On the morning of February 13th, 2017, Liberty German and Abigail Williams wake up at Libby’s grandparents home the morning after a sleepover. The two are absolutely inseparable best friends, a bond that is very close and special to all those who have witnessed it.
Liberty goes by Libby to her family and friends. She’s 14, adventurous and intelligent. Her sister describes Libby as an investigative person- she says “she always had to ask questions and find out more about something.”
13 year old Abigail goes by Abby, and she’s described as kind and joyful, with a passion for absolutely anything. Her mom Anna says she “loved people, loved pets, loved art, loved music, and tried anything under the sun at least once”
The girls have grown up as classmates and are in 8th grade together at the Delphi Community Middle School. They have a special day off from school this day in their little town of Delphi Indiana because the district had not used up all of its built in snow days, and is giving the kids a day off with what is called a “give back day.” It is unseasonably warm this day, close to 60, so the girls decide to do exactly what their families were hoping they’d do, get off the screens and get some time outdoors in the fresh air.
Libby’s sister Kelsi drops the girls off at the parking area for a trailhead for the Mary Gerard Nature Preserve at around 1:30 pm that afternoon. The girls plan is to walk southeast along the old out of use rail trail onto the Monon High Bridge that goes about 60 feet above Deer Creek. They made plans to be picked up by Libby’s dad around 3pm and set out. At 2:07pm Libby takes a photo on social media of her best friend Abby stepping board by board across the tall train bridge. That was the last anyone would see of the girls.
At 3:11, Libby’s father called to say that he was close and to get ready for him. There was no answer. He tried again, even walking a ways onto the trail to call for them. Naturally he’d assumed they had lost track of time, and he collects his parents (whom they live with) to help him search. They call Abby’s parents who think “oh boy, those girls are grounded for this!” and join in looking for them. By 5pm as it begins to get darker and colder, everyone realizes this out of character behavior from their girls is cause for alarm, and Libby’s grandfather Mike calls the Sheriff at 5:30pm.
In a close community like Delphi, word spreads quickly that there are two missing teenagers lost in the woods, and what seems like the whole town shows up that night to help look. Search teams of volunteers are each paired up with a leader from the fire or police department and everyone combs the areas on and off the trail looking for signs of the girls- maybe one of them had fallen and gotten hurt, and the other didn’t want to leave her alone? Surely they will be found quickly.
As the evening progresses, the eerie fear grows harder to shake for the families who know just how frightened Libby is of the dark. Abby’s mom Anna says “That worried me, because I knew then that the odds of them just being out screwing around were not good.”
When there is still no sight or sign of the girls by midnight, official search teams take a pause. They still think the girls will turn up any minute- hey the late movie is about to be over, maybe you’ll find them at home and in trouble for simply breaking some rules. The locals would not give up though, with dozens of people staying to search through the night. Anna recalls around 2am having to head back to the car when she realizes people are looking in the water, and she refuses to search for bodies- still convinced she’d just be grounding her daughter.
The next morning the search quickly resumes in a well organized effort with multiple agencies on board, prepared to find those missing kids. The effort is urgent, especially since they must have spent the night alone outdoors, and the whole community converges in hopes of finding them safely. Kelsi, Libby’s sister is out with a group of volunteers searching under the railroad bridge when she hears someone yell out a question about what the girls were wearing. 24 hours after they’d set out for an adventure, the bodies of Abigail Williams and Liberty German were found along Deer Creek less than a mile from where they had been safely dropped off.
While the families are consumed in their grief, the search and rescue efforts rapidly shift gears into an investigation. Autopsies are done and evidence is collected, though the police hold back all of those details. They do confirm everyone’s worst fears very quickly: This is now a double homicide investigation.
Immediately the Indiana State Police hold a press conference calling for anyone who was on the trail that day to come forward with what they saw or photographed. Along with that announcement, they released a photo from Libby’s phone of a man walking on the bridge toward the girls. Libby’s grandfather believes that the girls were snapping the images of him because they knew something wasn’t right. State police hope the photo will bring him forward- If he sees a photo of himself on the news and has no involvement, certainly he’d be eager to clear it up and share any info he had. But the photo release surprisingly reveals nothing. Meanwhile the whole community mourns the loss of these joyful, fun loving girls. Anger is boiling under the surface. The whole town feels victimized. Anna herself says “This doesn’t happen in Delphi” and historically speaking, she’s not wrong. The country gains word of the story, and everyone everywhere is now invested in the tragic and scary case of the girls from Delphi. If this could happen in a small town to someone else’s kids, could it happen here, to mine?
On February 22nd, Indiana State Police along with the Mayor, the prosecutor, the sheriff, the police chief, the state police superintendent, FBI agents, and the chief public information officer hold a press conference to update the nation on the status of the case. During this conference, they announced that the man on the bridge is officially a suspect and asked for the public’s help. Listen now to the Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglass Carter speak about how personal this is for all of them while he describes the investigation and the suspect.
You can also hear Greg Massa, Assistant Special Agent in charge for the FBI shares some new updates from the BAU for the public at this press conference, and Captain Dave Bursten, chief public information officer to the ISP shares an audio clip from Libby’s cell phone here:
According to an interview with Abby’s mom for Investigation Discovery, the image of the man appears to have been taken from the far end of the bridge with the girls being around 40 feet away from the man. She says they’d have had no choice but to wait for him to cross near them to the side before they could pass to get back to the parking lot for their 3:15pm pickup. She also points out the scary reminder that the girls wouldn’t have been able to run across that bridge due to the large gaps between railroad ties and the huge fall. If this suspect is indeed the person who hurt the girls, they were sitting ducks with no opportunity to escape him. “Down the hill” would have taken the girls away from that bridge they needed to cross, and down toward Deer Creek which is exactly where their bodies had been found. She does tell ID that she was given access to a little bit more of that tape from Libby’s phone, in which she reveals that Libby tells the man the path ends here and they can’t go any further. Heartbreaking and haunting last words for their families to have to live with.
From here on out, the FBI takes over the tip line and the reward for information skyrockets. Billboards are put up all across the country and the community installs orange lights on their porches to honor the girls by Lighting up Delphi, something I hear can still be seen on many homes to this day. On March 9th 2017, Mike Patty- Libby’s grandfather speaks publicly for the first time on behalf of both families:
Though the FBI is overwhelmed with tips, nothing solid comes of the suspect profile for months, so investigators go back to the drawing board, literally. According to local station Call 6 News, ISP says they received new information and were able to release a new artist rendering of the suspect in the hopes that this would reinvigorate the public’s attention on that man.
And it does kind of work… a couple potential persons of interest that we know of are investigated in the year following the girls murders. In September of 2017 Investigators fly out to Colorado to interview a man named Daniel Nations who had been arrested for threatening hikers with a hatchet on a trail where someone had been shot and killed just two weeks prior. He had spent time living in Indiana, I’m not sure when or how long, but at this point he is extradited back to Indiana on warrants for unrelated charges, in part because he failed to register as a sex offender. The startling thing for me is how much he looks like the artist’s sketch of the suspect. Even his own wife publicly agreed that they look a lot alike! Both deny his involvement vehemently though, and by the one year anniversary of the double homicide, police announce that he’s no longer being looked at with interest.
In 2019, the investigative team hosts a new press conference in order to unveil a new sketch and some additional sound to the audio recording. Take a listen to ISP Superintendent Douglass Carter again here:
So a lot of new but also not new information comes out this day. Firstly, police release a clip of the video from Libby’s phone in which they previously got that still shot of the man in the hat. They also release a little bit more of the audio at this point, adding “guys” to the previously released “down the hill”
Perhaps most importantly though is the new sketch, which police say comes from new information, and makes the previous sketch, in their words “secondary.” They also say his age could be anywhere from 18-40 but they believe he has a youthful appearance. They also reveal that they believe he’s likely a part of the Delphi community, whether he’s a resident, works there, or is connected in some other way. The car that Superintendent Carter mentions early on in that clip was found abandoned on the side of the highway the day of the murders.
Late in 2021 police announce that during their investigation into Abby and Libby’s murders, they’d discovered a fake snapchat profile going by the username “anothony_shots” who allegedly used photos of a male model to solicit underage girls into sending nude photos or even meeting. Again they ask for the public’s help in identifying any information about that profile and according to some heavily redacted court documents, it looks like that profile has been officially tied to a 27 year old man named Kegan Anthony Kline who was charged with 30 felonies, including possession of child porn, child exploitation, obstruction of justice, child solicitation, and synthetic identity deception. There are transcripts and rumors and lots of questionable things regarding this person floating around the internet, so until the Indiana State Police make any kind of official comments there is nothing concrete connecting him to the murders of Abby and Libby.
As of today, 5 years after their tragic deaths, there is still no answer to the question of who killed Abby and Libby. The investigators have been very up front that they are NOT releasing most of the information to the public because of the ongoing nature of the investigation. When we catch him, we want to be able to prosecute him. This includes the cause and manner of death, time of death, and any evidence collected on the scene.
Before I leave you with a call to action, I want to remind you again to be careful of speculation versus confirmed information. This case is huge on reddit and webslueths, and people have been comparing everyone and their brother to those sketches- some very publicly and by name. I’m also horrified by the people who want to daydream, imagine, recount and describe what could have happened to those girls to cause their death. It has not been released, and we will not speculate on that here. It serves no beneficial purpose from my point of view, and we won’t engage in that. If you choose to go down the rabbit hole on your own with this investigation, please use a very discerning eye and ear. Remember that her family or even the killer could be watching and reading anything you say.
For Abby’s mom Anna, the pain of her loss is all too real. She says “It’s not even so much about what I’m missing right now, it’s about what I’m going to miss the rest of her life” For Libby’s grandfather Mike, his grief is what propels him forward as he says “I’ll continue to fight until I’m not longer able to, until I’m no longer on this earth”
Please take a look at our website or any of the sources we linked for you on our website to find the information we discussed in tonight’s episode. We will put up photos, youtube links to press conferences, as well as the sketches. There’s a hefty reward for information leading to an arrest, but that’s not why we do this. Tonight please take just one minute for Libby and her best friend Abby. Take just one minute and see if you recognize the man responsible for taking two little lights from this world.
If you have any information about the murders of Abigail Williams and Liberty German, or any tips regarding someone you think fits the description of the suspect, or any information about the @anthony_shots profile please contact the FBI or the Indiana state police at Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Or Tip Line: (765) 822-3535