DELPHI, Ind. (AP/WISH) — Police investigating the unsolved murders of two northern Indiana teenage girls are hoping the crime’s one-year anniversary spurs a wave of tips from the public that can lead them to the killer.
Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby says State Police and the FBI have increased staffing to field an anticipated increase in tips about the murders of 14-year-old Liberty German and 13-year-old Abigail Williams.
The girls vanished last Feb. 13 while hiking near their hometown of Delphi, about 60 miles northwest of Indianapolis.
“It was unlike anything in my 30-year career. We, like many counties and other police departments, we somewhat pride ourselves on a high percentage rate of children actually being found or located and so as time went along and we discovered we weren’t finding them there were some worries and concerns starting to develop,” said Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby
Their bodies were found the next day.
“You could have literally heard a pin drop in that room when we got word of that it was devastating for us even as police administrators,” said Leazenby.
The day after the girls were found, investigators released an image of the suspect. A week later, an audio recording of the suspect saying “Down the Hill,” audio that was taken from Libby’s phone.
“We felt like that it was the final piece of the puzzle that would once we broadcast that that someone out there would say ‘That’s so and so, that’s a cousin, that’s a whatever family member and we would get that call, we would get that email tip, that’s not the case,” said Leazenby, “Had it not been for what Libby did in providing this information that was taken from her cell phone, I think we would more likely would not be where we are today.”
Today, and more than 20,000 tips later, he says there have been many ups.
“There have been pieces of information followed into by our investigators that we got really excited about from a perspective of being able to come to a conclusion, we’ve had those moments,” said Leazenby.
And many downs.
“Very similar to riding a roller coaster,” he said.
Through it all, he says, there have been the families of Abby Williams and Libby German whose efforts have helped bring in new information.
“As far as what they’ve done in going on Dr. Phil Show and Megyn Kelly and Dr. Oz, because of their efforts that’s what role they play in this, information and keeping the information out there and some of the information is new some of the information is, I won’t call it old, but it’s information that was gained early on that’s still being looked into,” said Leazenby, “I highly commend them for what they have done and continue to do with this. They obviously want that closure more than anyone and more so at the forefront and the justice for Abby and Libby, I just thank them for what they have done and continue to do and have been doing with this.”
State Police Superintendent Doug Carter held a news conference in Delphi on Tuesday’s anniversary of the teens’ disappearance to renew investigators’ call for tips.
Carter and Leazenby want to remind the public that the case has not gone cold.