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.
The next big development in the case happens a week and a day after the teens were found dead. In a news conference, police confirm the pictures of the man seen in the area came from video taken on Libby’s cell phone. And they release this audio recording, taken from the same video.
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.
“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.