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3 years unsolved: A look back at the Delphi murder case

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DELPHI, Ind. (WPTA21) - Two young victims. Zero suspects in custody.

That's where the investigation stands in the murders of Abby Williams and Libby German.

14-year-old Liberty German and 13-year-old Abigail Williams disappeared on Feb. 13, 2017, while hiking near their hometown of Delphi.

Volunteer searchers found their bodies the next day in a wooded area.

The search for their killer has evolved over the past three years, with police initially releasing a still image of the suspect and then an audio recording and a video of the suspect.

Police have also released two sketches of what they believe the suspect may look like.

Last year, Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said the investigation took a new turn.

His investigators believe the killer is hiding in plain sight and likely lives in Delphi.

"We have a witness. You made mistakes," Carter said.

"We are coming for you and there's no place for a heartless coward like you to hide that gets his thrill from killing little girls."

Over the years, police have received tens of thousands of tips.

The case even garnered national attention and was recently featured on a 2020 HLN podcast series.

ABC21 is taking a look back at the case and how the investigation has transformed.

TIMELINE OF THE CASE ( Details Provided by RTV6 )

Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 (The day Liberty "Libby" German and Abigail "Abby Williams went missing)

1:30 p.m. Family dropped off Abby and Libby at the hiking trail near the Monon High Bridge.

2:07 p.m. Libby posted a photo on her Snapchat depicting Abby walking across the old railroad bridge. This was the last anyone had seen or heard from the girls.

Between 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. The girls and their family members had agreed on a time to get picked up from the trail. When the family arrived, Abby and Libby were nowhere to be found. A search of the area turned up nothing.

5:30 p.m. The family called the Carroll County Sheriff's Department for help. Police tried to ping the girls' cellphones, but it was no use: they appeared to be dead or turned off.

11:45 p.m. Crews called off the search before midnight while the family continued to look for the girls.

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017 (The day the girls were found)

10 a.m. Crews resumed their search near the Monon High Bridge.

12:45 p.m. The Delphi Fire Chief announced crews had found Abby and Libby.

1:50 p.m. Police hold a news conference to say two bodies had been found during the search. They had not been positively identified at this point.

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017

2:33 p.m. Authorities positively identified the girls.

6:50 p.m. Indiana State Police released a photo of a man they believe was on the trail at the same time the girls were.

Feb. 19, 2017

The man in the photo is named a prime suspect in the girls' slaying.

Feb. 23, 2017

The FBI and Indiana State Police released audio taken from Libby's cellphone on the day the girls were murdered.

July 17, 2017

Indiana State Police investigators released a composite sketch of the suspect.

Sept. 28, 2017

A Colorado Sheriff's Department contacted Indiana State Police about similarities in a case there to the one in Delphi. Daniel Nations was officially declared a 'person of interest.'

Sept. 29, 2017

Indiana investigators travel to Colorado to interview Daniel Nations to see if he has any connection to the Delphi case.

Feb. 13, 2019 (Two years later)

Indiana State Police and other investigators held a news conference to keep the case fresh in people's minds and ask for tips in the case.

April 22, 2019

Investigators released a new sketch, new audio and a new video of the suspect walking.

Feb. 13, 2020 (Three years later)

No arrests have been made.

THE EVIDENCE IN THE CASE

Right from the getgo, investigators released a pixelated image of a man walking along that old bridge at the time the girls went missing.

Indiana State Police released a still image of the suspect.

Not long after police released this still from a video, investigators released a chilling audio file of a male voice: "Guys....down the hill."

Investigators hope that Libby's quick thinking to record the suspect on her phone will eventually lead police to an arrest.

In 2019, police released a short video clip of the suspect taken on Libby's phone.

Investigators want the public to take a close look at the man's mannerisms.

WHO IS THE SUSPECT?

Indiana State Police haven't come up with a name at this point, but they've released a new sketch of the girls' killer.

They believe the man is between the age range of 18 to 40, and may appear younger than he actually is.

The man could stand about 5'6" to 5'10" tall, and may weigh about 180 to 200 pounds. He likely has reddish-brown hair.

Police believe the suspect currently lives in Delphi, Indiana, or has ties to the area.

PERSON OF INTEREST

No one has been charged in the death of Abby and Libby, however, a social media firestorm has drawn similarities between men facing unrelated charges and the Delphi case.

In October 2017, Colorado investigators reached out to Indiana police about a man who was arrested for threatening people near a hiking trail with a hatchet.

Indiana State Police traveled to Colorado to interview Daniel Nations about the Delphi case as a 'person of interest.'

However, Indiana State Police have downplayed his Colorado arrest and said he is "not someone we care a whole lot about at this time."

HOW TO SEND IN A TIP

Authorities are still vigorously working on the case.

Indiana State Police want to remind the public that investigators are seeking additional information, but not amateur “investigative” theories.

You can call the FBI tip line at 844-459-5786 or email Abbyandlibbytip@cacoshrf.com.

Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

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