Families of slain Indiana teens have faith killer will be caught

Abby Williams and Libby German were murdered in February.

ByEMILY SHAPIRO
May 8, 2017, 11:57 AM

— -- As two families in Delphi, Indiana, grieve the unsolved murders of eighth graders Abby Williams and Libby German, neither family has lost hope that police will catch the girls' killer.

On Feb. 13, Abby, 13, and Libby, 14, went for a hike and never came home. The next day, the girls were found dead near the hiking trail.

Now, more than two months later, no arrest has been made, and the only clues that have been released to the public are a photo of a man who police say is the prime suspect in the investigation and a chilling recording found on Libby's phone with just three audible words: "down the hill."

PHOTO: A photograph provided by the Indiana State Police of a subject who was on the Delphi Historic Trails, Feb. 13, 2017 around the time Abigail Williams and Liberty German were walking.
A photograph provided by the Indiana State Police of a subject who was on the Delphi Historic Trails, Feb. 13, 2017 around the time Abigail Williams and Liberty German were walking. The police are asking help from the public to help identify him so he can be contacted regarding what he might have seen.
Indiana State Police

But Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby has vowed to get justice, telling ABC News he's still very confident they'll find the girls' killer, he just doesn't know when.

Abby's mother, 33-year-old Anna Williams, told ABC News she's found a support system in her parents, with whom she and Abby lived.

"It's hard. ... They've been there to take care of her," she said of Abby's grandparents, crying. "I work two jobs and there were a lot of times that they were the ones here looking after her in the early mornings and the evenings after school."

PHOTO: An undated handout photo shows Anna Williams of Delphi, Ind., with her daughter, Abby Williams, who was murdered in Feb. 2017.
An undated handout photo shows Anna Williams of Delphi, Ind., with her daughter, Abby Williams, who was murdered in Feb. 2017.
Courtesy Anna Williams

It's difficult for her to confide in her friends, Williams said, explaining that with a criminal death, as opposed to an accidental one, "There is so much you can't talk about ... the grieving process is so much different."

Of her parents, she said, "Because they're here, I'm not alone."

But each time her daughter misses a milestone, Williams said she feels the sting of her loss. This weekend is the eighth grade semi-formal.

PHOTO: An undated handout photo shows Anna Williams of Delphi, Ind., with her daughter, Abby Williams, who was murdered in Feb. 2017.
An undated handout photo shows Anna Williams of Delphi, Ind., with her daughter, Abby Williams, who was murdered in Feb. 2017.
Courtesy Anna Williams

"That's hard," Williams said. "My coworker's daughter is in the same class and she's been talking about hair and dress and shoes.

"They're super excited. And part of me wants to ... see them and be excited for them, and the other part's just sad," she added. "As much as I would love to go over there and be happy ... I also don't want to bring down their day. It's their day. And to remind them of the girls not being there ... I don't want to bring anymore hurt than what they already had."

Reflecting on her daughter's short life, Williams described Abby as a happy kid who was passionate about band and volleyball, and who enjoyed a good childhood in this tight-knit community of nearly 3,000 people.

"She was not difficult. Somewhat outspoken, but very, very good at doing the things she was supposed to do," Williams said. "Very respectful, very kindhearted."

PHOTO: An undated handout photo shows Anna Williams of Delphi, Ind., with her daughter, Abby Williams, who was murdered in Feb. 2017.
An undated handout photo shows Anna Williams of Delphi, Ind., with her daughter, Abby Williams, who was murdered in Feb. 2017.
Courtesy Anna Williams

While Abby tried many sports as a child, volleyball was the first she really stuck with -- and she excelled at it, her mother said.

"It didn't seem to matter what position she was in," she said: Abby wasn't afraid and she was a good team player.

"I was really looking forward to seeing some [volleyball] summer camps happens this year for her," Williams said.

It was volleyball that bonded Abby and Libby together as close friends in sixth grade, Libby's grandmother Becky Patty said. They grew so close that Abby went on Libby's family vacation last year, Williams said.

They were both "good kids that didn't get into trouble, that genuinely cared about other people more so than themselves," Williams said.

PHOTO: An undated handout photo shows Libby German of Delphi, Ind., who was murdered in Feb. 2017.
An undated handout photo shows Libby German of Delphi, Ind., who was murdered in Feb. 2017.
Courtesy Becky Patty

Libby, who was raised by her paternal grandparents since she was 3 years old, loved her friends, Patty, 57, told ABC News. She took advanced classes and had a passion for volleyball, softball and soccer, Patty said.

Libby was "a positive person that would have made a difference in this world," Patty said. "No doubt in my mind."

PHOTO: An undated handout photo shows Libby German of Delphi, Ind., who was murdered in Feb. 2017.
An undated handout photo shows Libby German of Delphi, Ind., who was murdered in Feb. 2017.
Courtesy Becky Patty

Patty said she's coping with her grief by "throwing herself" into the planning of a permanent memorial for the girls in the form of a softball field. She said they are looking to raise $500,000 to build the field.

"We lost her. We can't bring her back," Patty said. "Even when we find this guy, even when he is put away, that's not gonna bring Libby back. We just want to make sure those girls are remembered forever, that they didn't die in vain."

But it's not just the two families reeling -- it's the whole town.

Williams said Carroll County was always a safe community and she never worried about Abby getting off the bus and being home alone for several hours.

"That's not how it is anymore," she said. "People don't let their kids play outside ... the little ones don't understand that. ... that's a hard conversation to have with a 9-year-old, to explain to them that there are bad people out there."

PHOTO: Photos of Abby Williams, left, and Libby German, right, at police headquarters in Delphi, Indiana.
Photos of Abby Williams, left, and Libby German, right, at police headquarters in Delphi, Indiana.
Lindsey Jacobson/ABC News

"I hate seeing my friends -- basically their kids are sleeping in the beds with them," Williams added. "The kids are afraid. The parents are afraid."

With the killer still on the loose, Indiana State Police said a reward has climbed to over $234,000.

PHOTO: A sign in Delphi, Indiana, for teens Abby Williams and Libby German, who were killed in Feb. 2017.
A sign in Delphi, Indiana, for teens Abby Williams and Libby German, who were killed in Feb. 2017.
Lindsey Jacobson/ABC News

As the families grieve, both Williams and Patty say they are confident the girls' killer will be caught.

"I know that they're [law enforcement is] going to do this. I believe them when they say today's the day and they're not gonna stop," Williams said. "Our faith in the detectives and the local department and our faith in God. Between those two, we're gonna get 'em."

"I have faith," Patty added. "I have faith and I'm thankful to law enforcement, to the media, to all the private individuals helping. Between everybody, I'm confident we can catch him."

People can provide information by calling the tip line at (844) 459-5786. Information can be reported anonymously. Tips can also be emailed to abbyandlibbytip@cacoshrf.com.

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