The Delphi Murders – 08/08/2017 – Delphi Tips Help Solve an Unrelated Cold Case

So, this is a story that’s about a week old, but it’s important in that it shows that the Delphi police aren’t just sitting on their hands doing nothing, and are actually following up tips that come over the tip line.

According to the WTHR article covering this case, court records indicate that a call came in over the Delphi tip line stating that one Kevin Sellers “killed his uncle some years before and had gotten away with it” in Cass County.

Back in 2007, Kevin Sellers told police that he discovered his uncle David Sellers shot to death in the home the two shared.  Though detectives were suspicious of the younger Sellers, they were unable to piece together a case due to insufficient evidence.  As a result, the murder fell into cold case status–and though numerous hands have touched the case, no new headway was made until the aforementioned tip.

Though he denied it repeatedly, Kevin Sellers finally admitted to the murder during questioning by detectives, stating, “I surrender.”

Though it’s not the break those of us following the Delphi investigation were expecting, it’s certainly a welcomed end to a decade-old mystery–and one which proves that the tip line works.


Source:

WTHR – Tip to Delphi investigation hotline leads to Cass County cold case arrest

 

The Delphi Murders – 07/22/2017 – Evidence Update and a Warning about Social Media Sleuthing

So, the good news is that the murders are not a cold case, as the Delphi Police Department reported recently that they’ve received over a thousand new tips since the composite sketch of the suspect was released.

We now know that witness information contributed to the sketch, and that the FBI, the sketch artist (an FBI sketch artist himself), and the Delphi PD are very confident that the facial features are accurate.  The hat might not be, and they’ve cautioned us against paying too much attention to the type of hat in the sketch–but do pay attention to what he looks like in a hat.

As for other information, they believe the suspect is between 5’6″ and 5’10” tall, weighs between 180 and 220 lbs., and has reddish-brown hair.

Here are pictures of the suspect once again:

unsubteens23n-1-web

As a quick note:

The FBI, sheriff, and pretty much everyone associated with the case has asked that social media sleuths stop sending sharing tips with other social media users, and start sharing tips with the police via the tip line (posted below).  Also, stop matching the sketch with mugshots you find on Google Images.  That doesn’t help, and won’t bring the case any closer to closure.

The point of the sketch is to jog the memory of someone who knows this monster or saw this monster that day, in the hopes that this potential unknown witness will put two and two together and report it.  So, do use the tip line, but only report if you have a legitimate tip (i.e. “My brother looks a lot like him, I live in Indiana, and he mentioned he was going hunting near Delphi that day.”).

If you have an actual tip, don’t post it online–and even if you don’t, don’t post it online.  Everyone wants to help solve this thing, and that is admirable–but sometimes the best way to do that is to share the sketch on social media with a quick blurb as to the what, where, and why of the case.  If it gets shared enough, someone will remember something of note–guaranteed.

Anyone with tips can call the tip line at (844) 459-5786 (you can remain anonymous), or tips may also be emailed to abbyandlibbytip@cacoshrf.com.

SOURCES:

The New York Times (usually fake news, but not today)

Fox59.com: Police warning public to share Delphi murder suspect sketch responsibly

Brain Scratch MINI Scratch Update (Video by John Lordan)

Kokomo Tribune: Sheriff to Facebook users: Stop posting on Delphi murders, start calling tip line

 

The Delphi Murders – 07/17/2017 – Major Update

So, it looks like my previous wish has been granted.  This morning, police released a brand spanking new sketch of the suspect in the murders of Libby German and Abby Williams–and it’s a damn good sketch, too.  It’s so good, in fact, that I have to wonder how they were able to create it based on blurry, grainy images they’ve released to us thus far.  But this horse is a gift, so I’m not about to check its teeth.

unsub

This is precisely what many in the community have requested for many months: a better look at the guy or more audio.

The details of what he did to those girls that night are irrelevant.

Which path he took to do it is unimportant.

That information can come out at the trial.

What matters now is that the people who recognize this filth turns him in as soon as possible.

 

Sources:

http://www.wthr.com/article/state-police-release-sketch-in-delphi-murder-investigation

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/07/17/delphi-murders-indiana-state-police-release-suspect-sketch-in-slayings-2-girls.html

(Return of) Universal Horrors Challenge (Sorta)

So, my concentration has unfortunately been very much occupied by other things for the last several months (politics, my day job, and other things that likewise don’t really matter in the grand scheme), and because of this, the “challenge” portion of the Universal Horrors Challenge has fallen by the wayside.  That said, I’d like to get back on the wagon as it were and continue my survey of Universal’s horror film output from 1913 up to and including 1960.  I’m not sure how feasible it is to do that in a year’s time at this point, but I suppose the body of work if not the timetable is what’s truly important.

Going forward, I’m kicking around a few ideas concerning the challenge, this blog, and everything in between.

First, I’m not sure that the podcast format is necessarily working for me–or, at least, I’m not sure it’s working for me by itself.  I’ve noticed that other podcasts, vlogs, and the like simulcast in various forms of media–audio, video, and written in some cases.  I’m entertaining the idea, then, of transcribing my podcast work going forward (and working to transcribe those already released, possibly adding to them in “special editions” or “revisitations” of some sort).  This would allow those who either can’t download the podcast or don’t understand my Ohio accent to get the same amount of enjoyment and information from my posts as those who can.  It would also allow me the option of posting all of my research (including reviews), as opposed to me just awkwardly reading what is on my screen and my screen alone.

Second, I’m thinking of splitting this blog into three: One for entertainment media (movies, books, video games, etc.), one of politics, and one for missing persons and weird or unsolved mysteries.  Why would I do this?  Because in theory, this would be the online equivalent of a fidget-spinner for me, and would allow me to better regiment what I post, when, and how often–basically, to streamline my process.  It’s like folks who set their clocks five minutes ahead so they are never late; they know that their clocks are wrong, but somehow seeing the incorrect time pushes them to be on time more often.  Plus, it would allow me to unclutter my Facebook while scratching all my itches, and while appealing to all my friends and my diverse fan base.

Third, I…uh…well, there is no third.

What do you folks think?  Let me know in the comments section below, or on Facebook, or in a creepy letter mailed to my house and comprised of letters cut from old magazines.

The Delphi Murders – Update 05/19/2017

RSo, I’ve noticed that traffic has picked up on this blog a lot since I made a few posts about the murders of Libby German and Abby Williams in Delphi, IN.  That’s great–it’s good to see that many are still interested in the case, and I’m happy to be able to help keep awareness raised in my own small way.

Sadly, the term “update” as used in the title is a bit of a misnomer.  We are now over three months past the date of the murders and as of the posting of this article, the police are no closer to finding the suspect/killer (or suspects/killers–we still don’t know who did what when, or how many there were when that what was done) responsible.

Much surrounding the case has happened in these three months:

  • Fundraisers at a local Delphi tavern to help build a memorial softball park for the girls
  • A solidarity hike on the trail from which the girls disappeared to show that the residents of Delphi are not afraid
  • Nights during which orange porch lights are lit

But that’s precisely the problem.  Much surrounding the case has occurred, but nothing that advances the case has occurred (at least, nothing that’s been reported).

Due to this void of new developments/details, speculation is starting to run wild:

  • Internet sleuths are arguing about the path the killer (or killers, because again, we don’t know how many and apparently the police don’t, either) took to Ron Logan’s property.  Did he go through the woods?  Did he cross the creek?  At this point, both are feasible, both are possible, and whichever is correct doesn’t really matter unless the killer dropped his ID or a name tag or something on his way, because neither possibility brings us closer to closure on this case.
  • YouTube detectives are left to sort, resort, examine, and re-examine the same three second audio clip and the same two or three still images from a video clip that apparently exists but hasn’t been released to the public.  Does the suspect have a gait?  Is the suspect wearing a hood or sunglasses?  It’s impossible to tell from three grainy still frame images, and the suspect sounds like every other southern Indiana native (or southern Ohio native…or southern any-state native, for that matter).
  • Spiritualists, mediums, and paranormal scholars are attempting to rationalize motive or contact the girls through EVP sessions, Ouija boards, and seances.  Sadly, we’re about as likely to get anywhere with those as we are with re-examining the same paltry pieces of evidence we’ve been allowed to see thus far.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I applaud those who are putting in the time and effort to do any or all of the above, and more.  But I say that knowing that all of this is nothing more than a way to distract ourselves while we wait for…something to happen.

Anything to happen.

None of this speculation brings us closer to the ultimate goal of solving this case.

We want to help.  People want to help.  We want this monster (or these monsters) caught and brought to justice.  But as we get chronologically further from the crime, we are getting closer to cold case territory.  I don’t want that to happen.  Internet sleuths, YouTube personalities, occultists, the people of Delphi, and the families of the victims–they don’t want that to happen, either.  No one wants that to happen except for the killer(s), because that will mean he/they got away with it.

And so this is my point:

The police of Delphi, IN must release more information.  They are keeping the details of this case close to the vest, and that’s understandable–the last thing a police force investigating a double homicide of children needs is a phone line filled with nut jobs claiming to have heard the name of the killer from a jar of Skippy.  But the tip they say they so desperately need has a better chance of coming if we (“we” being the public, the people who want so desperately to find those responsible) know just a little bit more.

And when I say a little, I mean a little.  I don’t need to know how Libby and Abby died.  I can go the rest of my life not knowing those details and find myself better off because of it.

But I do need to know if the man in the still frame images has a gait or a limp.  I do need to know if he’s wearing a hood or sunglasses.  Do you know what might tell me that?  A few seconds of the clip itself.  Someone out there knows who this guy is, and might even think the man in the still frame images looks oddly familiar–but because they don’t see the body language, they aren’t making the connection.  Isn’t that how suspects in robbery cases are found and arrested, where the best images that exist are from grainy CCTV footage?  We need to see this guy move.

We also need to hear more of this guy’s speech patterns.  Perhaps there’s nothing peculiar or noteworthy about the way he speaks; perhaps he just sounds like a normal yokel from the south of any given state in the U.S.  But perhaps he doesn’t.  Perhaps he pronounces a single word in a distinctive matter–maybe he enunciates his Ts more than would be considered normal, or maybe he has a slight stutter, or maybe he pauses in strange places.  None of us can tell from three seconds of audio where he says, “G’down the hill.”  Again, I can imagine a scenario where perhaps someone recognizes the voice but doesn’t realize it yet–and any unique qualities present in the suspect’s speech might be the trigger needed to make this person put two and two together.

Now, it is possible that the reason we haven’t received more audio is because the audio that remains is either considered to be too muffled, or possibly too disturbing–containing, perhaps, the girls crying or pleading.  In the case of the former, I err on the side of releasing it anyway, as the right person may glean the right things from that otherwise muffled audio and help solve this crime.  In the case of the latter…well, as difficult as it might be, I say release it anyway.  This is a disturbing crime, and we don’t even have all of the details yet.  If someone has been willingly protecting this monster and hasn’t yet been convinced to turn him in with a quarter of a million dollar reward and the pleas of the surviving family members, maybe facing that disturbing audio will encourage them to finally do the right thing.

Of course, this is all mere speculation; I don’t know why we haven’t been given more audio by now.  Or video, for that matter.

In closing, there’s such a thing as keeping details too close to the vest.  People want to help solve this case, but we can’t do that without more (basic) information.  Show us a clip.  Let’s see the monster move.  Play more audio.  Let’s hear this animal bark.  I don’t think what I’ve suggested in this post is extraordinary.  I don’t think we need more details of the case as such.  We just need more details regarding the suspect.  That’s the only way the public can and will have the best chance of dropping the tip necessary to close this case in a timely fashion.  Libby German had enough presence of mind to film and record the suspect.  It would be an atrocity if that effort were in vain because a decision-maker arbitrarily decided against using that information to the fullest.

The Delphi Murders – Update 04/12/2017

CASE STATUS UPDATE: It has been eight weeks since the girls were murdered, and though the police resources dedicated to discovering the killer have dwindled, apparently 100 tips or so a day are still rolling in, and detectives working the case are doggedly investigating every possible lead.  The police are also awaiting further analysis of evidence (likely the DNA evidence that they were trying to fast-track), but still believe that a tip from a human is the one clue that will ultimately lead to the killer.  It seems that time will tell.

RON LOGAN UPDATE: Ronald Logan was sentenced to three years in prison earlier this week on charges related to probation violation (related to earlier DUI charges).  The Delphi police have stated that, while Ron Logan is still “involved” in the investigation, they hesitate to attach the title “suspect” to him.  Ron Logan is the gentleman who owns the property on which Libby and Abby were found murdered, and a search in relation to the investigation was conducted on March 17, 2017–apparently turning up nothing but additional questions (for us internet sleuths, anyway).  When asked during sentencing if he’s thinking about the future, Ron Logan stated that perhaps in the future, someone won’t kill two teenage girls in his back yard.  I genuinely feel bad for the guy–but if I were him, I’d be thinking really hard about all the people who know how to navigate that property.

Sources:

WTHR
8 Weeks Since Delphi Murders
Search for Delphi killer continues

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.

 

Big Head

I.
Big Head looks through the garbage.
His paper was stolen and thrown away.
How will he sleep tonight?
He will not.

II.
Enis is his name.
It rhymes with something.
I cannot remember what.
Oh well.

III.
Big Head tries to fit his head
In the toilet to drown himself.
He cannot.
His head is too big.

IV.
Poor Big Head.
He will bring about the end of days
As his head will block out the sun.
It even appears on radar!

– From An Old Man’s Nocturnal Emissions
Randall Malus, c. 2000/2001

The Strange Case of Elisa Lam – Part 3 – Suicide Squad

So, it’s time to get back to some of those threads I’ve been pulling.  Please don’t mind the title.  I’m not trying to be flippant; I’m just using hooks which I feel are clever.

I’d like to mention three things before I begin:

First, a correction.  In my second Elisa Lam post, I indicated that the coroner’s report showed alcohol in Elisa’s heart blood.  This is false–it actually indicated trace amounts of alcohol in her bile.  My apologies for the error, and please note that the original article has been fixed.  With a case as murky as this, misinformation is certainly not necessary, nor welcomed.  One thing I did pick up on the second time around, though, is that the alcohol found was ethanol…or, drinking alcohol.

Second (and somewhat related to the above information), I followed up on the prescriptions Elisa Lam was taking for her illness: Wellbutrin, Lamictal, Seroquel, and Effexor.  I asked a friend of mine who has a degree in psychology and is somewhat of an expert on mental health pharmaceuticals what she thought of these meds.  She indicated that a doctor would rarely prescribe these together, and that if they did, the condition would have to be rather severe–so severe that she has never encountered a scenario where it would be prudent to prescribe these meds together.  Now, Elisa also had in her possession over-the-counter meds such as Sinutab and ibuprofin.  I was told that combining these over-the-counters with these prescription meds would be a horrible idea, and might result in erratic behavior or possibly crippling lethargy.  When I asked my friend about adding alcohol to this mix…well, she indicated that it would likely result in death…or, best case scenario, becoming quite intoxicated after pretty much one shot.  Interesting, yes?

Third, I’m typing this on a tablet right now, so if I say something that doesn’t make sense, let’s blame autocorrect and move on.

As I mentioned (what feels like) aeons ago, there are four possibilities as I see them regarding the fate of Elisa Lam:

  1. Her death was a suicide
  2. Her death was a murder (by isolated individuals)
  3. Her death was part of a gang initiation
  4. Her death truly was accidental

Now, I know what you’re all probably saying.  “Randall,” you’re saying right at this very moment, “you just listed all the possibilities that exist.  So…duh.”  And that’s a great point, actually.  I am taking into account the possibility that all these scenarios can be valid.  However, I’m also taking into account that all of these scenarios may not be valid in kind, as well.

If the last two sentences seemed like nonsense, that’s because they were–or, at least, seem that way without proper elaboration.  So, let’s take a look at each of these scenarios in isolation.

One caveat: I’m feeling long-winded, so these will each likely be separate posts.  Sorry but not sorry.

1. Suicide

Scenario: Elisa Lam, a mentally ill individual traveling alone in a strange country, becomes depressed or suffers a psychotic break.  She climbs to the roof of the hotel, opens the lid to one of the water tanks, and jumps inside, where she drowns.

Elaboration: Elisa Lam, by her own admission, suffered from bipolar disorder.

She took a number of different prescriptions for her condition, and was indeed prone to suffering from crippling depression.  As indicated above, a cocktail of these meds would be reserved for the most extreme (so extreme as to be unrealistic) of cases.

Some folks who view the elevator video feel that her actions in it are indeed indications of an addled state, which may be connected to a psychotic break of some sort.

Though it is likely she came across “friends” she met on the internet whilst traveling through California, she still traveled alone–and anyone who has ever done so will tell you that, while it certainly can be therapeutic, it is at times daunting, especially when visiting a land that is truly not your own.

Prior to her checking into the Cecil Hotel, she lost her phone.  Perhaps the stress of that loss, while seemingly inconsequential to a person possessing “normal” mental faculties, may seem like a life-shattering event to a young girl in a depressive state and a foreign land.

Arguing with Myself: This scenario is lacking for a few reasons, IMO.  First, the body language experts have indicated that her behavior in the elevator video was not to be viewed as particularly strange, but indeed she seemed to be mostly at ease and even excited/happy.  The family has stated she was never suicidal, and the coroner had no reason to believe she was, either.

But let’s presume they are wrong, and let’s examine the possibility of her having a psychotic break.  There are, literally, over a billion ways to commit suicide, with all of them easier and more pleasant than drowning oneself in a hotel’s rooftop water tank.  For one, the lid to said tank is commonly considered quite heavy.  Could a grown woman lift it?  Sure, but it would take some effort, and if she swung it open all the way, it couldn’t then be closed easily from the inside.

Getting to the top of the tank would be difficult…did she use a ladder that was propped up against a tank?  If not, she would have needed to gain access to the building behind and climb up.  At this point, why not just use a bath tub, or take a bus/taxi to the ocean?  For that matter, why not do what every other suicide at the hotel has done and just jump?

But let’s presume further that she wanted to be a trend-setter and do something different–that even in her broken mental state, she wanted to be…theatrical.

How did she get to the roof?  She didn’t use the main exit, because that would have set off an alarm.  She had to have used the window.  But access to the roof via the window isn’t easy to figure out on one’s own, and you either have to really be looking for it or someone who knows how to access it (like a tenant) would have to show you.  But, let’s presume she figured it out or was shown by a friend a night or two before.

When did she take off her clothes?  Was it while in the tank?  If that’s the case, why was there still sand (presumed to be from the roofing material) in her clothes?

Okay, so she took off her clothes while out of the tank.

Sure, but she would have either needed to take them in with her (to keep the sand on the clothing) or would have needed to throw them in after she entered the tank, which is impossible.

Okay, so she took them in with her.

But if the lid is that heavy, would she really have been able to one-arm the lid?  Maybe if she opened the lid all the way and then took a dip…but then we arrive again at the problem of a lid that’s nearly impossible to close from within the tank.  It just doesn’t add up.

Maybe it was suicide, but my gut is telling me that’s an improbable scenario.  She might have had mental issues, but killing herself like that would have at least required the help of a second person.

And this is a good place to leave off for the moment.

The Strange Case of Elisa Lam – Part Two

So, what ultimately became of Elisa Lam?

According to the coroner, she drowned.  Her death was ruled as “accidental”, and possibly relating to her mental condition.  According to the preliminary toxicology screen, she had no date rape drugs in her system, and no recreational drugs–save, perhaps, a trace amount of alcohol in her bile, but nothing that would suggest heavy intoxication (if at all).  She did have traces of her prescription medication, but nothing that would indicate an overdose.  There were no signs of physical trauma, though no notes were made regarding a rape kit.

Her family is suing the Cecil Hotel for wrongful death.

There are a few details I left out of my last post, as they were irrelevant and wouldn’t have made sense until now–plus, a later reveal adds to the suspense:

  • There are two things wrong with the elevator video linked in my last post.  Can you tell what they are?  Here, I’ll post it again.

    Care to tell me what time the video takes place?  That’s right–the time stamp is glitched.  Now, even though it’s largely illegible, the people at a place called TribalWatch have determined (just by the relation of some garbled characters to the others) that the time of this video is at 12:22 am on February 1, 2015.  In figuring this out, internet sleuths discovered something else interesting about the video (which is the aforementioned second thing wrong)…
    It’s missing a minute.
    Snipped.  Cut.  Right from the center of the video.
    It was released this way.  A four minute video was cut by a minute, and the rest was slowed down to make it fit back into that four minute mold.  A sped-up/comparison version has been created by youtuber Cody Fry:

  • Experts in body language reviewed the video at the behest of the family and police.  Their conclusion was that Lam’s behavior in the video wasn’t strange at all–it was excited, playful, and perhaps a bit provocative.  When she jumps out of the elevator, it seems that it’s to scare someone, as though playing a game of hide-and-seek.  When she presses all the buttons (many believe them to be the middle row of buttons), it’s in jest.  When she shows frustration, it’s not serious–the person she expected to come hasn’t yet come.  She fixes her hair, plays with her hands–possibly having a conversation with herself in preparation for some social gathering, or with someone just off-camera.  But for anyone who thought that she might have been running from something or someone (as I think everyone does at first), the experts disagree.
  • The elevator isn’t malfunctioning in the video.  The reason why it isn’t closing is because Lam pressed the hold button twice, and those familiar with the Cecil’s elevator system have said that it takes about two minutes for the door to close.
  • The roof (and, therefore, each of the four water tanks) is accessible through the fire escape, which is alarmed.  It is also accessible from the building behind the Cecil (which is raised above the roof of the Cecil slightly, allowing access to the water tanks as well), and through the Cecil’s old fire escape (out of the fourteenth floor hallway window, which is believed to be the floor Lam was on when the elevator video was taken), which is not alarmed.
  • The water tanks themselves are about four to eight feet in height, and are raised off the ground by cinder blocks.  The opening to each water tank is about one to two feet wide.  One has to use a ladder to get to the top, and there’s no ladder inside.  The lids to said openings are never locked, but are a bit heavy.
  • The clothing that was found in the tank with Lam’s nude body had enough sand-like material on it to be worthy of note.  The hotel roof is paved with such material.
  • The roof is supposed to be restricted, but maintenance people at the Cecil have noted finding empty beer bottles up there from time-to-time, as well as graffiti (on the water tank array).  The graffiti states: “Fecto cunt her suma”, which makes reference to an unknown woman being of questionable sexual morality.  Another tag saying the same thing is present elsewhere on the roof and dated 2012.
  • Lam’s blog continued to update for awhile after her disappearance and death, though this is likely due to scheduled updates (such as the one I’m posting right now).
  • The coroner’s report originally had “undetermined” listed as the cause of death, but this was later crossed out before it was submitted/released and replaced with “accidental”.
  • Some of the international guests in the hotel had been experiencing the putrid water for weeks, but, because they were not from the area, thought that that’s just how the water tasted/smelled in the United States–so they did not report the issue right away.

I think that’s everything.  Some weird things to note before I give my two cents:

  • There are a few (more than a few, actually) symbolic connections between the death of Elisa Lam and the movie Dark Water (2005).  A remake of a 2002 Japanese horror film, the movie follows a single mother, Dahlia (RE: Black Dahlia) and her daughter, Cecilia (RE: Feminine of Cecil) as they move into an old apartment complex.  Apparently, the tenants have been experiencing a problem with the water pressure.  At times, the water comes out black, and it has a terrible odor and taste to it.  The elevator malfunctions, as well, because there’s a ghost wandering the building.  SPOILER ALERT: There’s a dead girl in the water tank on the roof of the apartment.  See what I mean?
  • An outbreak of tuberculosis struck Skid Row’s homeless population scant weeks after Lam’s disappearance and death.  Skid Row, as mentioned in the last article, is just a couple of blocks away from the Cecil Hotel.  The connection?  The test used in determining whether these folks had tuberculosis or not was known as the LAM ELISA–which was short for some Latin something-or-other.  Weird, right?
  • There’s a game called the Elevator Ritual, whereby it is said a person can travel to another dimension.  It requires one to be alone on an elevator in a building with at least ten floors.  After putting traveling to a set number/sequence of floors, a woman enters the elevator on floor 5.  One is not to look at or speak with the woman.  At this point, the person enacting the ritual is to press the button for the first floor.  If the elevator travels up to the tenth floor instead, the ritual is a success, and the doors will open on a replica of the tenth floor of the building where you are, except the lights will be out and there will be a burning red cross visible in the distance from any windows.  To get back, you just re-enter the elevator you came in and go through the sequence again.  It is said that sometimes on the trip back, a person can black-out and wake up in an odd, unfamiliar place (but in our realm).  Is that why Lam pressed all those buttons?  Was she trying to play the elevator game–and lost?

All right.  So, allow me to address two of the above weird points: Dark Water and tuberculosis.  Some folks have suspected that, in the spirit of Yogi Berra, these points are just too coincidental to be a coincidence.  I disagree.

Anyone with a grasp of mathematical probability will tell you that miracles, in all probability, happen every single day.  So do coincidences.  The problem is that humans tend to concentrate only on what is similar and not enough on what is different.  Sure, it’s weird that the tuberculin test is the LAM ELISA–but it’s less weird when you consider that the name is short for something a lot longer, and in Latin.  It’s also weird that Elisa Lam was killed around the time that the outbreak happened, and in the general area of the outbreak.  You know what else is weird?  Elisa Lam, as far as anyone is aware, didn’t go into the Skid Row area…nor did she have tuberculosis.  Nor did anyone in the hotel catch tuberculosis from the water.  So…weird, yes.  A message from the killer(s)?  Not likely.

The same is true of the Dark Water connection.  For one, the movie, as stated, was a remake of a Japanese horror film, ala The Ring or The Grudge.  Therefore, the premise came from a writer (or set of writers) half a world away.  Second, Dahlia and Cecilia are not common names, but they’re not so uncommon as to strike me as out-of-place.  Third, the elevator at the hotel wasn’t malfunctioning, as mentioned–in the movie, it totally was.  Fourth, the victim in the movie is a young girl (Cecilia’s age) named Natasha…which is a far cry from 21 year old Elisa Lam.  Fifth…damn it, I can’t do this all night.  The point is that, again, we’re looking only at things that fit and casting out all the things that don’t–and there are so many things that just don’t fit.  Weird?  Yes.  A message or signature?  Not the way I see it.  And that brings us to the Elevator Ritual.

In the elevator video, Lam presses a number of buttons all the way down the row.  The top button doesn’t light up (the fourteenth floor), but the others do, all in a row.  Well, the Elevator Ritual states that you have to travel floors in a certain sequence, which involved going back to one floor after hitting, like, two others.  These floors that one must hit in sequence cross a three-button control panel set-up (which the elevator of the hotel has), and so hitting a bunch of buttons all the way down a row would mean that she lost the game automatically and would, therefore, go nowhere but to those floors.  No, she was playing round and excitedly hitting buttons (as a prank, most likely).

And I don’t think it was the Illuminati, either.  This is an option that I didn’t list above but has been bandied-about.  Guys, I’m sorry–I don’t believe that the Illuminati exists.  How can thirteen families control the world when one person has a hard time controlling a family of three?  I just don’t see it.  I especially don’t see such a group as being involved in the death/murder of a Canadian college student who was taking a semester off from school to travel and blog about fashion.

So, back to this question: What happened?

In my view, there are four options: Suicide, murder, gang initiation, and an accident.

Remember that suspense thing I was talking about earlier?  Well, now you know what I think.  I will tell you why in a later blog post.  In the meantime, check out the links below and tell me what YOU think and why!  Even if it involves MK Ultra and the Illuminati, I want to hear your theories–just be prepared to back them up with evidence and plausible scenarios.  I have an opened mind, and I’ve been known to be wrong before…so give me what you’ve got!

LINKS

Elisa Lam’s Tumblr Blog
EtherFields, Elisa Lam’s other blog
TribalWatch’s investigation
Body Language reading of elevator video
Autopsy report
Picture of roof graffiti

The following are episodes of a youtube series called BrainScratch which deal with the case.  They’re well-researched and are a good reader’s digest for further investigation.

Elisa Lam and the Cecil Hotel
Elisa Lam Part 2-Autopsy Report
Elisa Lam’s Manipulated Elevator Footage
Elisa Lam, Invisibility Cloaks and ILA
Elisa Lam Graffiti and Elisa #2