MYSTERY continues to surround the so-called Delphi Snapchat murders, nearly five years on from the killings of two teenage girls in Indiana who were found dead near a train track back in 2017.
The bodies of Abby Williams, 13, and her best friend Libby German, 14, were discovered near a river a short distance away from the Monon High Bridge Trail in Delphi, on February 14, 2017.
They were reported missing a day earlier shortly after Libby posted a final image to Snapchat of Abby, showing her traversing the tracks of the bridge trail.
Few updates have also been shared by police in the more than four years since.
CAUSE OF DEATHS UNCLEAR
The girls' causes of death have never been disclosed and their killer has never been found.
Indiana State Police previously said that autopsies were carried out on the two girls but officials declined to disclose a cause or time of death for either girl, and refused to confirm whether DNA evidence was recovered from the scene.
Sgt. Jerry Holeman told A&E True Crime back in February that it's standard practice for his investigators to remain mum on such key details during ongoing investigations – particularly those that are considered high-profile.
"Speaking on behalf of state police, we don’t ever release information about ongoing investigations,” Holeman said.
“In this case, we gave out audio and photo evidence from [German’s] video to help locate [the perpetrator]. We do that so when we get key evidence, only the killer or killers know the cause of death.
"We don’t release it to the media because then everyone and their brother would know, and it’s common to get false confessions from mentally disturbed people. So we’re trying to keep the details close to our vests.”
Law enforcement's relative radio silence over the probe has permitted a swell of speculation to mount online – something Holeman acknowledged.
“There’s a lot of false information out there,” he conceded. “Social media, although not new… does impede our investigation. Like when people put up side-by-side photos of innocent people—or, at least, people with no ties to the state of Indiana or Delphi—which creates false [information]. People believe it [though] because it’s on the internet.”
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Some armchair detectives have even gone as far as attempting to reconstruct the murders in elaborate YouTube videos.
“[The videos] help us know that people don’t know [the true details], because the facts haven’t been released,” Holeman said.
“People watch the news and think they are picking up on things, but it’s false. Nothing out there is accurate, which only leads to more false tips.”
KEY CLIP AND AUDIO
One potential key piece of evidence in the case was released by police within days of the killings, showing two grainy photos of a hat-wearing suspect walking on the abandoned railroad bridge the girls had visited.
They also released an audio recording of a man believed to be the suspect instructing the girls to go “down the hill.”
The audio was part of a video file taken from Liberty's cell phone shortly before her death.
Liberty has previously been heralded a "hero" by investigators for her quick-thinking actions, with cops citing the recording to be a key shred of evidence.
"That young lady is a hero, that is no doubt,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocom said at the time.
"To have enough presence of mind to activate the video system on her cell phone to record what we believe is criminal behavior about to occur, there is no doubt in our mind that she is a hero."
The full video was released by police two years later, though still it garnered no concrete leads.
Detectives are hoping the audio will help them match the man's voice to a suspect once one has been identified.
'KILLER IN THE ROOM'
More than two years after the audio clip was released, Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter held a press conference to unveil a new composite sketch of the suspected killer.
During the conference, Carter said police believe the killer has local ties and shockingly claimed that the killer could even be sat in the room with them.
"Directly to the killer, who may be in this room: We believe you’re hiding in plain sight," Carter said. "We've likely interviewed you or someone close to you."
Carter added that investigators believe the suspect was between 18 and 40 years old, but likely looks much younger than his age.
"We also believe this person is from Delphi — currently or has previously lived here, visits Delphi on a regular basis or works here," Carter said.
He did not take answers during or after the press conference, however his remarks at the time seemed to indicate that cops believed they were close to zeroing in on the suspect.
"We are confident you have told someone what you have done. Or at the very least, they know because of how different you are since the murders," he said.
CONVICTED PEDOPHILE LINKED
James Brian Chadwell II, who pleaded guilty to abducting, beating, and molesting a nine-year-old girl in April, was identified as a potentail suspect earlier this year.
Chadwell, of Lafayette, was investigated in connection to the crime shortly after his arrest.
"The information has obviously been shared with us, and our investigators are looking into him," Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby said of Chadwell's case.
He did not elaborate on any details about the investigation into Chadwell. No updates have been issued since.
Chadwell is not the first person accused of an abduction crime who has been investigated as a person of interest in the Delphi murders. None of the other people of interest turned out to be a suspect.
Leazenby later announced they were imposing a media blackout on possible suspects in the killings of Libby and Abby moving forward.
MALE MODEL CATFISH
A rare development in the case was shared by cops earlier this week when they announced they were hunting for the creator of a bogus social media profile that was grooming underage girls and attempting to meet with them.
The profile, called anthony_shots, was active between 2016 and 2017 across a number of social media platforms, including Instagram and Snapchat, police said.
The bogus account used images of a known male model and portrayed himself as being extremely wealthy and owning multiple sports cars.
In a news release, the Indiana State Police said the creator of the profile used their contrived opulence while communicating with underage girls to "solicit nude images, obtain their addresses, and attempt to meet them."
The identity of the male model used by the account in its profile pictures is known by investigators and they are not considered a person of interest in the case.
The model's images were reportedly used without their knowledge or consent.
On Tuesday afternoon, Kegan Anthony Kline, 27, was identified as the man behind the account.
Klein, who is currently in police custody, was charged in August 2020 with 30 felonies, including child exploitation, possession of child pornography, obstruction of justice, and synthetic identity deception.
Police documents seen by The Sun, which are heavily redacted, do not make any mention of the Delphi case but do link him to the anthony_shots social media account.
The charges stem from a search of his Peru, Indiana home on February 25, 2017 – just 11 days after the bodies of Liberty and Abby were found.
Kline reportedly admitted to police that he'd use the bogus accounts to talk to underage girls, contacting both people he knew and didn’t know.
He told police he would find girls on Instagram and then ask them to talk to him on Snapchat.
According to Kline, he exchanged messages with more than a dozen underage girls and received pictures from them. Kline said he had about 100 pictures from underage girls that were sexual in nature, in addition to about 20 sexually explicit videos.
Police did not elaborate as to specifically why police believe the account may be tied to the murders of Abby and Liberty.
It's currently unclear whether police believe the two girls met with the creator of the account.
It's unclear now whether Kline is being investigated as a suspect in the case.
As her family grew frustrated with the lack of developments in the case, Liberty's older sister Kelsi German revealed in February 2020 that she is studying forensic science in the hope of one-day helping to solve who killed her sister.
"I run through that day every day, trying to find out if there is something I could have done differently," Kelsi said.
The bereaved older sister said she has also listened to the audio clip captured by Liberty "about a million times."
"I think the voice is just so familiar to all of us," she said. "After we heard that he was local, it became more of an idea that I might have talked to him. Maybe I met him at Dairy Queen or the gas station."
While the suspect remains at large, Kelsi said at the time that she was confident in law enforcement's ability to achieve justice for Liberty.
"After I started my forensics classes, I understood more of why we don't have all the answers," Kelsi said.
"'Everybody sees a person differently. If I were to tell you the person I was sitting next to on the bus on the way here, I would probably tell you their nose was small and their eyes were blue. But, I couldn't tell you much more than that. I think the best bet is to keep watching the video and listening to the audio.
"I don't want this person to do this again, and if he has, I hope that I'm able to help that family and be a part of their lives eventually," Kelsi said.
"Catching this guy is my main goal in life right now."
Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to send tips to this email address: [email protected]
Information sent by email is kept confidential and is only shared with investigators. The telephone Tip Line is (844) 459-5786.
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