On the chilly winter afternoon of February 13th, 2017, two young girls headed out for a day of adventure in their small town of Delphi, Indiana. The trail the girls headed out on connected to the Moon High Bridge. The Monon High Bridge was a railroad bridge over Deer Creek that was no longer in use and in ill repair. The bridge had no railings, rotted railroad ties, and could have easily been the scene of a tragic accident. When one of the girls’ dads came to pick them up, the girls were nowhere to be found. This is the story of The Bridge: The Murders of Abigail Williams & Liberty German.
Delphi, Indiana is a small rural town in northern Indiana. In 2017, Liberty German and Abigail Williams were eighth grade students at Delphi Community Middle School. Abigail Joyce “Abby” Williams (pictured right) was born June 23rd, 2003, in Michigan. Abby played the saxophone in the school band and was a volleyball player. She enjoyed reading, camping, swimming, and being outdoors. Her best friend Liberty “Libby” German (pictured left) was born December 27th, 2002, in Lafayette, Indiana. Libby enjoyed volleyball, softball, soccer, and swimming. She also enjoyed Academic Bowl and was an honors student. The girls were great kids and were looking forward to high school.
On Sunday February 12th, Abby and Libby were looking forward to having that Monday off of school. They girls had a sleepover at Libby’s house Sunday night with plans to spend Monday together. Monday February 13th, Abby and Libby asked Libby’s older sister to take them out to Monon High Trail. The girls took sweatshirts as it was February in the Midwest. The girls were going to be picked up by a parent a few hours later. They headed off on the trail and to the bridge, a popular spot for area kids.
When the girls were to be picked up, they were nowhere to be found. Family and friends searched the trail and bridge, fearing the girls had fallen. Abby and Libby were reported missing at 5:30 pm. Friends of the girls reported that Libby had posted a photo of Abby walking on the bridge around 2pm that day. One of the friends took a screenshot of the SnapChat photo. In between 2 and 3 pm, something terrible happened. The girls were found nearby the trail, down a hill, the next day on February 14th, 2017. The girls had been murdered.
Police were tight lipped, as they should be with an open case. The girls’ deaths were ruled homicides, and police alluded to a sexual motive. The police officers were able to locate Libby’s cell phone where they found very importance evidence. Libby had sense of mind to record their attacker on her phone. A grainy image of a man walking on the bridge was shown to the media. He appeared to be a middle-aged man with his hands in his pockets, head down, and jacket and hoodie on. He was walking towards the girls.
The families Liberty German and Abigail Williams were beyond devastated by their loss. Delphi was not the kind of town associated with violent crimes. Citizens of the small-town lived-in fear that whoever killed Abby and Libby was still out there. All the children were in danger until the murderer was captured. When police released the first sketch of the suspect, based off the videos found on Libby’s phone, the image was circulated and widely publicized. Abby and Libby’s families prayed someone would recognize the face.
On February 22nd, police released an audio recording from Libby’s phone. On the recording, the voice of the suspect is heard, although muffled. He says eerily, “Down the hill”. The girls were found at the bottom of a hill. The voice of the killer was captured by his victim. Libby’s family was proud that Libby thought to record her attacker, but the pain of knowing she knew something bad was going to happen to her was unbearable. Despite how painful and difficult the evidence was to hear and see, it gave Libby and Abby’s families hope that justice would be served.
The first suspect in this case appears to be a man named Ron Logan, whose owned the property the girls were found on. In an affidavit for a search warrant filed in March of 2017, police state the bodies had been staged and a piece of clothing was taken from the girls. The police believed that the killer had blood on himself and took the clothing as a souvenir. The affidavit also states that Libby and Abby did not appear to struggle or fight with their killer. (Wilkins, 2022).
(Pictured: Logan compared to the images from Libby's phone)
While investigating Logan, police learned he had a history of violence. Two former girlfriends had reported domestic violence and death threats. Logan was seventy-seven but was apparently in good health and had no trouble walking. His build and stature were similar to the grainy image on Libby’s phone. According to the affidavit, Ron Logan lied to investigators and asked his cousin to tell investigators, if asked, that he picked Ron up between 2 and 2:30 pm on the day of the murders (Wilkins, 2022). Furthermore, cell phone records indicated Logan’s phone was in the area of the bridge on the day the girls died. However, this may be explained because the girls were found on his property.
In 2017, just after the murders, Ron Logan was interviewed by the media. He said “To have anyone murdered on your property… I don’t know what my feelings are right now. It caught me by surprise. I haven’t really had a chance to let it all soak in. I know the families” (Wilkins, 2022). Police searched Logan’s home, property, and digital devices. It is not clear what, if anything, was found. Police never filed charged against Ron Logan in connection with the murders. Ron Logan died in January of 2022 of Covid 19 (McBride, 2022).
The second suspect was a man named Daniel Nations, a registered sex offender from Indiana. He was arrested in September 2017 in Colorado after threatening people on a trail with a hatchet. His expired Indiana plates were noticed, and he also had an outstanding warrant. Nations was sentenced to three years of probation for the Colorado incident but was transferred back to an Indiana jail for failing to register as a sex offender. He was eventually ruled out as a suspect in the murder case.
Between 2017 and 2019, several other suspects and clues were investigated, but no arrests made. On April 19th, 2019, the investigators held a press conference where a second sketch was introduced. This sketch looked very different from the first sketch, upsetting and confusing the many people who had been searching for a middle-aged man as noted in the original sketch. This second sketch was of a clean shave and much young male. Police said they believed that the suspect lived or worked in Delphi and was between the ages of sixteen and forty years old. They stated he may appear younger than his actual age.
Despite the new sketch and confidence of the detectives at the press conference, no arrests followed. The search continued as Libby and Abby’s families struggled to move forward and find answers. The case remained open with not all details released since the investigation is ongoing. In April of 2021, a slimmer of hope reappeared when a man named James Brian Chadwell was arrested. The crime he was arrested for was horrific, leading many to believe he may be capable of the Delphi murders.
In 2021, Chadwell kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and attempted to murder a nine-year-old girl in Lafayette, Indiana. Given the proximity and similarities, Chadwell was identified as a person of interest in the murders of Abby and Libby. Chadwell’s own family said “He’s a monster, exactly. He’s an absolute evil person.” (Sorace, 2021). Family members voiced that they believed he was capable of the murders. Chadwell even looked similar to both sketches released by police. Despite this development, no arrest for the murders followed. James Chadwell was sentenced to ninety years in prison for the crimes against his nine-year-old victim (Wilkins, 2021). He won’t be eligible for parole until he is one-hundred and thirteen years old.
In July of 2021, police in Carroll County, Indiana imposed a ban on release of any information about persons of interest in the case, citing integrity of an open investigation (Adams & Mutascio, 2022). In December of 2021, police were investigating an online profile that was using a male model’s photos to attract young girls. The model was unaware his pictures were being used in the catfish scheme and was not a suspect. The profile, named anthony_shots, belonged to man named Kegan Kline.
Kegan Kline was arrested in August of 2020 for multiple crimes includes child exploitation, possession of child pornography, synthetic electronic deception, and obstruction of justice (Watson, 2021). The FBI had raised Kline’s property two weeks after the murder of Abby and Libby. He was found to have created a fake social media account in order to make contact and solicit young girls. One of the girls he talked to was Liberty German. Kegan lived in Peru, Indiana, and his fake account had been linked to Libby.
Digital forensic show that Kegan, using a fake name and photo, had been in contact with Liberty German, which he admitted to. They even talked on Sunday February 12th online and planned to meet up on the 13th, the day she was killed. Kegan says that despite being in contact with the girl, he knew nothing about her death (Dobkin, 2022). He said, “I literally have no clue how that girl died. I don’t know anything, anything to do with it. Yeah, that is a weird ass coincidence that I happened to talk to her, like, I get that” (Dobkin, 2022). He also stated that his father also had access to his account. The evidence shows he told someone online that he was supposed to meet up with Libby on that Monday, but she allegedly never showed up.
Despite the new leads, no arrest has yet been made in this case. Since the case remains open, many details are not known to the public in order to protect the investigation. In September of 2022, police in Indiana searched the Wabash River in Peru, two miles from Kline’s home. The search ended at the end of September, and it is not clear what evidence, if any, was discovered. Police continue to say Kline is a person of interest in the case and he remains jailed on child pornography and other charges.
Abigail Williams and Liberty German would have been in college now. Almost six years after the murder, justice has not been served yet. Some criticize law enforcement in the case. First, for the wildly different sketches released. Cadaver dogs were on their way from Missouri when the girls’ bodies were found. Instead of continuing the search with the bloodhounds for evidence, the dogs were sent back. The FBI allegedly failed to secure surveillance footage from a gas station in Delphi early in the investigation (Dobkin, 2022). The Superintendent of the Indiana State Police told Good Morning America in February of 2022 that they know who did this, but can’t yet make an arrest (Smith, 2022).
Abby and Libby’s families remember them and honor them through the L&A Park Foundation. The non-profit was created to oversee the construction of a $1 million dollar park that will include ball fields, playgrounds, and an amphitheater. Construction on the new park began in 2019. The park will give the youth in Delphi a safe place to hang out and enjoy the outdoors. The foundation was awarded a $50,000 grant from the NBA All-Star Legacy Grant. The L&A Park Foundation continues to accept donations to further the park project in memory of Abby and Libby. Perhaps inspired by her sister’s case, Kelsi German is attending Purdue University studying forensic science. If you have information on the murders of Abby and Libby, please contact the Delphi Police Department or the Indiana State Police.
Down the Hill (2021). Down the Hill: The Delphi Murders. Available on DiscoveryPlus