The Delphi Murders – Random Thoughts (Updated 03/25/2017)

So, by now, probably everyone in the country has heard of the murders of 13 year old Abigail Williams and 14 year old Liberty German on (presumably) February 13, 2017 in Delphi, Indiana–and if they aren’t familiar with the details, they’ve at least heard of the case in passing.

This case has captured the hearts and minds of several internet sleuths.  While I’m not sure I’d qualify as one (technically), I do have some ideas about the case, and thought this might be the best place to keep a running tab of some details and theories.

What We Know

Here are the details of the case as we know them thus far:

  • At 1:00 pm on Monday, February 13, 2017, Abigail Williams and Liberty German, two friends who attended school together, were dropped off by their parents/guardians at the Monon High Bridge trail, a park trail near a decommissioned railway bridge.  The girls intended to hang out on the trail, hike a little, and talk of their plans for the upcoming softball season and for life beyond the eighth grade.
  • At around 2:07 pm, Liberty German uploaded two photographs from the trail to her Instagram and Snapchat.
snapchat.jpg
From nypost.com
  • At an as-yet unknown time (to the public, anyway), Liberty German records video of a man walking on the bridge.  Two stills from the video have been released to the public.  This man would later be named a person of interest in the case.
teens23n-1-web
From http://www.nydailynews.com
  • At an as-yet unknown time (to the public, anyway), Liberty German records audio of a man saying, “Go down the hill.”  It is unknown to the public as to whether or not this voice belongs to the man in the still frame images above.  A video by YouTube user Independent Feed cleans up and amplifies the sound for us.  Click here to watch it, but lower your volume before you do and adjust accordingly.
  • At 5:30 pm, family/guardians arrive to pick up the girls, but the girls do not show up at the pick-up location.  The girls are reported missing shortly after.
  • A search is conducted Monday evening.  “Multiple law enforcement agencies” and volunteers “scour” the area of the Monon High Bridge trail.  Eventually, the search is called off due to darkness, to resume in the morning.  The police initially do not suspect foul play; they are more worried about exposure to the elements.
  • The search resumes on the morning of Tuesday, February 14, 2017, and includes search dogs and divers.
  • At around 12 noon, two bodies are discovered in the woods “about a half-mile away from the bridge”, on the property of Ronald Logan, age 77.  His property is somewhat vast, and extends into the trail and the park itself.  The girls are found at the edge of the property, near the creek.  Logan states in an interview after the bodies are discovered that his son used to play in the woods behind the house when he was a child.  Click here for that video.
  • Though the identities of the the bodies as Abby Williams and Libby German are not revealed until later, police mention during a press conference at 2:00 pm that they have reason to suspect foul play.
  • The identities of the bodies are revealed by the school superintendent at 4:00 pm.

And that’s the information we have currently.  The two bodies discovered were Libby and Abby, and the police believe the case to be homicide.  Police released the grainy pictures of the suspect (or, potentially, one of the suspects, as police have indicated that there might have been more than one) above about a week after the discovery of the bodies, and released the extremely short audio clip about two weeks after.

Delphi police have received numerous tips, but there is no known suspect in the case thus far.

Searching Ron Logan’s Property

Last Friday (March 17, 2017), there appeared to be a potential break in the case.  Here are some notes I took from that day:

  • The police searched the home of Ron Logan in connection with the murder of Abby Williams and Libby German.
  • Ron Logan has had several DUIs and was arrested the week before for a probation violation.  He has no history of violent crime.
  • The police said they were not ruling anyone out as a suspect, and that Ron Logan wasn’t necessarily a suspect–and that they’ve served dozen of warrants to search various properties concerning the case since February.  The stated reason for why he was being investigated further was due to conflict in his alibi when compared with some tips the police received.
  • According to WTHR Channel 13, the investigation at the house involved about 15 officers at around 12:00 pm on March 17, 2017.  Click here to see the report.
  • By 6:00 pm, WTHR reported that the investigation of the property (extended apparently to house, barns, and surrounding fields) involved the Delphi police, the FBI, and police from other states who previously offered their services.  Dogs were brought in to aid in the search.  Click here to see the report.
  • By 11:00 pm, WTHR reported that “a few dozen” investigators were called in to search the property and retrieve evidence.  Click here to see the report.
  • Several boxes of items were removed, and Ron Logan’s truck was taken.
  • According to WTHR, Ron Logan is acquainted with one of the girl’s families.

Ultimately, it seems, this led to nothing (click here for that report–one of many on  WTHR’s YouTube channel).  Ron Logan has not been cleared, but he hasn’t been named a prime suspect, either, and police claim a week later (March 24, 2017) that they are still interested in about 50 or 60 different people as potential suspects.

What We Don’t Know: Idle Speculation

There are a number of things we don’t know, but we can perhaps infer a few things based on the little that we do know.  What follows are a series of questions and, in some cases, conclusions that are merely my own idle speculation.  Please note that any conclusions I write do not reflect the views of the police at all, but are only based on my own rationale and speculation.

  • One thing the police have yet to reveal is the cause of death.  The police have said that they believe this to be a case of homicide, but haven’t said to any real extent why they believe this to be the case.  While the cause of death isn’t pertinent to the actual solving of the case (potentially), we can glean from the police ruling this a double-homicide that the girls were stabbed, shot, or strangled.  Drowning is a possibility, but this is unlikely, in my opinion, as it would require too much effort to complete.  Immolation might also be a possibility, but considering it took only four hours to announce a positive identification, this likely isn’t the case either (unless they had dental records ready just in case, which is perhaps a possibility in a town of only 3,000 people–not a lot of dentists around I would suspect).
  • The condition of the bodies would help bring the police to this conclusion initially, as well–and this is also unrevealed information.  Were they undressed?  Were they dismembered?  Was there bruising anywhere, perhaps around wrists or ankles?  Were there burns or lacerations?  The answers to these questions could make an already horrible crime much worse.
  • Police have said that they have sent DNA found on the bodies to be processed, but the nature of this DNA hasn’t been revealed (blood under finger nails, hair samples gripped in a closed fist, or genetic material found elsewhere).  This information could speak to motive–whether or not there was a sexual component to the crime.
  • The police have not yet revealed the approximate times of death.  If the times of death were within twelve hours or less of the bodies being discovered, that could indicate that the girls were held somewhere, likely in the area (because the killer would need to bring them back), and then were taken back to the spot and killed or were killed prior and dumped.  This could potentially help narrow down the suspect, and could explain the extreme interest in Ron Logan’s property.  If the times of death are placed shortly after they disappeared…well, then, it doesn’t help narrow down the suspect at all.  But I suspect the times of death indicate a very long and terrible night.
  • The reason why the cavalry was called in to search Ron Logan’s home, barns, and fields is unknown at this time.  The police have stated that it’s due to conflicting information regarding Logan’s alibi, but to my way of thinking, you don’t bring in everyone unless you know what you’re looking for and think you might find it there.  The use of dogs to help in the search (as they did when Libby and Abby were first reported missing) indicates to me that the police thought they might find fluid, a lost item, or other evidence personal to the victims on the property.  What were they looking for, and what didn’t they find?  And how is the truck significant?

Additional Random Thoughts

  • I think the killer had a weapon on him when the girls were abducted.  Some have said that they think they see the outline of a gun in the pocket of the man in the still frame, and I concur.  The presence of a gun would make sense, and would prevent both girls from running away (with the threat of him shooting one if the other runs).  Does this mean he used a gun to murder the girls?  Not necessarily.  Guns are noisy, and might attract too much attention.  But a gun would come in handy when convincing them to follow directions.
  • I think the police think that Libby and Abby were not killed where they were found, or were held somewhere before being killed where they were found.  The response to the search of Ron Logan’s property indicates this (including barns and fields, and using dogs).
  • I think the killer was from the area, and either still lives there, or moved away but still comes back occasionally.  The Monon High Bridge is rickety and in disrepair, and someone foreign to the area might have a difficult time navigating the bridge–if they knew it was there at all.  No.  I think this person has hiked this bridge before.
  • I think the killer lives in Delphi.  If the police think that the girls were killed and then moved, or were kept somewhere and then taken to the woods to be killed, the killer must still live in the area, or the bodies would have been dumped elsewhere.  Alternate theory: There are two killers, and one of them lives in the area while the other no longer does.
  • I think the crime probably has a sexual component to it.  It doesn’t seem that robbery is the motive, as the victims are two teenage girls living in Delphi.  The crime may simply be a violent crime, but that makes it a random act of violence, which is harder to believe when you consider that the victims in that scenario could have been virtually anyone walking the (deserted) trail that day.  Did Libby and Abby just win the unlucky lottery?  Possibly.  But I don’t personally think so.
  • I think that the killer somehow knew Libby and Abby would be there that day.  How?  That’s a good question.  It could have been a post on Snapchat.  It might have been someone lurking Libby’s Instagram.  It might have been someone following a family member’s post on Facebook saying that they had to drop the girls off or something.  It might have even been the automatic location sync-up that some social media sites do when you enter a known area.  Maybe the killer knew Libby and Abby, and so they knew exactly what to check and when.  But just because they knew Libby and Abby, that doesn’t mean that Libby and Abby knew them.
  • I don’t think that Ron Logan is the killer, or is the sole killer.  He is 77 years old, does not sound like the voice on the audio, and does not look like the person in the photograph.  Though he seems to raise horses and is somewhat fit (he doesn’t look a day over 58), he is also apparently a heavy drinker (enough to have had numerous DUIs), and that could pose some issues if the crime was sexually motivated.  Also, he was an acquaintance of one of the girl’s families.  That means that one of the girls would probably have recognized him if he had been the one walking toward them in the still frame from the video.  I could imagine one of the girls saying, “Hey, that looks like Mr. Logan,” and that statement being caught on audio or video.  In which case the police wouldn’t need tips from the public so much.
  • I do think that someone associated with Ron Logan is the killer.  This is a wide net to cast, actually…wider than one might think initially.
    • The obvious first suspect is Ron Logan’s son.  Ron Logan himself said in an interview that his son played in the woods behind the house a lot as a child.  If we’re looking for a suspect who knows the area, Ron Logan’s son is a prime one.  Some people say that Ron Logan looks like the man in the still frame–I don’t think he does, but a younger version of him (i.e. his son) might be a dead ringer.  Of course, if Ron Logan’s son is 150 lbs., 6’5″, wears glasses, and works in Silicon Valley as a programmer, well, he might not fit at all.  So, caveat emptor with that one.
    • Ron Logan raises horses, and has spent the last two weeks in jail.  Who’s taking care of the horses?  Ranch hands, of course.  Which brings us to a second possible suspect existing around Ron Logan.  A ranch hand would not only be from the area (and thus know the area), but would also have ready access to the barns and fields.  Could the man in the still frame have been some as yet unknown ranch hand?
    • Delphi is a small town with a population of 3,000–about 300 people fewer than my high school.  To say that Delphi is a small town is the greatest understatement ever spoken, typed, or otherwise communicated.  Where there’s a small town, there’s small town drama.  Perhaps the killer knows Ron Logan.  Perhaps the killer knows Ron Logan’s habits.  Perhaps the killer doesn’t like Ron Logan.  Perhaps the killer didn’t like Ron Logan’s little brat playing in his back yard or something.  The killer’s motivations for murdering Libby and Abby remain unchanged in this scenario, but the motivation for dumping the bodies in Ron Logan’s back yard becomes malicious rather than convenient.

And that’s what I have right now.  A lot of questions and a lot more speculation.

If you have any information that might be pertinent to this case, please call 1-844-459-5786.  In case doing the right thing just isn’t enough motivation for you, there’s also a reward of almost a quarter of a million dollars available for the tip that leads to the apprehension of the suspect in the still frame (and, presumably, on the audio).

Someone in Delphi knows something of value to police.  Let’s hope that for the sake of the families involved, they decide to do the right thing.  Two teen girls will never grow up to experience life’s brilliance, all the hopes and disappointments that adulthood has to offer.  They deserve justice, and so does the little town of Delphi.


Resources:

BrainScratch: The Delphi Murders – Abigail Williams & Liberty German
This is a great primer for those who wish to get more acquainted with the broad details of the case, and BrainScratch is just a fantastic web show besides.  John Lordan deserves more subscribers than he currently has.
Fox 59: TIMELINE | Disappearance and deaths of Liberty German and Abigail Williams in Delphi
This timeline was used to piece together the one in my post above.  If you’re looking for a more complete sequence of events, look no further than this link.
Libby and Abby Delphi Murders Crime Scene Flow
This video from Gray Hughes puts forth a plausible scenario of the events of the crime.  Other related videos show how Gray was able to use Google to pinpoint the exact location of Libby and Abby relative to the suspect when the still frame was taken.
Retracing Libby and Abby’s steps across Monon High Bridge
This is the first video in a set of several by Julie Melvin, giving folks a better idea of what it’s like to traverse the decrepit bridge in real time.
Law Enforcement Press Conference
This is the law enforcement press conference officially revealing the still frames and the audio clip.
Mike Patty (Libby German’s Grandfather) Press Conference
A representative for the German and Williams families give a press conference, taking place prior to the search of Ron Logan’s property.