Photo of mysterious suspect prompts calls 'from everywhere' in Indiana teens' murder probe

A mysterious man in a photograph was labeled the suspect Sunday.

ByABC News
February 20, 2017, 10:08 AM

— -- A tip line set up by investigators after 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 spokesman for the Delphi Police Department in Indiana 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 outside Delphi near a creek, roughly three-quarters of a mile from an abandoned railroad bridge 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.

He had been labeled a person of interest, and police said he might be only a witness to the crime.

That changed yesterday afternoon.

"Since Wednesday, Feb. 15, 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.

The statement referred to preliminary evidence that led the police's attention to the man in the picture, without providing details.

"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.

"The people of Delphi are being very helpful," the spokesman said. "They are helping in any way that they can."

Thousands of people gathered in Delphi this weekend to take part in a memorial motorcycle ride for the two girls. Organizers estimated that more than 3,000 people took part in the ride on Saturday and hundreds of others watched, according to The Lafayette Journal and Courier, a local paper.

The paper said that the town's center overflowed with motorcycles and cars, with participants paying $20 per driver and $5 per passenger to ride from the Office Tavern Bar in Delphi to the Whiskey and Wine Saloon in nearby Monticello and that the funds were split between the victims' families.

ABC affiliate WRTV in Indianapolis reported that Delphi residents were applying purple ribbons to their homes and storefronts to show their support for the girls' families.

The affiliate also reported that several businesses in Delphi are hosting other fundraisers for the families.