This is a case that I hadn’t yet heard about. All that changed when I listened to one of my favorite true crime podcasts that has been extensively covering it. I had a whole other case planned to write, but when I learned more about Abigail “Abby” Williams and Liberty “Libby” German’s deaths, I became even more intrigued and decided to do some further digging. Eventually, I decided to showcase what has now been dubbed the “Snapchat Murders” now because l figured that it needs more spotlight. More people need to know about the details of this case because it is still unsolved. And my hope is that someone will either hear about what happened, or read about it and will have information to give to authorities. That’s always my hope about unsolved cases that I cover. You never know who you can reach, especially on the interwebs.
Although I hadn’t heard about this case until just recently, it has been a popular murder case that has come out of Delphi, Indiana. At the time of the murders, Delphi was- and still is a small farming town that, at the time, was believed to have been safe. Everyone knew everyone. It had a very low crime rate, and Libby’s grandfather, Mike Patty, has stated that Delphi was the type of town where you’d leave your front door unlocked. You’d leave your car keys sitting in the ignition, and you wouldn’t worry about your children going for walks around the neighborhood. It was a place where you’d never think that a heinous crime could ever occur. That is, until February 13th, 2017.
On Sunday, February 12th, 2017, Abigail “Abby” Williams attended a sleepover at her best friend, Liberty “Libby” German’s house. Both girls were in the 8th grade at Delphi Community Middle School. Both played the saxophone in the school band and both girls played on the volleyball team. At the time, Abby was in the process of trying out for the softball team that Libby was already a part of. Libby was active in soccer and swimming and both girls had a passion for art. They loved to paint and create all sorts of various crafts together. Although they had so much in common, Libby’s older sister, Kelsie claims that the two girls were polar opposites. Libby was friends with everyone. She was outspoken, loud, and liked to make people laugh. Kelsie says that her sister was the epitome of bravery. On the other hand, Abby was quiet, shy, soft-spoken and held back until she knew you. Kelsie says that Abby wasn’t quite as brave as her best friend counterpart, but that didn’t necessarily stop her from keeping up with Libby. Both girls loved to go hiking and taking pictures.
Libby and her older sister, Kelsie, were in the primary care of their grandparents, although their father, Derek, lived at the home with his daughters. Their mother, Carrie Timids, lived 200 miles away in Kentucky. She had remarried and had more children from that marriage. On that Sunday, Libby and Abby stayed up late- they ordered pizza, watched movies and painted a picture together that they dubbed “Chocolate.” Even Kelsie, although older, took part in the late night fun. Even though the next day was Monday, none of the girls had school.
Due to the fact that school wasn’t in session on Monday, February 13th, 2017, all the girls slept in. When Abby and Libby woke up, they walked downstairs and requested Derek to make Libby’s favorite- banana bread pancakes. He obliged the girls and began the process of making the batter and heating up the skillet. Kelsie says that when she woke up and headed downstairs, she saw her father preparing the breakfast that Libby had asked for. Derek asked his eldest daughter if she wanted any, to which she accepted. Kelsie was under the impression that morning that her sister and Abby were just going to hang around the house all day. Kelsie, on the other hand, had plans to help her boyfriend clean out his truck that he wanted to sell, before she had to be at work at 4pm. At some point that morning, Libby’s grandmother, Becky Patty, asked the girls if they would be willing to help her organize and file some paperwork for her. (She owned a real estate business.) When she offered to pay the girls, Libby and Abby gladly accepted.
While Kelsie was getting ready in the bathroom, Libby and Abby approached her and asked if Kelsie wanted to go with them to Monon High Bridge. The High Bridge was part of the Monon Rail Line built in the 1890s. It crosses Deer Creek about 60 feet up from the water. It is Indiana’s second-longest and third-highest railroad bridge. The last train ran across the line in the 1980s, and it has been sitting, rotting rather, ever since. The bridge and trails are *kind of* secluded, and the reason why I say that is because Kelsie claims that people were always there. Prior to the murders, the High Bridge was a popular spot for teens and locals to explore although the bridge itself is very long, very old, rickety and dangerous. Kelsie says that Libby had been out to the bridge several times before with family- and crossed the bridge. In Abby’s case however, she had been to the bridge at least once, maybe twice, but her mother didn’t allow Abby to cross the bridge.
So… by mid-morning on Monday, February 13th, 2017, Libby and Abby asked Kelsie if she would take them up the High Bridge. At first Kelsie told the girls no- stating that she had made plans already and had to be at work later on. But after a few minutes, Kelsie changed her mind and told Libby that she would be willing to drop them off at the bridge on her way to her boyfriend’s house as long as their grandma said it was okay. Like any eager teen, Libby darted for Becky, and asked her if she could go to the Monon High Bridge. Becky told the girls that since she had to work all day, and all the adults were busy, she didn’t see a problem with the girls going, but she had conditions. Libby and Abby could go just as long as they arranged a ride back home and as long as Abby’s parents were okay with it. A few short minutes later, Libby told Becky she had it figured out, to which Becky assumed Libby had done her due diligence.
Right before the girls left, Becky told them to bring jackets because although it seemed nice out at the time, the weather could turn. It was February after all. Libby- being a typical teen told Becky that she’d be okay.
When Kelsie came out to her car, Libby was in the front seat while Abby was sitting in the back. Kelsie too, told the girls they needed jackets. After some objections, Kelsie went back inside the house and grabbed her own sweatshirt to give to Abby. Libby got her own sweatshirt that had already been inside Kelsie’s car.
It was a beautiful day. The girls rolled down the windows of the car while they sang along to the car radio. The distance between Libby’s house and the High Bridge wasn’t far, but on the way there Libby called Derek to ask for a ride home. Derek was working- taking pictures for Becky’s real estate company, but told his daughter that he didn’t have a problem with picking her and Abby up and that he’d call her when he was on his way.
The estimated time Abby and Libby were dropped off at the entrance to the High Bridge was approximately 1:40pm. Kelsie reminded the girls to take their sweatshirts as they got out of the car. Kelsie told Libby she loved her and watched the two best friends walk away. Kelsie would never see her sister Libby, or Abby again.
It’s unknown what the girls did or where they went after Kelsie dropped them off. Based on Libby’s social media and cell phone activity, at 2:05pm the girls were crossing the High Bridge, evidenced by a picture that Libby posted to her snapchat of Abby walking across the bridge.
At 3:11pm, on his way to the trails, Derek called Libby to let her know he was on his way to pick her up. The call went unanswered. He didn’t panic and headed for the bridge, and once he arrived and parked, he called his daughter’s phone again- around 3:14pm. Again, the phone call went unanswered. At this point, Derek got out of his car and began walking towards the bridge. He wasn’t freaking out- thinking that maybe Libby’s phone died or was on vibrate and she couldn’t hear or feel it. He continued on, and eventually saw a man walking away from the bridge. Derek asked him if he had seen two teenage girls to which the man replied, “No.” The man however, did say that he saw some people by Deer Creek which is under the bridge. With the news of a possible sighting at Deer Creek, Derek changed directions and instead of heading towards the bridge, he headed for Deer Creek. When he got there, he didn’t see either of the girls- or anyone else for that matter. As Derek headed back towards the bridge, Derek called his mother, Becky Patty, around 3:30pm and told her that he couldn’t find the girls. At this point, Becky was with her daughter Tara. Of the news that Libby and her friend Abby were missing, both Becky and Tara began calling and texting Libby’s phone. All phone calls and texts went unanswered. While Becky and Tara were busy trying to get in contact with Libby, Derek was still looking for the girls around the bridge and surrounding trails. He even walked to the nearby Freedom Bridge and back with no luck.
After 30 or minutes of no sign of either Abby or Libby, Becky and Tara headed east for the Monon High Bridge and corresponding trails. Before she left the house, Becky called her husband Mike, and told him of the situation. Mike told her that he was almost done with work and would head for the bridge once he finished up. When Becky and Tara arrived at the bridge, they met up with Derek. Since Derek had looked for the girls around the bridge and Deer Creek already, the trio suspected that maybe the girls decided to walk (the only two ways) back home. So, Becky took one car and searched while Derek and Tara took another and searched the other way back home. Once again however, there was no sign of Abby or Libby. As Becky’s anxiousness grew, she feared that the girls had gotten hurt or had gotten lost. Becky remembered that Libby’s phone had been glitching on and off earlier that past week, so she suspected that it was likely that they had gotten lost, Libby’s phone wasn’t working and that was the reason why no one could get in touch with her. Now, it is said by many of those who knew the girls that if something was to happen to either one of them, the other would not leave her friend’s side. Many searchers feared that if one of the girls was seriously injured, the other would stay and wait for help to arrive. No one could fathom; no one in the community even let it cross their mind what the actual reality was. And that’s because Delphi was such a safe town.
From the time the girls were dropped off to the time that Derek first called Libby, the girls were only out at the High Bridge for an hour and thirty-five minutes. But, if you also take into consideration that Libby used the snapchat app at 2:05pm, that would mean that the girls weren’t seen or heard from for only an hour and ten minutes. If you’re new to true crime you might ask me, “What does that mean?” Well… it means that for the girls to completely vanish without a trace; it was a small window of time for something nefarious to occur.
When Becky, Derek and Tara arrived back at the bridge, they noticed that there were more cars in the make-shift parking lot than there had been before. Feeling slightly defeated, Becky thought about Libby’s cell phone. She knew that Libby lived on her phone and it was always attached to her hand. Becky phoned AT&T, Libby’s cell service, and asked if they could track or ping Libby’s cellphone. After fifteen minutes of stringing her along, the cell service informed Becky that there wasn’t much they could do.
At 4:15pm, Becky called Kelsie who was now at work. Kelsie saw her phone ringing and saw that it was her grandmother, but didn’t answer it right away. But after three more calls, Kelsie knew that something wasn’t right. Kelsie picked up Becky’s third call and heard her grandmother’s now very frantic voice. Becky asked Kelsie if Kelsie knew where the girls were or where they could have gone. Kelsie told Becky that she dropped Abby and Libby off at the entrance of the bridge twenty-or-so minutes before 2pm, and that they were planning on having Derek pick them up later. But, when Becky told Kelsie that Libby wasn’t answering phone calls or text messages, Kelsie immediately grew concerned because she too knew that her younger sister was obsessed with her phone. I mean… what 13/14 year old girl isn’t? Kelsie arrived at the bridge to assist in the search of her sister and Abby around 4:30pm. As a growing group, they searched the area of the bridge again. As a unit, their biggest fear was that the girls fell off of the bridge because again, Delphi was such a safe town.
Becky tried calling Abby’s mother, Anna, but because she was waitressing Anna couldn’t hear her phone. After her shift was over, Anna checked her phone and saw all the countless calls and texts from Becky informing her of Abby and Libby’s disappearance. Like everyone else, Anna was concerned- no doubt, but she didn’t think that anything bad had happened. In her mind, Anna thought that maybe the girls had gotten lost or their phones had died. This continuous mindset from everyone about the girls having lost their phones or were lost was because Delphi’s crime rate was so low. Everyone knew everyone. Community members just didn’t jump to the worst case scenario- aka the girls being murdered. But, unbeknownst to the community of Delphi, and to Abby and Libby’s family and friends, they no longer lived in their “safe world.”
Around 5pm, the family deduced that it was unlikely the girls were at the bridge or in the nearby area since they’ve been searching since 3:30pm. At a quarter after five, Mike Patty, Libby’s grandpa, arrived at the bridge- and by 5:20pm a couple family members were on the way to the police station to file a missing person’s report while the rest stayed back to continue looking. It was around this time that Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby was notified of Abby and Libby’s disappearance. And like everyone else, he thought the girls were just lost, their phones had died, et cetera. Kelsie claims that the Sheriff’s office believed the girls were runaways and that they’d be found in a friend’s house hiding out. This belief was due to the fact that other teens had done that in the past. Also, when Mike Patty was telling the authorities about Abby and Libby and when he was asked if they had ever disappeared before, Mike told them that they had. But… there had been extenuating circumstances. Kelsie states that yes- Abby and Libby had gone missing before. The girls were believed to have been at their school, but in reality they walked a short distance to another school to watch a game. It was a simple miscommunication and the girls learned from that experience. But, the family was adamant that the girls hadn’t run away. But because of Mike Perry’s revelation, Kelsie adamantly believes that the police jumped to the “runaway” theory. A theory the authorities would come to regret.
As the sun started to go down and the town was beginning to be blanketed in darkness, Kelsie and other members of the girls’ family and friends began posting on social media. Like Thano’s snap of his fingers, news media and community volunteers flocked to the High Bridge to assist in the search for Abby and Libby. If you took a drone over the area on the night the search took place, you would think that you were overlooking a NFL stadium during the superbowl. Although there were no lights or cameras on the bridge or surrounding trails, due to the amount of searchers (people from neighboring towns headed into Delphi to assist) it looked like a thousand stars moved throughout the trails as echoes of “Abby!” and “Libby!” were heard ringing like sirens through the trees. Needless to say, there was a very fast response by police and news media, which in a case like this is extremely important.
At around midnight the search was called off. But before you jump to conclusions and get upset that the police didn’t do enough, I want to let you know that the police didn’t stop looking that first night. It was at this time that law enforcement began the process of tracking Libby’s phone while volunteers continued the search around the bridge and trails. Just after 2am, Sheriff Leazenby was notified that Libby’s phone had pinged off a cell tower near the bridge. Sheriff Leazenby headed back out to the bridge and trails, and asked the fire department for assistance. But, after a few more hours, the search was called off again. (Mostly for safety reasons because the bridge and trails were a bit treacherous in the dark.)
The search resumed early the following morning- on Valentine’s Day. And I can say for almost certainty that Valentine’s Day will never be the same for Abby and Libby’s families, and the community of Delphi. Kelsie says that the fire department organized the search on Valentine’s Day so families of both girls, friends and volunteers met at the fire department around 7:30am. They all organized into groups and set up a grid search of the Monon High Bridge and surrounding area and were on location by 8:00am.
J. Kyle Keener, a photographer working for the newspaper Pharos Tribune took some of the highest quality photos of the investigation during February 14th, 2017. He was out snapping pictures not too long after the search started that morning when search volunteers found a piece of clothing. It was a shoe. At the time the shoe was discovered, Kelsie was in a different search group not too far away looking for the girls- or anything really- underneath a bridge. The person who located the shoe yelled over to Kelsie to describe the shoes that Libby was wearing when Kelsie dropped the girls off the previous day. When Kelsie responded with her answer, it was determined- and later verified- that the shoe belonged to Libby. Other articles of clothing were also found within that area.
A few hours later- around 12pm, approximately one mile from where the girls vanished, searchers found two bodies in a wooded, privately-owned area fifty feet from the north bank of Deer Creek. To give you some sort of perspective, the shoe that was found earlier that morning was only a half a mile from where the bodies were discovered, but on the south side of the creek. There had also been a set of footprints found that led up to the bodies. At approximately 1:50pm that same day, Sheriff Leazenby, Delphi Police Chief Steve Mullins and Indiana State Police representative Kim Riley held a joint press conference to announce to the public that two bodies were found but had yet to be identified. Just a little over 24 hours later- on February 15th, 2017 at 2:55pm, authorities held another press conference and announced the bodies that had been found were in fact that of Abby and Libby.
Before I continue on with the facts of this case, I want to be very clear with you. I actually don’t have a lot of facts to give you. Investigators have been extremely tight-lipped, to even the point that I can’t tell you the cause of the death of either Abby or Libby. What I can say is that the investigators and coroner know what the cause of death is, but they’re not telling the public. But… because the cause of death hasn’t yet been revealed, you can only imagine what else the authorities are sitting on. Although still unsolved, this case is still active and that’s the reason why authorities are keeping the case so close to their chests.
Now, at the February 15th, 2017 news conference, ISP (Indiana State Police) proceeded to release a photo of an unidentified man walking across the High Bridge that was found on Libby’s phone- which was discovered close to her body. The authorities announced that they wanted to speak to anyone that was on the trails or had parked in the nearby parking lot the day that Libby and Abby had visited the park.
The reason why this case has been referred to by the media as the “Snapchat Murders” is because of two photos found on Libby’s phone taken while she was using the Snapchat app the same day that she and Abby had disappeared. The first snapchat photo was taken around 2:05pm on February 13th and it was a black and white picture of the High Bridge. Noone else is in this photo, but it’s believed that the girls were alive and well when the photo was taken. The second photo was taken by Libby, two minutes after the first picture was taken. This second shot is that of Abby crossing the High Bridge. Abby looks laid back in this photo as she’s crossing the bridge. She’s looking down with her hands in the pockets of her sweatshirt. It’s believed that this was the first time Abby crossed the bridge and people suspect that Libby took this photo to commemorate the occasion.
Libby also took a video with audio while she and Abby were out on the High Bridge. This video depicted what now has been called “Bridge Guy” walking toward the girls. In the tiny clip that investigators have since released, “Bridge Guy” is hard to make out because he’s looking down at his feet as he’s crossing the bridge. I do want to mention that the police have never released the whole video, and although I don’t want to assume that the family haven’t seen the video, Kelsi has stated in the past that she hasn’t seen the whole video. Just tiny little clips have been given to the public. It’s during this video that the eerie “Down the hill” is heard, by someone who sounds like an older guy with a gravelly voice. It’s believed by authorities that whoever murdered Libby and Abby was the one who uttered the now infamous line. Authorities have later come to determine that Libby had the presence of mind to videotape the entire abduction due to the chilling audio of the killer’s voice that was captured on Libby’s phone. The reason why the police have released the small bit of audio is in hopes that it would generate a credible lead. Because of her quick thinking, authorities have now referred to Libby as a hero for pressing record on her phone, and police believe that she did so because she was spooked or felt unsafe by this “Bridge Guy.”
Five months into the investigation- in July of 2017, ISP released a composite sketch of the man walking across the bridge in hopes that someone would recognize him. This composite sketch looks like the killer is an older white male, somewhere between 40-50 years of age, heavy-set and wearing a flannel shirt. For two years that’s the person the public thought was responsible for murdering 13-year old Abby and 14-year old Libby.
However, in April of 2019, a press conference was held where a second composite sketch was revealed. To everyone’s dismay- including the families of Abby and Libby, this *new* composite sketch is completely different from the one that had been plastered all over town since 2017. The new sketch is of a much younger white male who looks to be in his early 20’s, clean-cut and shaven with curly hair. The problem about this *new* sketch is that it doesn’t resemble the “Bridge Guy” at all- not like the first sketch. To top it off, the second composite looks like it could be anyone- it’s super vague and bland. It looks like any college kid or even Cory Matthews from Boy Meets World. (Sorry Cory!)
Here is something that blew my mind. It turns out that the second composite sketch was actually the first sketch that was created! This “Cory Matthews” sketch was created three days after Abby and Libby’s bodies were found. So why did the police hold back and release a whole different sketch!? And why the hell did it take two years for them to release the real sketch!? Here’s my theory on that: I think that the police were trying to bait the killer. I think the sketch the authorities released in July 2017 was just a decoy- a red herring should I say, to throw off the killer. To make him think that they were heading in a whole different direction in hopes that he’d slip up and expose himself. And when that didn’t happen, the police were forced to show the real sketch. Let me be very clear on this though. This is my conspiracy theory. I could be completely off, but no other reasoning makes sense to me. My problem with this “Cory Matthews” composite is that there are no identifiable features, so to me, the sketch is moot. I mean c’mon- what do the authorities expect to gain from the younger-looking composite?
Authorities have described the killer as being between the ages of 18-40 and may appear younger than his actual age. He’s described as being a white male, 5ft 6in-10in tall, weighing anywhere between 180-220lbs with reddish-brown hair. In the video that Libby took, he’s wearing a large carhartt-type jacket with multiple layers and it’s possible that he was trying to conceal or hide what he really looks like… which to me screams premeditation. This killer might have cased out the area, maybe even on numerous occasions looking for young kids small in size because it’s easier for him to control and overpower. It’s possible that he saw Abby and Libby get dropped off and waited until it was the perfect time = when no one else was around and when the girls crossed the bridge. The reason why he would have waited for the girls to cross is so significant is because they would have nowhere to run. The killer would have known that he could funnel the girls in on that side of the bridge… and it’s seemingly what happened. This person is a predator, no doubt about it.
The autopsies were conducted shortly after the body was found, but like everything else- the conclusions from the autopsies are sealed. For cases like this, there is almost always DNA evidence left behind. Now I’m not a betting woman, but if I was, I’d bet that DNA evidence exists in this case. And the reason I think that is based on comments made by investigators. On February 23rd, 2017, Sheriff Leazenby gave an interview and based on this interview some media outlets wrote articles such as the one written by CBS-4 Indiana stating: “Leazenby wouldn’t go into specifics about forensic evidence in the case, although he did say investigators had requested that DNA evidence be ‘fast-tracked..” The following day, a WISH-TV 8 article stated, “Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby is clearing up some misconceptions about the Delphi double homicide case released by other media outlets on Friday. Leazenby said he has never confirmed DNA evidence was recovered in this case.” On August 14th, 2017 Indiana State Police First Sgt. Jerry Holeman gave an interview to CBS-4 Indiana, the same publication with earlier reporting issues. In this video taped interview, Holeman said, “At every crime scene, you are going to have DNA. We are still working on identifying all of the DNA that we have there.” So… needless to say law enforcement has recovered DNA from the crime scene. Whether law enforcement is sure the DNA they have is definitively the offender’s is unknown. The quality of the DNA collected is also unknown. When it comes to determining the killer’s DNA, that has had its own set of obstacles of its own. Mainly because the DNA has yet to be linked to anyone. It’s possible that the killer has never been arrested, or his DNA has never been entered into CODIS. Investigators have mentioned genealogy sites in interviews in the past- and they’re probably hoping that it could be another way to catch the killer- kind of like how the Golden State Killer was discovered. But nevertheless, let’s just hope that whatever DNA evidence authorities do have is enough and is usable to match because if it’s not then it’s another moot point.
Because the community have yet to receive answers, while at the same time being told that the killer is local, or at least has frequented the area, Delphi’s residents are unsettled and heartbroken. No community anywhere wants to be branded with an unsolved case, especially one involving two teenage girls. In an ABC RTV6 report, “Delphi, Indiana: FBI seeks tips on behavioral changes to help catch Delphi killer,” the FBI made a plea to the public to think back to Monday, Feb. 13, the day Abby and Libby went missing asking questions like, “Did someone you know make an excuse for missing an appointment?” “Just think if you had an interaction with an individual who inexplicably canceled an appointment that you had together,” said Greg Massa of the FBI. “Or an individual called into work sick and canceled a social engagement. At the time, they gave what you thought would have been a plausible explanation. ‘My cell phone broke’ or ‘I had a flat tire on my car.’ In retrospect, that excuse no longer holds water,” Massa added. It is often a seemingly inconsequential detail that someone calls in that can break a case wide open. The FBI is looking for just that. “Did an individual travel unexpectedly?” Massa said. “Did they change their appearance? Did they shave their beard, cut their hair, or change the color of their hair? Did they change the way they dress?” Other behavioral changes that occurred shortly after February 13rd 2017 include:
- Someone who developed a different sleep pattern
- Started abusing drugs or alcohol
- Has become anxious or irritable
- Someone who has followed this case to an extreme
- Someone who has had ongoing conversations about where they were Feb. 13
- Someone who has visited the location where the girls were murdered
- Someone who has taken photographs in the area of the trail and bridge
Police say don’t ever feel bad about reporting odd behavior. It could have everything to do with finding justice for two teenage girls brutally murdered. It could save other children from a similar and tragic outcome. In addition, if the person is innocent, it will only take a couple of minutes of their time and they will never know you were the one who made the report.
There have been several persons of interest in this case:
- On July 23rd, 2019, Paul Etter was wanted for the kidnapping and rape of a 26-year old woman on June 22nd in Tippecanoe County. Five days later, Etter was surrounded by police, and after a five hour stand-off, he died by suicide.
- Daniel J. Nations, a registered sex offender from Indiana, was arrested in Woodland Park, Colorado in September 2017 and charged with threatening strangers on a Monument trail with a hatchet. The expired Indiana plates on the car Nations was driving was noticed by police, who subsequently discovered an outstanding warrant under his name. Fanning public speculation still further, it was reported that a bicyclist had been fatally shot on the same trail at around the time that Nations was purportedly terrifying passersby. An El Paso County sheriff’s spokesman told reporters that, however “many similarities” there were between the cases, he was not at liberty to disclose them, since Indiana investigators did not want any more information released. On January 5th, 2018, Nations was sentenced to three years of probation for threatening members of the public in Colorado; however, he was not released since he had an active warrant out on him back in Indiana. On January 24th, 2018 Nations was transferred to Indiana officials’ custody on an unrelated charge, failure to register as a sex offender. In early February 2018, authorities said that Nations was no longer considered an active person of interest in the Delphi murders.
- Thomas Bruce, who formerly worked as a pastor, is charged with fatally shooting one woman and sexually assaulting two others, after having ordered them at gunpoint into the back room of a suburban St. Louis shop for religious supplies. Committed in broad daylight on November 19th, 2018, these crimes put Bruce in the spotlight of the press. Some noted his being of similar stature (5-foot-7 to 5-foot-9 inches) to the then-current suspect description in the Delphi slayings; also, he was wearing a flat cap and navy-blue jacket during this attack, not unlike the suspect in the Delphi case. Indiana State Police did look into his possible connection. On December 4th, 2018, Bruce was charged with no fewer than 17 felony counts related to the St. Louis case and could receive the death penalty.
- Charles Eldridge was arrested on January 8th, 2019, in Union City, Indiana, on charges of child molestation and child solicitation. Police in Randolph County alerted the FBI to a potential link between Eldridge and the Delphi murders, on account of his strong resemblance to the suspect sketch; this was, however, before the updated composite had been released.
- On April 27th, 2021, Indiana State Police detectives named James Brian Chadwell II as a new person of interest in the Delphi murders.
At this point though, all the families of Abby and Libby have are memories. In a News 6 report “Delphi Daughters: The Untold Story of Abby and Libby”, “They didn’t leave each other’s sides,” said Mike Patty, Libby’s grandfather, about the afternoon the two girls vanished. “I don’t know what happened out there that day, whether there was a chance or an opportunity for one to break off or split, or make a break for it or whatever but you know, I look at it as two young soldiers who covered each other’s backs, two best friends, I wouldn’t leave my best friend’s side. Neither did they.” Life has changed for both families. Libby is remembered as the “baker” of the family. She loved making chocolate chip cookies. Becky Patty, Libby’s grandmother said, “She was a baker. She could throw a batch of cookies together like no other.” Libby loved using sticky notes. She would leave sticky notes on her grandmother’s car visor. One read, “I love you! Thank you for everything you do for me and Kelsie — Libby.” She would leave sticky notes all over the house, even giving her teachers sticky notes, and always showing her appreciation for everyone around her. In the aftermath of her murder, Libby’s class presented her grandparents with jars filled with “sticky note” messages from each child in her class. It was a way of dealing with the loss for her classmates, and a reminder of how much Libby is missed.
Libby had dreamed of becoming a science teacher and loved finding cures and solving crimes, so much so, she took additional classes at Purdue University. Like Libby, Arika Gibson, a friend of the pair, said Abby also dreamt of doing something within forensics and police work. For two amateur sleuths, clearly, the evidence the girls left on their cell phones is key to their own murders.
Abby Williams’s grandparents whom she called Mee-maw and Papaw keep her belongings right where they were the day she disappeared. “We just can’t erase her from our lives, we just don’t want to.” She added, “We treasure her coat hanging on the coat hook, and her shoes on the shoe rack and her bedroom are just the way she left it — she may have walked out the door, but she is here with us,” said Diane Erskin, Abby’s grandmother. With tears in Anna Williams, Abby’s mother’s eyes, she added, “Abby smiled all the time.” Abby’s favorite thing to say was, “Is there anything I can do to help?” Always with a joyful spirit. Anna and her daughter Abby both shared a love of photography. She loved arts and crafts and even knitting hats for newborns with her aunt Maggie. She was especially good at volleyball at school and had planned on starting softball with Libby. Her grandfather, Cliff, was so excited he drove down from Michigan to take Abby out shopping to buy all new gear.
Investigators have a motto “Today is the day,” and each day at the department, the day starts out with a prayer. “As we gather together today for our work that we have been assigned to, let’s pray,” as each investigator bows their head. “Today’s the day, today is the day we are going to get closer to the end, today is the day we are going to get closer to getting justice for Abby and Libby,” said ISP First Sergeant Jerry Holeman. “We have all worked tragic cases. Nothing like this. I can’t put anything close to this case.”
A team of investigators continues to work the case, tracking down thousands of leads. Holeman admits it has been rough on everyone involved. Investigations can become a roller coaster ride with hopeful leads and dashed hopes. When it gets tough, Holeman goes back to that saying, “Today is the day.” “I need to be here for Abby and Libby,” says Holeman. “Because I am going to find who did this and we are going to hold them responsible for their actions.”
When Anna Williams was asked what justice will look like for her, “Justice will be that deep breath we get to take when my friend’s children are sleeping in their beds again. When people don’t worry about their children playing outside,” said Williams. “Justice is in law enforcement. We believe in law enforcement. We believe in the FBI and everyone else that has worked on this case. That’s where justice will come from.”
Unsolved homicide posters still hang in local companies’ windows. The community stands united behind Libby and Abby’s families and law enforcement still working the case. People who live in Delphi still place orange patio bulbs outside their homes representing everyone’s commitment to ensuring the golden glow lights the town until the killer of Abby and Libby is caught.
If you have any information about the murders of Abby Williams and Libby German, please call 844–459–5786 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.