DREAD: THE UNSOLVED Delves Into the Delphi Murders
Jan's Holstrom examines the case of Abigail Williams and Liberty German, also known as "The Delphi Murders"
February 13th, 2017: 13-year-old Abigail Williams and 14-year-old Liberty German – known to their family and friends as Abby and Libby – were two carefree teens. They were enjoying a hike through the woodlands of Deer Creek Township in Delphi, Indiana. As they walked over the Monon High Bridge over Deer Creek, Libby stopped to take a picture of Abby as she walked across the abandoned and damaged bridge.
This was the last anyone would hear from Abigail and Liberty. Welcome, to Dread: The Unsolved.
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Libby’s grandfather was supposed to meet the girls at 3:15 p.m. When they were a no-show, the families of the girls began a search of the area. After a short search, the decision was made to contact law enforcement. The police arrived and searched the area. No trace of Libby or Abby was found. Police were optimistic and maintained that there was no foul play involved in the disappearance. Teen girls wander, and the hope was that they would return soon.
Valentine’s Day, 2017: Abigail Williams and Liberty German’s bodies were found half a mile from the bridge where their last photo was taken. The details of how they were murdered have not been released by authorities. The girl’s phones were still with them. What was found on the phones would spark a manhunt that continues to this day.
February 15th, 2017: A quick-thinking Libby seemingly snapped this photo. It shows a man, head down, walking towards the girls. Is this a photo of their killer? Many think so.
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February 22nd, 2017: Police release a voice recording of the suspect, taken from Liberty’s phone.
During a news conference, Liberty is lauded for having the foresight to record the interaction with their killer. Police revealed that they had more evidence from the phone, but couldn’t release it without jeopardizing their case moving forward.
July 17th, 2017: Police release a composite sketch of the suspect in the murders. This sketch is based on descriptions given by witnesses who were on the same trails as the girls the day they disappeared. The sketch shows a man in his late 30’s or early 40’s with a stocky build. This lines up with the photos pulled from Libby’s phone
September 2017 Woodland Park, Colorado: Daniel Nations is arrested for terrorizing hikers with a hatchet. Police notice he has expired Indiana plates on his vehicle. Their curiosity piqued, they find that Nations has an outstanding warrant in Indiana for failing to register as a sex offender. In January of 2018, after being sentenced to probation for his crime in Colorado, he is transported to Indiana on his outstanding warrant. Police noticed that Nations bore a striking resemblance to the sketch they had released.
Nations is currently the only named person of interested in the case. Shortly after he’s extradited to Indiana, Indiana State Police have not cleared Nations, but declare, “He’s not someone we care a whole lot about at this time”.
April 22, 2019: Over two years after the murders, police seem to be no closer to finding the killer. A news conference is held, with new information. A new sketch [below] is released of the killer. Police reveal that this sketch, released more than two years after the murders, is actually the first sketch they had drawn up of the killer.
“During the course of this investigation, we have concluded the first sketch released will become secondary, as of today. The result of the new information and intelligence over time leads us to believe the sketch, which you will see shortly, IS the person responsible for the murders of these two little girls. We also believe this person is from Delphi- currently, or has previously lived here, visits Delphi on a regular basis, or works here.”
This sketch is radically different from the original sketch. Police place him between 18 and 40 years old and claim that he may look far younger than he actually is. They also release a new, extended audio clip. The clip seems to have two voices, but Indiana State Police insist that it’s just one person.
“Please keep in mind that the person talking is one person and is the person on the bridge with the girls. This is not two people speaking. Please listen to it very, very carefully”.
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At the same conference, the first video of the suspect is released. This is the video that the still photos were taken from. It shows a man, walking along the bridge behind Abby and Libby.
“When you see the video, watch the person’s mannerisms as they walk. Do you recognize the mannerisms as being someone that you might know?
The man has a kind of stilted walk. Police say that this is due to the unevenness of the bridge. The deterioration has caused issues with the spacing between the ties.
Police believed that the suspect had forced the girls down the hill near the bridge, and murdered them. Police have his voice. They have his picture. They have a video of him. How has he not been caught? One investigator has revealed that the killer left several strange signatures at the site. Due to the secrecy of the case in general, these signatures have not been released to the public. Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter, who is leading the case, recently told a podcast that the command “down the hill” was the voice of the devil, coming through the killer.
This case is confusing in a lot of ways. While we have video and audio, the police have actually released very little information about the case. The cause of death is unknown. Only one suspect has been named. The police sat on the first sketch for over 2 years, releasing a sketch they knew was not accurate in the interim. What’s going on in Indiana?
Theories are everywhere. The DelphiMurders subreddit is host to almost 48,000 members, and theories are readily traded back and forth. With the lack of solid information from the police, the community around the murders is rife with conspiracy theories. What kind of games are the police playing with this killer? Many statements made reference to the killer being “there” or “watching”, and even once, “Directly to the killer, who may be in this room”.
April 19, 2021: A new lead has recently opened in the case. James Brian Chadwell II, of Lafayatte, Indiana – Just 15 miles from where the girls were found – was arrested after a missing 9-year-old was found injured in his basement. Police have said there are several factors causing them to look at him as a suspect in the murders.
Numerous astute observers have noticed similarities between Liberty German and an absolutely chilling tattoo on Chadwell’s arm. While he’s sitting in jail, the investigation continues…
So what do you think? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @DreadUnsolved, Instagram at @DreadTheUnsolved, and Facebook at Dread The Unsolved. You can send me tips any time via email at TheUnsolved@DreadCentral.com.
Thanks for watching.