The Delphi Murders
Delphi is a small city of approximately 3,000 residents located in Caroll County, Indiana. A small town where locals said they knew all of their neighbours, and frequently went to bed leaving their doors unlocked. One of Delphi’s best known landmarks are the Delphi Historic Trails which comprises of 10 miles of trails, with routes running through Wabash River and the Wabash and Eerie Canal.
The Monon High Bridge is part of the Delphi Historic Trails. It was built as part of the railway line constructed in the late 1800s, and is 1.5 miles long. The Monon High Bridge sits almost 60 feet above Deer Creek. Since the 1980s when the last train crossed the Monon High Bridge, it has been left to fall into a state of disrepair. Despite the poor state of the bridge, it has become a popular spot for photographers, hunters and fearless teenagers alike. The bridge is mostly frequented by locals who are well equipped to navigate the difficult terrain, but it has also become popular with tourists. The wood comprising the bridge has began to rot significantly, making the journey across treacherous and uncertain. Despite the danger, the bridge is frequented on a daily basis.
13th February 2017
On Monday 13th February 2017, schools in Delphi were off for a ‘snow day’ which was regulation regardless of the fact that it was a warm day for late winter. On this day, best friends Abigail ‘Abby’ Williams, aged 13, and Liberty ‘Libby’ German, aged 14, decided it was perfect weather to go hiking on the Monon High Bridge and take some photographs.
Libby's older sister Kelsi drove the girls to the trail at approximately 1.30pm on Monday 13th February 2017. After the girls left the car, Kelsi watched them walk away until they were no longer visible before she dropped off. She had no idea it would be the last time she would see either of them alive. Kelsi believes this was at approximately 1.39pm.
It is known that the girls walked towards the Monon High Bridge, and sometime between 1.45pm and 2.07pm, Libby posted a photograph on her Snapchat account of a cautious Abby, who is carefully looking where she places her feet on the rotten boards of the bridge. From this photo, it was confirmed that the girls were walking towards the Southern side of the bridge. This photo can be viewed below - although the photo shows 2.07pm in the top right hand corner, it is to be noted that this is not the time the photo was taken by Libby, but when it was screenshotted by a friend of hers on Snapchat. Although Libby had crossed the bridge many times, it was Abby’s first time and she was right to be cautious. Libby also posted a photograph showing how far the girls still had to cross. In both photos, no one can be seen in the background.
At around 3.11pm, Libby’s father Derrick called her phone to let her know that he was there to pick the girls up. Libby doesn’t answer the phone. He calls again at 3.13pm, and when this call also goes unanswered, he sends her a text. At around 3.20pm Derrick is walking the 505 trail while looking for the girls. This trail does not lead to the Monon High Bridge. He tries her phone again at 3.32pm. At 3.33pm, Derrick had returned to his car and called Becky Patty, Libby’s grandmother to say that he had not picked up the girls and that Libby was not answering her phone. After this call he rings his sister Tara asking if she had heard from Libby.
By 5pm the girls are still unable to be located, and Libby’s phone is no longer ringing but going straight to voicemail. Mike Patty, Libby’s grandfather reports the girls as missing to the police. By 6pm a search effort involving law enforcement and volunteers are searching for the girls. Due to it being mid February, the sunset was around 6.20pm. The search is called over around 11.45pm due to the night sky and the treacherous terrain making all search efforts increasingly difficult. At this stage law enforcement stated they did not have any reason to believe the girls were in immediate danger, and had maybe met up with friends.
The searchers arrived at the trail at 8.15am on Tuesday 14th February 2017, and the search for the girls recommenced at around 9am with the K9 unit and divers. The search continued until around noon, when a searcher announced that he had found a shoe. Kelsi was in this group, and immediately asked what kind of shoe it was. When the searcher responded that it was a black nike, Kelsi confirmed this was the type of shoes Libby was wearing the day before. A few minutes later, the bodies of the girls were found on the outskirts of a property situated on the north side of Deer Creek. During a press conference at around 2pm, law enforcement confirmed the discovery of two bodies but did not confirm the identities ahead of the autopsy scheduled for 8am the following morning. Law enforcement did release however that they believed foul play was involved.
The next morning on Wednesday 15th February 2017, it was confirmed that the bodies were those of Abby and Libby. To this date, we do not know how the girls died as the autopsy results have been sealed. This is not unusual - in many open cases law enforcement choose not to release information about the cause of death and/or the circumstances in which the bodies are found, as this is often information that only the killer will know. By releasing such sensitive information to the public, this can have a detrimental impact on a potential trial. At 7pm that evening, Indiana State Police released a photograph of a man who was reportedly seen around the trail during the time the girls were last seen. In this image, the man can be seen walking towards the South side of the Monon High Bridge, with his hands in his pockets. The man has been nicknamed as ‘Bridge Guy’,. At this stage of the investigation, the police announce that they want to speak with this man, and anyone else who was present on the trail around the time the girls were there. Law enforcement did not state that BG was a suspect, only that they wanted to speak with him at this time.
On Thursday 16th February 2017, a tip line was set up for people to provide any information they had about the case. It was not until Sunday that police released that BG was now a suspect in the case. The next crucial piece of information in the case was revealed during a press conference on Wednesday 22 February 2017 - that Libby recorded audio and video footage of the man law enforcement believe to be the suspect. This video, and the photos Libby posted of Abby on Snapchat are the reason why this double homicide has been dubbed the ‘Snapchat Murders’.
Libby recorded audio of a man, believed to be the man on the bridge saying ‘Down the Hill’. Law Enforcement released this information in 2017, however at a press conference years later, it was revealed that Libby had also captured audio recording of alleged the same man also saying ‘Guys’. The recordings were played together for the first time, to form a sentence; ‘Guys…..down the hill’. It has not been confirmed however that ‘guys’ was said at the same time, and upon listening to the recording it appears there is some static between the words - although it is possible that this is from law enforcement piecing together poor audio quality.
You can listen to the audio recording at delphi.htm
To date, there has only been one Person of Interest named in this case - a man called Daniel Nations. He was arrested on September 25th, 2017 in Colorado for wielding a hatchet and threatening people on trails. However, law enforcement decided they could not connect him with the case nor rule him out, so he has remained a Person of Interest.
On 22 April 2019, after no new leads, law enforcement announced that they were going in a new direction and released an updated sketch. This sketch broadens the age range of the suspect to between 18 and 40.
Theories - this is complete speculation based on what I have read and there is no factual evidence to corroborate it.
Based on the evidence which is available to the public, I believe that the BG was actually in the woods beyond the Creek whilst the girls were crossing the bridge above Deer Creek. In the photo of Abby which Libby posted on Snapchat, the girls have crossed the Deer Creek as it can be seen behind Abby. As there is no one seen behind Abby in the photo of her, or in the photo Libby posted in the other direction of the bridge, it seems most plausible that BG had reached the end of the bridge, waited until the girls were across Deer Creek, and knowing they would have no where to go, he got back on the bridge and proceeded to walk towards the start of the trail. However, I believe that he then turned around and followed the girls. An analysis of the video of BG shows that he approached the girls at approximately 2.20pm, given the shadow on the bridge created by the sun. Given the length of the bridge and the time it would take one to cross it, it seems only plausible that the perpetrator was waiting in the surrounding woods for the girls to walk towards the end of the bridge before he got on it and approached them, knowing that the trail ends there.
There has been much speculation online that the video which was released by law enforcement was only part of the video/audio which Libby recorded against the suspect. Personally, when I listen to the audio released by the police, I think that the ‘guys’ was not originally said before ‘down the hill’. The intonation of the voice is completely different which makes me believe that it is taken from a different sentence. Many people believe that law enforcement have obtained more audio footage from Libby’’s phone which has not been released to the public. It is of course plausible that Libby recorded further footage of BG, however I do not believe that if this information were to be released that it would be of any assistance to the investigation. It is possible that the footage could contain some upsetting audio for example, which would only serve to cause distress by releasing it.
I think one element of this case which has gained it so much interest is the fact that BG was able to murder both girls. Research shows that it is inherently difficult to kill two victims at once. Regardless of the fact they were young girls and likely much smaller than him, it is difficult to gain the control needed over both individuals to kill one and then the other. The presumption would be that the girls were restrained in some way meaning that they were unable to escape. There has been many reports that the crime scene was disturbing and gruesome. This could be because the victims were children, but many have speculated that there was something odd about the crime scene. Indeed, an FBI agent (Robert Ives) on the Down The Hill podcast stated that there were approximately three signatures at the crime scene. There has also been much attached to the fact that Libby’s father stated the girls died as heroes, and that they never would have left each other. Despite the difficulty of murdering two girls at one time, I do believe BG killed Abby and Libby alone.
It has been noted that as Delphi is such a small town of approximately 3,000 someone would have recognised BG from the sketch, image or audio recording of his voice, and that makes him unlikely to be from the area. Although I don’t necessarily believe he was from the town of Delphi, I do believe he knew the area well enough to confidently cross the bridge. Also, I think he may have had knowledge that the local school was off on a snow day on 13th February 2017.
What do you guys think? Let me know in the comment section below.
IF YOU RECOGNISE THE STILL IMAGE CAPTURED FROM THE VIDEO FOOTAGE, THE VOICE IN THE AUDIO OR THE UPDATED SKETCH, PLEASE CALL THE DELPHI HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION TIP LINE ANONYMOUSLY AT: (844) 459-5786
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