INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A year after two northern Indiana teenage girls vanished during a hiking trip and were later found slain, police investigating the unsolved killings hope the crime's anniversary spurs a wave of tips that can help lead them to an arrest.
State Police Superintendent Doug Carter planned a Tuesday news conference at the wooded, roadside site where 14-year-old Liberty German and 13-year-old Abigail Williams began their hike to reiterate authorities' commitment to solving the crime and renew their plea for tips.
State Police Sgt. Kim Riley said police hope to reach people who might have "solid tips" about the crime but haven't passed those onto investigators for some reason.
"We want people to look at themselves and say, 'This is something that I've not told — something I've heard or seen — and it's time for me to pass that on,'" Riley said Tuesday. "We need to solve this case, to get this person off the street."
German and Williams vanished last Feb. 13 while hiking a trail near their hometown of Delphi, a city about 60 miles (95 kilometers) northwest of Indianapolis known for its local trails. Their bodies were found the next day in a rugged, wooded area.
Investigators have released two grainy photos of the suspect and an audio recording of a man saying "down the hill" — evidence that came from German's cellphone.
And last July, an FBI artist's composite sketch of the suspect was released that depicts a white man with a prominent nose and a goatee and wearing a cap and what appears to be a hooded sweater. Police said the suspect has reddish-brown hair, stands between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-10 (1.7 and 1.8 meters) and weighs between 180 and 220 pounds (82 and 100 kilograms).
Riley said authorities had received more than 30,000 tips about the case to date, and still receive several tips daily.
There's a $240,000 reward for information leading to an arrest or arrests in the case, money donated by the public and businesses in and around Delphi, a city of about 3,000 residents that's the Carroll County seat.
County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby said investigators working out of the Delphi City Hall "don't consider this a cold case at all — far from it." But he said they do become frustrated at times that they haven't made an arrest.
Friends and relatives of German and Williams planned a candlelight vigil Tuesday evening at Delphi United Methodist Church to remember the girls, thank law enforcement for their work and also reflect on their feelings about the tragedy.
"This is still unsolved and there's a pain that goes with that," said Pastor Todd Ladd.
The police tip line for the case is 844-459-5786. Tips can also be reported by emailing Abbyandlibbytip@cacoshrf.com. State Police website on Delphi killings: http://www.in.gov/isp/delphi.htm