Police release audio recording of suspect in murder of Delphi teens; $50,000 reward offered

TIMELINE | Disappearance and deaths of Liberty German and Abigail Williams in Delphi

Photo of Abigail Williams and Liberty German

Photo of Abigail Williams and Liberty German

DELPHI, Ind. – The homicide case involving two Delphi teenagers has left the Carroll County community on edge as police search for a killer.

The investigation into the disappearance of 14-year-old Liberty German and 13-year-old Abigail Williams began around 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 13, when family members reported them missing.

A tip line has been set up for any information related to this case. All tipsters should call 844-459-5786. Information provided will be taken and followed up on by officers working the case. Tips can be submitted anonymously.

Here’s a timeline of the case as it has developed so far:

Monday, Feb. 13, 2017

1 p.m. A family member drops off the girls at a trail near Monon High Bridge, an abandoned railroad bridge over Deer Creek.

5:30 p.m. The girls fail to show up at a predetermined location to be picked up by a family member. They’re reported missing.

Monday night: A large search effort involving volunteers and multiple law enforcement agencies gets underway. They scour the area in an attempt to find Liberty and Abigail. The search is called off due to darkness.

12 a.m. Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby says in a news release that there is no reason to suspect foul play or to believe the girls are in immediate danger. The biggest concern is exposure to the elements.

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017 

Tuesday morning: The search resumes with teams of volunteers and police officers. The effort also includes K-9 units and dive teams.

Noon: Searchers find two bodies about a half-mile away from the bridge.

2 p.m. During a news conference, authorities announce the discovery of the bodies but give no indication of their identities. They say for the first time that “foul play” is suspected in connection with the case.

4 p.m. Delphi Community Schools Superintendent Gregory Briles releases a statement saying that the bodies found in the afternoon are those of two “missing Delphi Community Middle School students” despite no confirmation from police.

Briles says grief counselors will be made available to students and staff. Briles later says school security will be stepped up. All after school activities at Delphi Community Middle School are canceled for the remainder of the week.

7 p.m. The Delphi United Methodist Church opens for a vigil.

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017

8 a.m. Autopsies are conducted in Terre Haute on the bodies discovered during Tuesday’s search. Local authorities convene a meeting after the autopsies are complete.

10 a.m. Sgt. Kim Riley with Indiana State Police provides a brief update on the investigation. He says the autopsies are complete but declines to confirm the identities or discuss a suspect or person of interest in the case. He says police have received “hundreds of tips” from the community.

Riley advises parents to keep a close eye on their children and monitor their whereabouts.

3 p.m. Indiana State Police and the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department hold a news conference confirming that the bodies found Tuesday are those of Liberty and Abigail. They say the case is being investigated as a double homicide.

They say they don’t believe there’s any immediate danger to the community.

7 p.m. Indiana State Police release a photo of a man reportedly walking on the trail around the time of the girls’ disappearance. Police say they want to talk to the individual but stop short of calling him a suspect.

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Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017

6 p.m. Police set up a tip line for anyone with information in the case to call: 844-459-5786. They say they’ve had upwards of 250 tips so far.

6:45 p.m. Funeral arrangements set for 14-year-old Liberty “Libby” German.

7:45 p.m. Indiana State Police serve a search warrant in connection with the case at a home in Delphi. No arrests were made.

Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017

4 p.m. A public visitation for the girls is held at Delphi Community High School.

Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017

12:30 p.m. Indiana State Police say the man photographed walking along trail around the time the girls’ disappearance is a suspect in their deaths.

Monday, Feb. 20, 2017

Police say they’re conducting a statewide manhunt for the man seen in the photo and tell Hoosiers to continue to provide information via the hotline set up for tips in the case.

Carroll County Prosecutor Robert T. Ives cautions Delphi residents not to “harass, bother or accuse anyone,” especially those who live at a home that was the subject of a search warrant last week.

Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017

An official says the teens’ deaths could lead to security changes along the Monon High Bridge Trail. The changes could include the addition of security cameras.

Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017

10 a.m. Investigators hold a news conference to update status of investigation. Police reveal that Liberty German recorded video and audio of the suspect on her cell phone. ISP releases an audio recording of a man’s voice saying, “Down the hill.”

Authorities announce a $41,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the teens' killings.

Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017

12:45 p.m. Indiana State Police say they've received 3,900 tips in the case, with 1,900 of them coming after the release of the audio recording. A $9,000 donation from the office of U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita pushes the reward amount to $50,000.

4 p.m. Indiana State Police announce that the FBI has taken over the hotline for tips in the case.