A Look Back at 2017: the Delphi Murders
DELPHI, Ind. -- We're looking back on some of the biggest stories of 2017 as we near the end of the year. One of those was the murder of two young girls in a small Indiana town.
It's a story that will most likely haunt the town of Delphi for decades to come. Two young teens, Abigail Williams and Liberty German, were murdered by a man who remains a mystery to police. As we close in on the one-year anniversary of their deaths in February, the girls' families and law enforcement fight to keep hope alive.
Police say they've had few clues outside of a fuzzy picture of a man and a chilling audio recording of a man saying "down the hill."
13-year-old Williams and 14-year-old German were known to friends and family as "Abby" and "Libby." The two girls went missing while hiking on an unusually warm February day.
Less than 24 hours later on February 14, police found their bodies near a railroad bridge close to the historic Delphi trail. Since that day, Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby hangs a reminder in his office of the man still just outside of his grasp.
"It's kind of like looking for the needle in the haystack. At this stage I feel like we're in the middle of that haystack still looking for that needle. No one's in jail at this point," Leazenby said.
For a moment, Indiana State Police thought they had found that needle in a haystack.
On September 27, they got a call from Colorado officials about 31-year-old Daniel Nations. Police in El Paso County said Nations was a suspect in an incident there that shared similarities to the Delphi murders. But soon enough, ISP detectives would determine they would not have enough evidence to include or exclude Nations as a suspect in Abby and Libby's deaths.
"Who?" is not the only question keeping Leavenby up at night.
"A question that always circles around any criminal investigation but why? Why did this happen?" he says.
"Why?" is a question that will forever haunt German's grandparents Becky and Mike Patty as well. They say they won't stop until they find justice.
"Our goal is to, have fliers in every town in the United States. That he can't go into any town, he can't go anywhere that his own face isn't staring at him," Becky said.
"We owe this to the girls. I'll spend the rest of my days chasing after this guy. That's just the way it's going to have to be," Mike added.
As for the girls' families, they will spend the rest of their days making sure Abby and Libby aren't forgotten.
A memorial softball field is in the works for next year to make sure no one in the small, quiet town of Delphi forgets the lives of two young girls cut short, far too soon.
Police are still asking you to come forward if you think you know anything that will help them find the man behind these murders. You can call (844) 459-5786 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.