Photo of mysterious suspect prompts calls ‘from everywhere’ in Indiana teens’ murder probe
A tip line set up by investigators in the murder of two Indiana teens who disappeared while hiking is filling up with calls from across the country after a man photographed on a nature trail was named a primary suspect in the killings, police said.
"Everyone is calling us from everywhere," a spokesperson for the Delphi Police told ABC News.
The bodies of the two girls — Liberty Rose Lynn German, 14, and Abigail Jay Williams, 13, both of Carroll County — were found last Tuesday near a creek, roughly three-quarters of a mile from an abandoned railroad bridge, near Delphi, Indiana, where they were dropped off Monday to go hiking.
Indiana State Police named a man in a photograph as the primary suspect in the double homicide investigation yesterday afternoon, but nothing is known about him at this time outside of a single image.
Previously, he had been labeled a person of interest, and police said he might only be a witness to the crime.
That changed yesterday afternoon.
"Since Wednesday February 15th, law enforcement officers have distributed a photo of a person observed on the Delphi Historic Trail. The photo appears to depict a white male wearing blue jeans, a blue coat/jacket, and a hoodie," a statement from the Indiana State Police read.
Investigators told ABC News that a search warrant was executed at a home in Delphi on Thursday night, but it did not yield anything of value to the investigation.
State police referred to "preliminary evidence" that led their attention to the man in the picture, without detailing what it was.
"During the course of the investigation, preliminary evidence has led investigators to believe the person, in the distributed photo, is suspected of having participated in the murders of Abigail Williams and Liberty German," the statement added.
The case has garnered great attention in the otherwise peaceful area of rural Indiana from which the girls disappeared.
Today, police told ABC News that people in the small city of Delphi bonded together following the tragedy and have been extremely helpful to the investigation.
"The people of Delphi are being very helpful," the spokesman said. "They are helping in any way that they can."
Thousands gathered in Delphi this weekend to take part in a motorcycle memorial ride to commemorate the lives of the two girls.
Organizers for the motorcycle rally estimated that more than 3,000 people took part in the ride on Saturday, while hundreds of spectators watched, according to the Lafayette Journal and Courier, a local paper.
The paper said that the downtown area of the small city overflowed with motorcycles and cars, who registered for $20 per driver and $5 per passenger to ride from Office Tavern Bar in Delphi to Whiskey and Wine Saloon in Monticello, and that the funds were split between the families of the two victims.
ABC affiliate WRTV in Indianapolis reported that residents of Delphi were applying purple ribbons to their homes and storefronts to show their support for the victims and their families.
The affiliate also reported that several local businesses in Delphi are hosting fundraisers for the families.