DELPHI - When police released new evidence Monday in the February 2017 double homicide investigation involving two Delphi teenagers, one piece in particular seemed to catch the public’s attention.
Five months after the bodies of Libby German, 14, and Abigail Williams, 13, were found around the Monon High Bridge area near Delphi, police released the composite sketch of a man they believed responsible for their deaths.
The sketch appeared to show a man that police described at the time as having reddish brown hair, measuring between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing between 180 to 220 pounds. The man in the image was also wearing a hat, though police stated it wasn’t clear if that was indeed the case.
In a July 2017 interview with the Associated Press, Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby stated that the sketch was based in part on descriptions provided by someone who saw the suspect around the time the girls went missing, as well as an image that was taken from German’s cell phone of an unidentified man walking along the bridge around that same time.
During a press conference in Delphi on Monday, police released an updated sketch of that same man, though the images appear to look very different.
Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter stated on Monday that the original sketch will now become secondary to the newly released one, though he did not elaborate as to how and why the new sketch was created.
Former Kokomo Police Department Chief Lynn Rudolph said that he did not want to speculate on the Delphi investigation, but he did say that he also believes there is a big difference between the two images.
“You ever see a picture of you when you’re getting ready to play golf or go to the prom or go to a birthday party, and you really like that picture?” he said. “But then you see another one of yourself that you don’t like? That’s what it boils down to. It made me think they got a better view somehow.”
Rudolph also said the sketch police released on Monday is a better and more detailed picture and that technology and different techniques might have helped enhance the photograph police were able to obtain of that man.
And while police sketches can greatly assist investigators in a case like Delphi, Rudolph said that they’re still not an exact science.
“It’s just something that works as an aid,” he said. “It’s hard to find something that’s exactly perfect, but it is going to be helpful. I can’t see them doing something that they don’t think will be helpful to them and their investigation.”
So why release that new sketch now?
Rudolph said it’s really all about generating tips.
“That’s what they’re looking for,” he said. “They’re looking for tips and places to go, and when I say that, I mean the right direction. It’s all about direction. They’re trying to solve the case is what they’re trying to do. And they’re looking for any and all the help they can get. This gives people the ability to see a better view of that face. Anything like that is going to spur a memory that may lead them [police] in the right direction.”
And generating tips is exactly what has happened so far.
According to an ISP press release, police have received over 1,000 tips in the 24 hours since Monday's press conference, with more than 800 of them being through email.
If you have information regarding the Delphi double homicide case, you are urged to contact the tip email address at Abbyandlibbytip@cacoshrf.com or call the tip line at 844-459-5786.