DELPHI, Ind. (WNDU) It's been one year since the town of Delphi was rocked by the murders of Abigail Williams and Liberty German, and their murderer is still on the loose.
Liberty "Libby" German and Abigail "Abby" Williams
It was a warm February day, and the best friends wanted to get outside and enjoy nature.
But a cold-blooded killer shattered that day by taking their lives.
Delphi, Indiana, has always been a sleepy little town of fewer than 3,000 residents. Everyone knows one another, and it has that small town charm that those who live there wouldn't trade.
That all changed one year ago when 13-year-old Abigail Williams and 14-year-old Liberty German went missing.
Their "missing" posters are still hanging in the windows of local shops.
The Monon High Bridge is the last place Abby and Libby were seen alive. It's a 10-mile trail around Delphi that was always thought to be safe for walking until that fateful day.
While the rest of us have gone on with our lives over the last year, Abby's and Libby’s families have not. They are still dealing with their grief.
Anna Williams lost her only child that day. She reminisces over the photos hanging on her wall. "This was a hard one. I have always taken the girls' (Abby and her cousins) Christmas pictures."
Memories frozen in time.
It's the same for Mike Patty, Liberty German's grandfather, who, along with his wife, raised Libby from the time she was 3 years old.
Mike says a day doesn't go by that he doesn't grieve for Libby. "That's what I think of every morning, and I start my day and it doesn't end, and it's not something that I get to turn off or close the computer down or step away from. This is my life now, 24/7. It doesn't stop, it doesn't end."
Abby's and Libby’s families aren’t the only ones who are still affected by the loss every day.
Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby, who has known the families for years, has spent the last 365 days focused on finding the killer. I asked him, "Are you any closer to solving this than you were after it happened?"
The sheriff told me, "I guess for me, how I look at it, I gauge it by having someone incarcerated, and since we don't have that yet, it's difficult to say. In a simple way I've likened it to digging into a haystack, so to speak, and I feel like we are well into that haystack, we just haven't found the needle."
Libby's grandfather, Mike, and grandmother, Becky, aren't giving up hope for an arrest. "I'm hopeful, I don't care where the tips come from or who helps," Mike says. "Somewhere out there somebody knows, I've said that from day one."
Abby's mom, Anna Williams, agrees. "I've always been hopeful. I have never been anything less than 110 percent hopeful."
Even taking their search national. Both families recently appeared on the Dr. Phil Show and then Megyn Kelly Today, driving in some new tips.
Sheriff Leazenby says it's huge that Libby had the mindset to snap a cellphone picture of the man they believe was responsible. Unknown to the killer, Libby also caught sound of him telling the girls "down the hill."
The girls were found the next day right there beneath the bridge, leaving their families and community heartbroken.
"This guy is just pure evil, what he did," Mike says.
Anna talks about waiting into the night and then morning for any news. "It got harder and harder as the night went on. And then it just all fell through at once."
The sheriff, Indiana State Police and FBI have interviewed thousands of suspects to no avail, and the investigation is ongoing.
I asked Sheriff Leazenby if investigators thought the killer was an outsider or living among them. "We've discussed that. From the lay of the land, so to say, where this occurred, it would almost have to be someone who is originally from this area and knew how things were laid out, or it's someone who came to our area, if you will, and studied it. For it to be an outsider, yes it's possible, but they sure had to put a lot of work to putting something into this."
Everyone is pleading that anyone, even with the smallest tip, should call police. It could be the break needed to solve this unthinkable crime, and with DNA evidence from the scene, Sheriff Leazenby thinks the case will be solved. "I wish I could say tomorrow. Obviously I can't, but I feel like somewhere down the line we will get justice for these girls."
And if he's not caught, Mike fears the worst. "I believe he's going to strike again, he will, and it may be you, your family. We need to get him off our streets."
The families say a day doesn't go by that they don't think of Libby and Abby. I asked Anna if there are ever days she forgets her only child is gone. "Definitely, the moment of forgetfulness right before you go to sleep and right before you wake up. Her bedroom is right next to mine." I asked, "Do you ever just go in there and sit?" Tearfully, Anna just shakes her head. "I'll come up and I'll go look for something. The first thing I remember I walked in and it was cold. It was just cold because she's not here."
Anna says the girls were such great friends and would never leave one another's side. "We don't know what happened out there that day, we really don't. If one or the other of them had fallen and gotten hurt, the other would have stayed with the one that was hurt. I think they probably did the best they could."
But at just 13 and 14 years old, they were no match for a cold-blooded killer.
Abby and Libby were friends in life and, sadly, in death.
If you think you recognize the man or his voice, you can help get justice for Abby and Libby. Even if you are questioning your suspicions, no tip is too small.
While you can remain anonymous, there's a $240,000 reward if your tip leads to an arrest.
Tip Line: (844) 459-5786
Indiana State Police: (800) 382-7537
Carroll County Sheriff: (765) 564-2413
As Mike said, someone out there knows something. Please help bring justice for Abby and Libby so that the families don't have to wait another year not knowing what happened that fateful day.