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Delphi Murders: An oral history of the year since the murders of Liberty German & Abigail Williams

How the murders of Libby & Abby changed Delphi
Posted: 9:23 PM, Feb 16, 2018
Updated: 2018-02-17 23:11:34Z

This story is part of a special series remembering the lives of Abigail Williams and Liberty German, who were murdered in the small town of Delphi, Indiana. Visit www.theindychannel.com/delphi for more.

 

 

February 13, 2017, is a day that no one who lives in Delphi, Indiana will ever forget. 

It was an unseasonably warm day. Liberty German and Abigail Williams wanted to get outside, enjoy nature, take a few photographs and just hang out.

They were reported missing by their families that afternoon.

A search crew found their bodies the next day on a piece of private property less than a mile from the location where they started their hike. 

READ | One Year Later: Why the Delphi case isn't cold

For the past 12 months, the city of fewer than 3,000 people has been focused on solving the girls’ murders and finding justice for their families. 

But little visible progress on the case, Delphi remains on edge, knowing that Abby and Libby’s killer is still out there.

A lot has happened since that February day, but nothing can sum up the feelings and frustration in that tight-knit community like their very own words. 

Oral History: The Murders of Libby & Abby

February 2017

Chief Steve Mullins (Delphi Police Department): “The family asked us to thank the communities around Delphi and the people here in Delphi for assisting in attempting to locate the two young children who were missing here earlier.”

Delphi Community Schools: "It is with heavy hearts that the school corporation day comes to an end. It is our understanding that the two bodies found today were those of our two missing Delphi Community Middle School students."

Chief Steve Mullins: "I think people in the community are smart enough to draw their own conclusions about what they should feel and shouldn't feel. Our people are very smart. We have a very good community and they are very strong. And they are able to draw their own conclusions about this whole situation very successfully.”

TIMELINE | The disappearance and murders of Abby & Libby

Melissa Schwartz (Delphi Resident): “I think it’s very scary, I was raised in Delphi, grew up in Delphi and we’ve never had anything like this happen in Delphi, so it’s very concerning.”

Delphi Middle School Lunch Lady: “I’ve cried a lot, especially today. Probably most of this town didn’t get much sleep last night worrying about them. I mean, any time you lose a child it’s horrible.”

Kevin Kologinski (Delphi resident): “I would always be concerned about that until they find whatever murderous beast did this. I would watch my kids very carefully. Mine are all grown up, my grandchildren are too young to be off on their own, but for any other kids that are out I’d keep a very close eye.” 

Sheriff Tobe Leazenby (Carroll County): “I want to assure the community…. We are going to get to the bottom of this, we feel confident, and we’re going to do everything we can within our resources to reach justice in this situation.”

Sgt. Kim Riley (Indiana State Police): “We have nobody in custody at this time. So as far as I’m concerned, there is somebody out there that did this crime, and we’re going to track them down.” 

Hagen Jacobs (Abby Williams’ friend): "[Abby] had the best personality," Jacobs said. "She was seriously so fearless and loving like, she loved. Like she had to warm up to you at first but she was so kind… Every time I get on a 4-wheeler I'm going to think about Abigail and how scared I was that day but how happy she was," Jacobs said. 

Brad Henry (Williams' family friend): “You’ve gone from wonder to angry to heart broke. It’s tragic, and there are really no words to describe it. It impacts everybody, especially if you have children. People move away from the city to small towns to get away from this kind of thing, and you think it’s never going to happen and when it does it's total chaos and it's total shock.”

Ron Logan (Property owner were girls were found): “To have something like this at your own house, your own home - I just can’t get my mind around it yet, it’s really difficult… I can’t comprehend it.”

 

Sgt. Kim Riley: “I can’t say there’s not a threat to the community. We have not caught the person yet, is the person still in the community? We don’t know.”

“We’re checking their cell phones, we’re checking their social media places Twitter, Facebook and that to see if there’s some type of connection there. Everybody is a suspect.”

Tracy Martin (Pizza King owner): “We are a very close knit small community so this hits very hard, even though it’s a family that doesn’t deserve this,” said Tracy Martin, co-owner of Pizza King. “It could be anyone, it just hurts. It’s very emotional and sad.”

Sgt. Tony Slocum (Indiana State Police): “That young lady is a hero, that is no doubt. To have enough presence of mind to activate the video system on her cell phone to record what we believe is criminal behavior is about to occur, there is no doubt in our mind that she is a hero.”

Superintendent Doug Carter (Indiana State Police): “I want to meet with their parents and tell them: Guess what? We did it,” said Carter. “I feel so strongly about this. I can’t imagine ending my life and not finding the guy who did this.”

Rep. Todd Rokita: "What happened to my constituents -- those young girls -- breaks my heart. I know my supporters feel the same way. To make the reward money for their killer's capture a nice round figure, I directed money that I raised, and which is still in my old Secretary of State campaign account, to be used for this community purpose."

Special Agent Greg Massa (FBI): "Just think if you had an interaction with an individual who inexplicably canceled an appointment that you had together. Or an individual called into work sick and canceled a social engagement. At the time, they gave what 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."

March 2017

Diane & Eric (Abby’s Grandparents): "Where are the police when you need them? I have uttered these words whenever a speeding or reckless driver nearly runs me or someone else off the road. Where are the police when you need them? They are here, in Delphi, with us. We pray for your protection, and we are forever grateful for your service" 

 

Pat McAfee: "Although you don't want to entice people with money to do the right thing, we assumed with the quality of the photo and the sound of the clip, the only people who are going to know who this is is somebody who's had a long relationship with this person. Whether it's family, or friends, or something like that. They're probably struggling with loyalty, but this is a horrible person. We thought $200,000 is a life-changing amount of money… It's such a small town. There is a lot of division that is publicly stated and talked about on the news. I think America as a whole is like a community. If you're from a small town, we got your back."

Sgt. Tony Slocum: "We've served multiple search warrants so far. They can either exonerate a person or maybe require law enforcement to take a closer look. This isn’t the first search warrant that we’ve served. If you go by the social media sites we’d have a thousand people in jail by now. "

Sgt. Kim Riley: “We’re trying to basically clear him or look at him even stronger. “That’s about all I can say at this point in time.”

Robert Ives (Carroll County Prosecutor): “People shouldn’t speculate on why someone was searched or not searched. No charges have been filed relating to the deaths of the two girls and no charges are imminent.” 

Robert Ives: “This is a case, there’s lots of evidence out there but it needs to be matched up with a person, and that hasn’t been done yet.”

Supt. Doug Carter: “We remain committed to this investigation and the Carroll County and Delphi community until ‘this evil’ is eradicated. We are on board until the end to assist our fellow law enforcement brothers and sisters.”

Sheriff Tobe Leazenby: “We have been extremely blessed with the invaluable law enforcement assets and resources afforded to us the past few weeks in Carroll County. We stress this investigation is ongoing and is not without resolve as we will find those responsible and reach proper closure for Abby and Libby and their families.”

April 2017

Sgt. Kim Riley: “We are still trying to narrow it down to the one person or persons responsible for this terrible crime.”

Becky Patty (Liberty German’s Grandmother): “There are days you are on auto pilot. The first month was auto pilot. I don’t remember – if you ask me about a conversation, I probably don’t remember.”

Diane Williams (Abby’s “Memaw”): “Her bedroom is just the way she left it. She may have walked out the door, but she is here with us. We just can’t erase her from our lives and we don’t want to.”

Becky Patty: “You look at the world different now. You look at people. You pull up to a stop light and you are looking at the people and they are doing the same thing. Our community is going through this with us.”

Eric Williams (Abby’s “Papa”): “We were fortunate to have 13 really good years. Some grandparents live across the continent. Maybe they see their grandkids two or three times a year. We had the pleasure to see her at morning and see her at night. Go to her ball games, band concerts. So we were really blessed."

Anna Williams (Abby’s Mother): “Every day we wake up and we pray that today is the day. We pray every day that we’ll have peace someday. We know someone out there might help us find that.”

 

Anna Williams: "Justice is that deep breath we get to take when my friends’ children are sleeping in their own beds again. When people don’t worry about their children playing outside.”

Becky Patty: “There’s never going to be true justice for us, because you can’t bring the girls back. It’s our job to fight to keep it out there – to do whatever it takes to find this person or persons that did this to them. This is our job now.”

Mike Patty (Liberty’s Grandfather): “This evil may have struck us right here in the heart of Indiana and right in our home, but there is a lot of good people out there doing a lot of good things. Their support has really helped us through this. It really has.”

First Sgt. Jerry Holeman (Indiana State Police): "Today is the day we're going to get closer to the end. Today is the day we're going to get closer to justice for Abby and Libby." 

Chief Steve Mullins: "Those people who before maybe wouldn't lock their doors are now locking their doors. Those people who maybe were not before so concerned every second about where their children are at, now are. It's much different than it's ever been in our community than ever before."

Sheriff Tobe Leazenby: "I feel just as confident as we did from day one. We will find this individual.”

Anna Williams: “We have faith in our community and we’ve had faith in the law enforcement all along. We cannot thank those folks enough for all they’ve done. I know that these guys have put a lot of hours, a lot of time away from their families because they’re trying to help ours. They spend as many sleepless nights as we do.”

First Sgt. Jerry Holeman: "We're going to catch this monster. Whoever did this needs to be put away and we're not going to stop until we find this person."

May 2017

Joe Donnelly (Indiana Senator): “So that it doesn’t happen to any other girls whether it’s here or in any other state or country. We want to catch the guy who did this.”

First Sgt. Jerry Holeman: “To call this a cold case is just ridiculous. It’s not even close… It’s like a 5,000-piece puzzle. We have the edge put together, that’s what you do first, you put the corners together and put the edge together – but there’s a lot of missing pieces in the middle.”

June 2017

 

Sgt. Kim Riley: "This case is not dried up, It's not a cold case. This case is still very active.

 
 

Sgt. Kim Riley: “We feel this (sketch) is very important because it actually gives a better view of the person shown [in the previous photos]. It gives you a little more facial features. It gives you a little more information on what you're looking at, who the suspect might be. ... We feel that it is the same person."

July 2017

Anna Williams: “I think them putting out the best possible information is the right way to go – I don’t care how long it takes to get the person responsible as long as it is done the right way. That’s what we’re asking for is for people to keep praying and to keep believing that God’s got this.”

Becky Patty: “We were quite surprised how detailed this picture was. It looks like a picture I’m sure there’s enough for somebody to identify this guy.”

Mike Patty: “This is another piece to the puzzle that has helped bring this together and we want it to be spread far and wide. Somebody out there should aid in bringing the person responsible for this to justice.”

Sgt. Tony Slocum: "If the public observes officers working on this case, they are asked not to jump to conclusions, nor identify a person as a suspect without facts to back up the claims. It is not fair to that person."

August 2017

ISP Supt. Carter: “The murderer is still out there and someone knows who he is. We want to keep this in the forefront of Delphi, Carroll County, Indiana and all of the Midwest. One day this killer will be brought to justice. He just doesn't know when."

September 2017

Indiana State Police: "We are aware of the arrest of the person in Colorado and are investigating to see if he could be a suspect in the Delphi double murder investigation. Please keep in mind the Indiana State Police has received more than a thousand photos of persons alleged to be similar in appearance to the composite sketch of the Delphi person of interest. Each and every one of these tips is investigated for any potential connection to our case."

Indiana State Police: “We will give the same attention to the person arrested in Colorado, but right now there is nothing that definitively connects this person to our investigation. If that should change - with this tip, or any other tip - rest assured we would be sharing such news with all media sources."

Sgt. Kim Riley: “This is not something that is just done this one time, it’s been done over and over. We’ve had some Kokomo incidents, we’ve had some Logansport incidents, Lafayette Police Department. We’ve had out of state departments contact us.”

November 2017

 

December 2017

 

Anna Williams: “It’s been hard, we had a conversation a few weeks ago about whether or not we were going to put a tree up at home… She’s still here, she’s still with us.”

January 2018

 

February 2018

Supt. Doug Carter: “I’ve said all along, as long as I’m in this role and breathing, we’re not leaving the City of Delphi in Carroll County, Indiana, we’re just. And if we get to the point where we have exhausted the leads that we currently have in the queue then we’re going to start all over again.”

Clif Williams (Abby’s Grandpa): “To lose her was not even on the radar. You never thought of anything like that and now to have this happen, I still don’t know how to live without her.”

ABBY | Grandpa Clif on life without his best friend 

Clif Williams: “I learned early on when I was processing this that I can’t wait for him to get caught to feel better because that's never going to happen. My heart’s broken and if they catch him tomorrow, my heart’s still broken. If he’s off the street he’s not going to do this to someone else’s family – but I can’t wait for that to happen.” 

Carrie Timmons (Libby’s Mom): “I have a hard time believing that it’s been a year but there are times when it almost seems like it’s been forever since I saw her face. Time certainly hasn’t changed anything. They say time heals all wounds but honestly, I think it gets worse. You just learn a new normal, that’s it.”

 
 

Kelsi German (Libby’s older sister): “This year has been a year about Libby. I’ve been doing everything I can to make Libby proud… Living the life she deserved to live. When I swim, I swim every stroke for my sister.”

Todd Ladd (Delphi Pastor): “We have to be able to live where justice will occur on this side of the grave or the other side of eternity. But what I’m a firm believer is that justice will occur. I just don’t know when that will happen… The evil that was done is indescribable but the good that we see in this community is equally indescribable.”

Trish Mendel (Hometown Shirts and Graphix): “The girls are on everyone’s minds. We wake up thinking about them and go to bed thinking about them. For me and many others we hope they find the person who did this to give the Patty’s and Anna peace of mind and closure.”

LIBBY | Libby's older sister is swimming for her | Libby's mother describes their last conversation

Becky Patty: “The girls don’t get to make their mark on the world so it’s up to us to make that mark for them.” 

Mike Patty: “Time has stopped for us.” 

Anna Williams: “There are still days it’s very fresh that she’s just in the next room, she’s just at school... the bus,” said Anna Williams. “There’s a lot of moments every day that it hits you somewhere that this is real, but it’s still every day.”