INDIANAPOLIS - It's been more than two years since the Delphi murders, when the bodies of Indiana teens Liberty German, 14, and Abigail Williams, 13, were discovered near a wooded creek.
The deaths of Abby and Libby horrified people in Indiana and around the world. They were shocked and heartbroken when the girls' bodies were found by a search party in the woods just east of Delphi on Feb. 14, 2017. Since then, people have been transfixed by the case, following the latest news and hoping for any sign of an arrest. The emotional toll on the Delphi community has been overwhelming.
But, so far, no arrests have been made.
Delphi murders: Police release video of suspect in teens' murders in 2017
Here's what we know now about the case.
How the slayings happened
Abby and Libby vanished on Feb. 13, 2017, when they were dropped off at about 1 p.m. on a day off from school, to go walking along the Delphi Historic Trails in Carroll County. They had planned to meet up with a family member later in the day.
The two eighth-graders posted several photos of themselves on Facebook, while crossing the scenic Monon High Bridge the afternoon they disappeared. Their bodies were found about 24 hours later near Deer Creek, a half mile east of the the bridge.
Autopsies were conducted, but neither the coroner, nor the Delphi Police, Carroll County Sheriff's Office, Indiana State Police or the FBI have released any significant details about how the teens died.
Key evidence in the case
There have been 30,000 leads in the case, with each one investigated by police, according to State Police Superintendent Doug Carter.
In a news conference at the Monon High Bridge trailhead, Carter said investigators still want to hear tips. However, he cautioned people not to post theories or photos on social media, because it could complicate efforts to solve the case.
Even though no arrests have been made, Carter said he believes "we're one piece of the puzzle away from figuring out who this individual is."
"Somebody out there knows who this person is," he said. "I don't think there's multiple pieces of the puzzle. ... I think there's one piece. And it's having one individual with the strength to say that was my brother, that's my dad, or that's my cousin, that's my neighbor, my co-worker. And I think we're one piece away — one piece."
So far, officials have released three key pieces of evidence in the case.
The photo: A grainy image of what police believe is a suspect in the slayings was captured by Libby on her smartphone, as he walked along the trail, head down, toward the girls. The suspect was wearing jeans, a blue jacket, a brown hoodie and a hat.
The audio: German also captured a snippet of audio on her phone of someone giving the command "Down the Hill" to the two teens. Police praised her for her foresight in capturing an image and voice that they could analyze in the search for the killer.
The sketch: A composite sketch by police of a man believed to be connected to the killings was drawn from eyewitness descriptions of the suspect seen walking along the trail the same day that Abby and Libby disappeared.
On April 22, police released a revised sketch of the suspect, this one without a beard. Police said the initial sketch would become "secondary."
The video: At the same April press conference, police released a video of the suspect walking on the railroad bridge. Indiana State Police noted that because of the condition of the bridge, the man is not walking normally.
DNA evidence also has been collected from the scene, said ISP First Sgt. Jerry Holeman, the investigative commander of the Lafayette District.
“At every crime scene, you are going to have DNA. We are still working on identifying all of the DNA that we have there,” Holeman said in August 2017.
Is there DNA linked to the killer?
Indiana State Police officials have not confirmed whether they have DNA samples that are directly tied to a possible suspect or suspects in the Delphi case.
However, a change in Indiana law this year might help in the case, because it now allows law-enforcement officials to collect DNA samples from anyone accused of a felony. Before the new law took effect on Jan. 1, police could collect DNA only if a person had been convicted of a crime.
There is also the possibility someday that a familial DNA search, one that looks for markers in DNA that might indicate a family member, could be employed in the search for Abby's and Libby's killer.
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Are there any suspects?
Tips flooded in after the case was featured on the "Dr. Phil Show" in December 2017. But no suspects have been identified or arrests made in the double homicide.
Police have said they are looking for a white man from 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-10 in height, weighing 180 to 200 pounds, with reddish-brown hair — with the description based on the image from Libby's phone.
Arrests of men bearing resemblances to the police sketch of the Delphi homicide suspect have caused stirs on social media and in news reports but have not, so far, led to an arrest in the Delphi slayings.
Most recently, the arrest of a Randolph County man on molestation charges on Jan. 8 prompted new speculation about the Delphi case.
The team of Delphi investigators acknowledged they received a flurry of calls connected to the arrest of Charles Andrew Eldridge, a 46-year-old Union City man. Eldridge is accused of communicating online with a person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl to arrange sex. He faces charges of attempted child molesting and child solicitation.
While law-enforcement officials don't reveal specific actions or steps in their ongoing Delphi investigation, they did say that they were aware of Eldridge's arrest and "will investigate to see if there could be any connection to the murders that occurred in Delphi," according to a news release Monday from the multi-agency team.
"Each tip — whether it receives media attention or not — is investigated for any connection to the Delphi case," the team said. However, it also acknowledged that "many similar tips and arrests of other persons alleged to be connected to the Delphi murders occur with some frequency in and outside of Indiana."
Daniel Nations, another person questioned by police in the Delphi case, has been described in the past as a "person of interest" but has not officially been named a suspect. There isn't enough evidence to change that, police have said.
How you can help
Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland said "all of the tips are greatly appreciated. … If you see something, say something."
He also said there are several factors that make for a good tip for police to pursue.
- Name of a suspect or person of interest.
- Personal identifiers, such as tattoos or birthmarks, as well as descriptions of a potential suspect's height, weight, hair color or eye color.
- Age or birthday.
- Last known address or places where he or she frequents.
- Possible motivation for the crime.
- Connection to the case or Delphi, Indiana.
Here's how you can submit a tip:
Tips: People with information can call the Delphi Homicide Investigation Tip Line — 844-459-5786 — or send an email or post information on a Facebook page was established by the Sheriff's Office at email@example.com. The State Police also have set up a page on the state government website — http://www.in.gov/isp/delphi.htm — that provides information about the case, including contact information for tips, a public service announcement from the State Police and a link to the "Down the Hill" recording. It includes the main tip number and other key numbers: the Indiana State Police at 800-382-7537 and the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department at 765-564-2413.
Reward: The police agencies involved announced a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the homicides of Abby and Libby. The reward has risen to $216,165, according to the state government page, which also includes information on how to donate.
Softball park: Both Abby and Libby were avid softball players. Donations may be made in their memory to the Libby and Abby Softball Park Fund, in care of the Carroll County Community Foundation, P.O. Box 538, Delphi, IN 46923. Or they can be made online at www.cfcarroll.org.
Contributing: Justin Mack and Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Starr; Ron Wilkins, Lafayette Journal and Courier; Douglas Walker, Muncie Star Press
Follow Dwight Adams on Twitter: @hdwightadams.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Delphi murders: Here's what we know about unsolved killings of two teen girls in Indiana