Unsolved: The Delphi murders - A grandfather remembers
It's been two years since the town of Delphi was rocked by the murders of teens Liberty German and Abigail Williams, and their murders are still unsolved.
On Wednesday, officials held a news conference assuring the families and the public that this is not a cold case.
of their deaths, I sat down this week with Libby's grandfather, who says he will not rest until the man he calls pure evil is behind bars.
"Down the hill, down the hill."
Those were the horrifying words of a killer and a photo of the suspect snapped by 14-year-old Libby as she and her 13-year-old best friend, Abby, enjoyed a nature walk on the popular Monon High Bridge on an unseasonably warm Feb. 13 two years ago.
Hope and hearts were broken on Valentine's Day 2017 for the sleepy, close-knit town of Delphi, when the two girls' bodies were found nearby after a night of searching.
Mike Patty, Libby's grandfather, and his wife, Becky, raised Libby and her older sister raised Libby and her older sister since she was 3 years old. In many ways, he says, time has gone by quickly – partly because he and his family are working nonstop with police and the FBI to keep Libby and Abby's story alive, even if they are not.
"Drive as many tips and information and hopefully reach that one person [who] has a bit of information that law enforcement needs," Mike said, describing his purpose.
Sitting down with Mike at his Delphi home this week, he said nearly 40,000 tips have come in since that fateful day.
"While that's a lot to go through, I just hope the one tip we need is in there," he said. "It's the one tip that we're after, the one that really brings this case to a close.
I asked him about the latest tip that circulated late last year when
"Do you know if that has gone anywhere, or has it been debunked?"
"I wouldn't say it's been debunked. I mean, it's definitely a tip that's been called in. I know they are investigating it, but we have kind of trained ourselves as a family to not get too hyped up until law enforcement has a chance to do their job."
Mike told me he hopes before a third anniversary we'll be sitting down for a different reason.
"We're hoping that an arrest is made, that we pull the person, persons responsible for this off our streets and out of society, truly, before he does it again," he said. "It's not going to bring our girls back, but it will definitely keep that person from doing it again to somebody else's family."
And he wants all of us to remember Libby and Abby – not for their deaths, but for what they lived for.
"These were just two young teenage girls just out enjoying life," he said. "They were full of life, they had their whole lives ahead of them, they wanted to enjoy everything and anything. They were good kids out enjoying the outdoors. Not that they didn't play Xbox or video games or PlayStation or whatever, but they were truly adventurous, outside. 'Let's see what's out there.'"
They were, in many ways, typical Michiana teens.
"To riding snowmobiles to minibikes to four-wheelers and then all the sports that she was involved in, we try to go to sporting events, and while we enjoy them, we sit there and somebody's missing. Not on the team, you know," Mike said. "We don't get to teach her to drive, you know what I mean? She should have her license. We didn't get that chance."
"She'd be 16 now?"
"Are there any days you lose hope?"
"What keeps you going?"
"That picture on the wall that you noticed when you walked in. I look at that every day and say, 'Good morning,' to her. And that just keeps driving me forward. Somebody has to know something out there. This person doesn't live in total isolation. … For the person that is responsible for this, I hope through all the prayer that we've done that the good lord will steer that person to do the right thing and walk in and turn himself in and take accountability for what he's done."
While strong in his Christian faith, Mike says until someone is behind bars, he cannot forgive.
"I can't," he said. "I can't forgive if I don't know who to forgive. I can't even being to start to walk down that path. I don't even think the Lord would expect me to do that."
Until that day happens, the family wants to remember life before it forever changed.
"Libby's still alive in our hearts, you know, in our minds and our memories," Mike said. "She left us so many memories. Just like tonight. I'm not a big online, social media guy, but some stories came up and she was recording and her voice. We reflect, sometimes we laugh a little, sometimes we cry. Just like tonight, I said, 'Man I sure miss that voice around our house.'"
That voice and Abby's, friends in life and now, tragically, together in death.
Mike told me he doesn't know if the murderer is from Delphi, South Bend, Indianapolis or beyond, but he believes he is living among us. He begs that any tip, however small, is called in.
The reward leading to an arrest is now up to $240,000. But more than the money, Mike says this monster will kill again and needs to be stopped.