It was a cool February day in Delphi, Indiana. The crisp afternoon air seemed perfect for a hike, with temperatures in the mid 40’s, but the sun cutting away some of the chill factor. Best friends, Abigail Williams and Liberty German, or Abby and Libby as often called by friends and family, loved adventure, and an afternoon hiking the historic Delphi trail seemed like the perfect place to spend an afternoon filling up their snapchat stories. A family member offered to drop them off near the Monon high bridge, and they promised they’d be in the same spot to be picked up later.
13- year old Abby and 14-year old Libby hiked the trails, enjoying taking silly snaps of each other on the Monon bridge. It was quiet, few other hikers and passersbys on a Monday afternoon. During the weekends, the 10-mile groomed historic trails were filled with the energy of people – hikers and exercisers with children or dogs in tow. But not on Monday afternoon, when most people are in work or school. It was quiet, secluded and the perfect place for a loner to hang out, unnoticed, waiting for an opportunity.
If you’ve ever been along the Delphi trails, it’s impossible to imagine any danger lurking. The 19th century tow path has several interesting features. It winds past the Wabash and Erie canal, a shipping canal that once linked the Great Lakes to the Ohio River, goes past several historic homesteads, an Irish construction camp and two restored iron bridges. A few blocks away you have Main street, gas stations, shops and restaurants. It’s a place you could drop two young girls for an afternoon hike and pick them up later.
On the afternoon of February 13th, 2017, young Abby and Libby disappeared from the Delphi Hiking Trails. Foul play wasn’t suspected, after all, chances were the girls got lost and it would be a couple of hours before they were found safe, returned to their families. Instead, the unthinkable. At noon the next day, two bodies of young girls were discovered a half a mile from the Monon Bridge, along a creek. It was Abby and Libby.
Let’s take a step back to the night before, when Abby and Libby were hiking along the bridge, on that quiet Monday afternoon. Shortly into their adventure, sharing stories to their snapchat for their friends to see, they noticed something out of the ordinary. A man in a heavy jacket and hoodie, walking along the trail, hands in his pocket. We can’t know for certain what it was that tipped Abby and Libby off, but something about the man creeped them out. Libby started recording video and taking photos of the man with her phone. They both felt his presence was concerning, enough to document his presence. Just in case.
The police released photos and audio in a desperate attempt to solve the case and bring Abby and Libby’s killer to justice. The audio was of a man saying “down the hill” and the description of the man from the video was a a white male between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing between 180-220 pounds with reddish brown hair. Over 18 thousand tips were received, with no success. For months, the case when unsolved, threatening to go cold on investigators. Who – or what – could have harmed two young girls hiking in the woods? Was it the man in the photos?
To date, it has not been released to the public how the girls died, even though thorough autopsies were conducted. But the latest break in the case, an arrest in colorado, might shed some gruesome light on what might have happened that fateful night.
On Monday, September 25th, 2017, a man matching the description of the Delphi murder suspect was arrested. For what? Threatening people with a hatchet on a trail in Monument, Colorado. Daniel Nations, 31, fits the description of the Delphi murder suspect to a T – even down to his reddish brown hair. He’s a registered sex offender and the kicker – his vehicle had expired Indiana license plates, giving him ties to the delphi murder case.
Along with all of this, Nations is also a suspect in the shooting death of a bicyclist in early september 2017. It has been reported that a gun taken from Nations’ car matched the caliber used to kill the cyclist, Tim Watkins.
Authorities say there’s a lot of similarities between the Colorado incidents and the Delphi murders, but are not revealing any other details as the case is still ongoing. Could this hatchet be the key to solving the Delphi murders. Or perhaps the gun that was found in Nation’s car? It’s impossible to know for sure, but maybe the key to putting a killer behind bars is the very video captured by Abby and Libby.