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New Details About The Murder Of Two Teen Girls In Delphi, Indiana — And The Evidence That Police Now Believe Will Help Them Solve It

Photo: Indiana State Police
Who Killed Abby And Libby? Details Delphi Murders Theories And New Evidence

On the afternoon of Feb. 13, 2017, 14-year-old Libby German and 13-year-old Abby Williams were killed while walking on the Delphi Historic Trails near Delphi, Indiana. The bodies were found around noon the next day by a volunteer search team.

The killer is believed to have been a stranger to both girls.

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While very little information has been released about the case (the autopsies are finished, but the manner of death has not been released to the public), police and the public have speculated a lot about the identity of the killer. So far, no major breaks have been made in the case. However, several significant pieces of evidence — including one new piece of evidence — have been released to the public in the hopes that they will help identify the killer.

Like normal teenagers, German and Williams carried their phones with them wherever they went, documenting their lives on social media. They even posted pictures of their hike together on Snapchat shortly before their disappearance. According to Daily Beast, Libby German captured a video of their abductor on her phone.

Police have not released the video clip, but have released a still shot of the man in the clip as well as an audio recording of a man’s voice saying, “down the hill.”

Since the image taken from the girl’s phone is blurry, police have released additional possible suspect information based on information accumulated during the investigation, including a composite sketch of the possible killer’s face. They also describe the man as being between 5’6” and 5’10” and weighing around 180-220 lbs. He allegedly has reddish-brown hair, which can be discerned from the image.

In August of 2017, investigators found DNA that may belong to the killer. It is unknown what kind of DNA it is or how it was obtained. According to Fox News, this brings hope to the families and others connected to the case, as new DNA technology is becoming increasingly advanced.

Most notably, strides in DNA technology recently helped identify the Golden State Killer.

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Although information released to the public regarding the case is limited, police say that they have lots of evidence. According to Indiana State Police Sergeant Kim Riley, they have received over 18,000 tips, leading to interviews with roughly 1,000 potential suspects. With so much information coming in, it is difficult to narrow it down to valid tips only. 

Indiana State Police Sergeant Tony Slocum noted the reason that only limited amounts of information have been released. 

“Some of the facts we don’t release are only known to the person who committed the crime,” he said.

This has not deterred the public from theorizing the identity of the killer based on similar past high-profile murders. In July of 2018, the arrest of John D. Miller for the 1988 murder of 8-year-old April Tinsley sparked the theory that Miller was also guilty of murdering Williams and German. According to Fox News, police discovered a message written in crayon in 1990 saying, “I kill 8-year-old April Marie Tinsley. I will kill again.”

Four similar notes were found in 2004. 

The case laid dormant as DNA technology continued to advance. While Miller’s DNA was found on the body, it was not until 2018 when his name came up after familial DNA testing, which analyzes and matches DNA with public genealogy data. After his and his brother’s names came up, Miller confessed to Tinsley’s rape and murder. While Sergeant Riley wouldn’t say whether the DNA was being cross-examined with the DNA found in William’s and German’s case, she noted that information from Tinsley’s case could be used to help solve other cases.

Another potential suspect in the case is Daniel Nations. According to Fox59, Nations was questioned as a person of interest in the case. He was arrested in February of 2018 after threatening hikers in Colorado with a hatchet. Officers from Johnson County, Indiana retrieved him from Colorado with a warrant for his arrest. He had failed to register as a sex offender in Indiana.

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Officers initially said that they did not have specific evidence including or excluding Nations as a suspect in the Delphi case, but his arrest for harassing and threatening hikers points a suspicious finger that leads to more questions. Fox59 reports that the Indiana State Police have since noted that they aren’t actively investigating him for involvement in the murders.

On Twitter, members of the public and followers of the case have expressed frustration over the lack of information pertaining to the case and the lack of media coverage. With so many potential suspects and an overload of potential leads, police remain hesitant to provide false hope.

It seems as though this case is on the cusp of a breakthrough. With video and audio evidence, someone familiar with the killer is likely to recognize him from the voice or police sketch. Investigators are offering a reward of $230,000 to anyone with information leading to a break in the case, which can be reported to abbyandlibbytip@cacoshrf.com or by phone at (844) 459-5786.

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Emily is a freelance writer based in Colorado, USA. She covers news, true crime, politics, feminism, and psychology.