Teens who went missing during hike found dead; police seek man in photo

Posted at 10:51 PM, Feb 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-15 22:51:58-05

Police released this photo of a man they are trying to identify after the bodies of two missing Indiana teens were found near a hiking trail. (Indiana State Police)

DELPHI, Ind. – Police released an imageof a man they say was walking along an Indiana trail at the same time as two teenagers whose bodies were found Tuesday.

Investigators want to talk to him about what he may have seen at the Delphi Historic Trails Monday, the day that 14-year-old Liberty German and 13-year-old Abigail Williams disappeared.

Police have launched a double homicide investigation after an autopsy report confirmed the two bodies found in Delphi, north of Indianapolis, are the two missing teens, officials said at a press conference Wednesday.

A volunteer searching for the girls discovered the bodies on private property about 50 to 60 feet from a creek, not far from where the girls were last seen, according to WXIN.

Officials said the bodies were transported to Terre Haute where a coroner conducted the autopsies that confirmed their identities. Amid an ongoing investigation, officials declined to release the girls' cause or manner of death.

Police said they do not have any suspects in custody as of Wednesday afternoon, but they do not believe there is a threat to the community.

"There is someone out there that did this crime and we’re going to track them down," Sheriff Tobe Leazenby said. “Folks should continue with business as usual but be more mindful and watch your surroundings a little closer.”

Officials believe this is the first double homicide investigation in Carroll County.

Sgt. Kim Riley said parents should keep a close eye on their children. "I think people need to be cautious and careful," Riley said. "Parents should make sure they know where their children are and what their children are doing, and if nothing else, know what's going on in their lives. That's the most important thing I can say at this point in time."

The bodies were discovered along the edge of Deer Creek in Delphi which is about a half-mile away from the Monon High Bridge, the last place the two girls were seen Monday afternoon. They were supposed to meet family members later that evening, but when the teens didn’t show up, their relatives called police.

The girls' disappearance led to a large search involving numerous volunteers and several law enforcement agencies. Riley said police all the way from Lowell, Indiana to Fort Wayne, Indiana helped with the investigation.

Delphi Community Schools Superintendent Gregory Briles said counselors will be available for students and staff Wednesday. All after school activities have been canceled for the remainder of the week at Delphi Community Middle School.

“It is a small community and the community is going to wrap its arms around these families and is going to take very good care of them,” Briles said.

Administrators also plan to step up security until police release more details about the investigation.

Authorities are asking anyone with information to call the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department at 765-564-2413, the Delphi Police Department at 765-564-2345 or the Indiana State Police at 765-567-2125. Callers can remain anonymous.