridge. “Because of the deteriorated condition of the bridge the suspect is not walking naturally, due to the spacing between the ties," said Carter.
The unsolved mystery of who killed the eighth grade girls out for a hike on an off day from school has received widespread publicity, with dramatized details of the case featured on national crime and news programs.
Within days of finding the bodies, investigators released two grainy photos of a suspect walking on the bridge and an audio recording of a man believed to be him saying "down the hill." A composite sketch of the suspect then had him bearded but he is without facial hair in the new sketch.
The audio clip released Monday includes that same audio but is a bit longer, though it is also hard to decipher. Sgt. Kim Riley of the State Police said it is the voice of the man on the bridge saying, "Guys, down the hill," a reference investigators believe is a command to the girls to descend an embankment.
Investigators said they have pursued more than 30,000 leads in the case since the victims’ bodies were discovered. They said speculation about the murders on social media has been unhelpful and should not be believed.
Anyone with information about the suspect or details of the case can contact Indiana State Police at 800-382-7537 or the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department at 765-564-2413.