Chapter 1: A Walk On The Bridge


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No one ever tells uh to see some of the people and places we'll be talking about this season and to learn more about the case. visit our website down the hill. PODCAST DOT COM sir. What does it mean to you to see this memorial when you come out here? There's intersections tough for me. Always be tough for me. I closed my eyes and I can see him. You know I can see it. Came from the left side over here and that joking and cutting up like two younger who do probably probably and then they turn left in the world's about to change turn right not left however it is and whoever it was has stared at this nature reserves. I just like we right now. I know that even the first first day right here stood right here. You're the top COP in the state of Indiana. This happened in broad daylight light. How unusual is that aspect? I don't ever remember anything like this in my entire a business thirty five years and I don't remember anything quite like this. This is is just different for so many reasons. Just so many things have caused us to be different. And it doesn't minimize any other loss of of a child or of the MOM or dad or for anger anybody but the totality of this is different. Doug Carter is certain absolute absolutely without a doubt we all know that murders go unsolved all the time. That's a familiar story. But here's why the murders of Abigail Williams and liberty German thirteen and fourteen years old are different. We can see who did it. We can hear who did it but we still don't know I know who did it. Delphi Indiana is a small place just north of Indianapolis with about three thousand people. They'll tell you this kind of thing doesn't happen here and they were right until it did. We're approaching the bridge. Now what do you see as you look at it him. I can seem standing right out. There can seem standing right out there. Feel the same way every time I come here. Gosh Dang it look back this way. You'll see them walking here. You can see you can see just doing the girls do. Yeah Golan listen so quiet so peaceful then what occurred right down there just beyond evil beyond what you can unplug the human mind understand. There's a reason this all happen. It is not just. I just don't know what it is slow as you stand here today. Are you convinced. Instant this cases solvable. Yes took one hundred percent. One hundred percent Nearly three years and close to fifty thousand tips later the murders of Abbey and Livy. That's what their friends and family call them are still unsolved. Investigators say the man who did this maybe living among them in Delphi sitting next to them in church in line at the grocery store what what happened on the bridge in those woods that day as he'd done it before will he do it. Again is a lot of evidence a lot of tips. Why isn't this solved? Police swear their one tip away from doing just that. Who has it and will they ever come forward over? The course of the next eight chapters were going into explore those questions with the people living. Let's get started. Police are also examining this snapchat. APD Chat photo. It was taken just before both girls disappeared the announcement that the girls have been found not to a good end. We are investigating a in crime scene. We suspect foul play. Law Enforcement is saying that one of the girls actually took video on her iphone. They say it was right before she was murdered. TWO WE HAVE A. We have a still photograph. We have sound they. We don't have this person's it could be a half the white males and Carroll County to killer who may be in this room we likely interview. We know that this is about power to you and you want to know what we know. One day you will. This is down the hill. The Delphi murderers home. I'm Girardin here at C. N. N. Center in Atlanta Georgia. And I'm one of the hosts of this podcast alongside Barbara McDonald the other host and I'm Dan Autobahn producing the show and before we get started there are thousands and thousands of murders that go unsolved. What is it about this one? Why are we telling this story? I think that the answer is easy for me. It's the imagery and I've I've worked since two thousand five hundreds of crime stories his and sometimes some just pop others. Just go along the rest of the way this one for me the imagery. I don't remember a case having that and that that's it's really what jumped out at me and I remember those early days and a lot of people were kind of captured by this story when it happened and I think for me what it was is the fact that this happened and on a Monday afternoon in broad daylight and parents always tell their kids go in numbers go together. You're safer that way. These two girls together and none of that matters. I'm coming into the story later later. Then both of you you you were there for for the beginning and when I first heard about this and I started hearing the details details. Wow how how is this possible when I say that I mean there's so many things about this case that don't make sense the biggest of which is why isn't this off the surface you look at what's been put out there by authorities the information available and that includes a picture of the killer a video. The killer audio you of the killers voice. We don't wear this crime happened. We don't win. This crime happened but somehow this has been solved. It's like a giant ink blot and the more you look at it the more you learn about it you see different things. It changes your perspective and five people can look at this this evidence and see dozens of different scenarios. It can be literally it can be whatever you want it to and you know when you look at the photos in if if someone will say oh I see X.. Since yeah sure but I also see why and so. There's no definitive answers to any of these possibilities disabilities one thing we do know. Is that all mysteries. Have Solutions and we're not trying to solve this case. We are trying to make sense of it and we're going to take you there to Delphi over over the course of the next eight chapters and we're going to introduce you to the people who lived this and some of them have never told their story before you're going to hear people who never were asked asked to tell their story and others were far too traumatized until now to be able to talk about it. I think a lot of times in cases like this. There's a lot of focus on the family as there should should be in. There is one of the things that's interesting I think about how we're GONNA unfold. This story is that there's a ripple effect that occurs when something like this happens happens and especially in a community like Delphi. You've got the you know school kids who are trying to wrestle with the fact that there's an empty desk in their class there are teachers who are trying to figure out how. How do I talk to the class? About what just happened. Because they're not prepared so we're going to actually get out into that. Community talked to some of those people in. It's really interesting to hear the how this is affected them in the ripple effect that that's all had on them and we're going to walk some of those key locations as well all in the service of really trying to answer two questions. What the hell happened out there? Can this be solved Leland understand. You won't understand. We want these pieces to make sense and as you come along with us and see those shapes keeps in how they may or may not fit together. You'RE GONNA have your own opinions too and they may change will change. But I you have to know what happened Part one take a jacket. I was at home and I had had posted that they were at the High Bridge and actually told my dad. I was just telling him about how I wanted to go there and I thought it was so beautiful because it is. It's stunning there. And you're just having a conversation about them. Being there February thirteenth thirteenth. Two thousand seventeen was on Monday a warm Monday in fact the kind of winter warm when kids don't wear jackets and parents demand they take them just in case it was the start of the week schools in Delphi would normally have been in session that day but on this day they weren't so abby and Libya had a sleepover. Our story begins Monday morning. With Libya's older sister Kelsey. It was a snow makeup day that day. So that means saw there. Hadn't you've been a lot of snow and we had an extra day that we got off of school so they just made it a long weekend for us so I didn't go into work until like nine or ten in the morning Kerry Tim Libyan Chelsea's mom and just to clear up any confusion. She lives two hundred sixty two miles away in Kentucky. She's he's a tough woman with a tattoo sleeve on her left arm in tribute to her daughter Libby and every morning I'd send Chelsea and libby to good morning have a good day. You know snap chat text message. Something I'm GonNa had done that that morning but the girls on the bus went about my normal getting ready for work and left and libby message to be back snapchat and she was in her bed and I was like doing in bed. It's like nine o'clock or whatever that morning I woke up late and planned to go to my boyfriend's house and help him clean out his truck that they were getting ready to sell and then after we cleaned it out he was going to go to work and I was GonNa win at his house and then go to help go to work myself dating. Get up until probably close to ten or so and they wanted pancakes. This is becky patty before we get too far. We should acknowledge the family. Only dynamics are complicated here. Becky and her husband. Mike are Kelsey and Libya's grandparents and also their legal guardians and you'll hear are a lot from them over the course of this story but Kelsey and Libya's dead Derek also lives with them so derek made them pancakes for breakfast and then later on libby come out she was bored. What can we do? You know Kelsey came out and said that she. She was going to a friend's house and then she had to work. And so I went upstairs and it got started getting ready in our bathroom and I. I'd very much remember her. Opening the door. Really wide with abby behind her as I'm getting dressed and she's like Hake House doing go to hybrids today day and I'm like obviously getting ready to leave. I can't take a day and a little later. I was like I have really been saying. No Oh to her a lot lately so I went downstairs I said hey if you can find a ride and guns says yes I will take you and she ended up asking grandma and grandma atmosphere yes and then she called my dad to pick her up. And that's when I agreed to take her and then she said that her dad would pick her up so I said Okay and that's when they were getting ready to leave and libby was standing at the door. And that's when I told her to that. You need to take a jacket kids. It's Nice but you know who knows you need to take jacket. And that's when she looked at me and said it's okay. Great one gave me that smile and off. They went so when we left was sitting up front and the back neither of them had brought sweatshirts which was really confusing to me so I actually ran back inside and got abby on of mine and Libby had one in my accede since she always rode with me so I made them take those. And then we turned higgins by twenty one pilots up really loud and they had the windows down and we were seeing to it in. It's not a super far drive so we got there. The pretty quick it felt like and then we stopped at the entrance to high bridge and made sure they both have the sweatshirts. I told them to take approach and I loved her and I watched the mock way. ooh THE MON ON HIGH RAILROAD BRIDGE STRADDLES DEER CREEK CREEK. It's technically abandoned. Its Rickety and the gaps between the railroad ties are wide but you can still get there from the trails in the area and a lot of people do. It's all over. INSTAGRAM and snapchat. Chelsea and libby went out there lot. They were both into photography and and staff there. There's they've got all kinds of pictures of that. They used to go out there and take and do so. It wasn't uncommon and we knew that there had been some other kids out there because when she had asked Kelsey had talked to her friend and she'd been she was had was out there as a matter of fact. I thought when they went there Derek called remember. He's Kelsey and Libya's Dad. There's about three thirty he said I'm here at trail head and blow. He's not answering her phone. He said I found lots going on and that he was gonNA walk around and he said you call she answers for you so I started calling and texting and nothing happened so Tara Tara is lives and then so Tara I said hey you you know Utah so we were taking turns trying and texting and calling and and there was no answer or anything so by a little before four. I said we probably need to go look for and Taras Walk. Walk go on and I called Mike or can said Libby. They're out the trails and they're not answering Levy's not answering our phone. We're going to go and start looking for him and he said well. Let me finish up here and I'll I'll be there so I thought well there's two different ways if they decided to walk home and they could have come so we drove both different ways from there that they could have possibly walked and they weren't there so then we got we got to the trail head and parked. There was at that time. There were several cars there and I had the perfect cross the road and kind of the ditch and my phone started during but I wasn't paying attention to it. It was on the other side of the room charging and then it rang again so I was like okay. Something must be wrong so I went over and checked it. It was my grandma and she was freaking out she. She couldn't find libby anywhere and she wasn't answering or foam was really unlike Louis to do something like that. So I I think in my mind I was like. Oh she lost her her phone or she must have fell in on the other side of the bridge. Because I know that they probably cost it Because I know libby but I didn't think the Abbey we would have so. I was a little weird to me but I was. I was sure that there was a logical explanation and newest just some fluke that happened. Liberty's Mom Kerry at work back in Kentucky gets a call while Kelsey and I would talk back and forth with snapchat or Messenger or whatever. It was not normal for her to call me but I was at work. And we're not supposed to be on our phones. So I sent a voicemail and I immediately like hit a text are about to get off work. Call you in just a minute or something to that effect and she sent me a message immediately back that say call me right now. It's it's it's an it's an emergency it's important very important or something so I just without even thinking grabbed up my stuff and clocked out told him I was leaving. I still probably had five minutes is left. Whatever I didn't care I got out to the car and I called her back and she almost funny now she said actually? I think I laughed when she said it's me she said. Have you seen Livy now. I'm like two hundred and sixty fifty five miles away and I kind of know you haven't seen liberty. What are you talking about? And she said mom we can't find libby and and honestly I felt too many. I what do you mean finally Back in Delphi. While Williams is wrapping up a shift waiting tables. Her phone is ringing and ringing and ringing. Anna is Abbie's mom. She had her when she was nineteen and in many ways two of them grew up together and some of those calls are from Libya's grandmother Becky Patty because I'd seen missed calls and that was five five thirty. It was kind of early in the evening and she was like the girls are out on the walk and a whole jar. Bill things is going on. She's like but we're down to sheriff's department. I'm like okay. I'm on my way and checked out the couple of customers I had and I remember feeling a a slight bit like strange but not like overly panicked. I just told them the girls I was like adding libby. were out on a walk doc. Apparently they're missing. I gotta go down to the sheriff's department was like okay. Well let us know what's going on and just make sure everything's Okay and I'm like Yep no problem seal awhile well I'll be back tonight but I'll see what I can do. Abbey's grandmother Diane. Her skin was already having a rough day so I went to work and and when I before I left work on my coworker said you know you don't seem your solve today's everything okay and I said well you know no actually I lost my friend Jamie. Today and the kids called her aunt Janey she never had any children of her own so she kind of adopted our family and just just before I got home in a call and said he just want you to know the girls are missing and I knew what she said the girls. She's talking Abby and Libby because I knew abby condescending night live's family was scattered across Carroll County Kelsey at her boyfriend chases house and Becky on the way to the bridge with Libya. hyung-chol cody like nothing wrong. Nothing wrong. It's just grandma overreacting always then me. And Cody crossed the bridge. ENJ and we're looking in the woods and we couldn't find them anywhere that's when I started to realize something was really wrong. I was yelling her name so that she could hear me and I hope that she did hear US searching What we were? We were doing everything we could to see. If they were down in the areas we thought they would be Mike. Patty is Libya's grandfather and Becky's husband. He's a half an hour away at work in Lafayette. I didn't realize realize that the urgency of it you know it was like okay. Maybe he's not answering the phone or either it went dead or she's out running around with a bunch of kids leads. You know doing whatever but when I did wrap up became straight there and like I said I started walking on the trails as well And then I called the police and within literally within minutes by the time I called him and said Hey we've got a situation in here. We need some help. I got back on the trails and started walking up towards the Freedom Bridge. The Freedom Bridge is a completely separate bridge from the one at the center of this story. Story it straddles. The hoosier heartland highway and isn't far from where Abbie and libby were dropped off by the time I got to the Freedom Bridge. I ran into two officers that that was out there walking as well so they reacted you know just really quick and continued to walk on the trails and then ended up meeting back up at the police station at some point. Because I knew becky was there so we're back here. CNN Center in our production room and bar. I don't know about you but one of the things that's striking to me. When when you hear these family members talking about those first couple of hours is that there are varying levels of concern and I you know I said earlier to someone i? I can't help but think about my parents. If it were me there'd be two very different approaches. My Dad would be calm cool collected. My mother would be in a state of media in some of that is personality. I mean in this case we have Anna. Who isn't real concerned at this point? She's it's a little concerned but she thinks maybe they're lost. It'll all work out. Mike is kind of feeling the same way our item on my way but disarray probably resolve itself. And then you have Kelsey libby sister who is like no. There's something not right here. This is odd and one one of the things that jumps out to me about that. Is that usually the people that are younger and Kelsey has held at this point. Seventeen seventeen. They're usually the ones that are saying like no no no. It's fine mom freaking out. Everything's GonNa be fine so it was kinda striking that her I thought was. There's something not ready. And then you have these two grandmothers Diane a an already having a bad day having lost the family friend and Jamie just that morning to cancer and Becky who for what I understand she's kind of prone to freaking out she's completely freaking out at this point and so this is the backdrop and the precursor to as everybody kind of makes their way way into the woods that evening to start this frantic search. Hey everyone it's Dan simply safe home. Security is the highest level of security. You can have with. Police dispatch up to three hundred and fifty percent faster than a normal burglar alarm with simplisafe. You get comprehensive protection for your home outdoor cameras and doorbells alert you to anyone approaching your home and entry motion and glass break. Sensors guard the inside. If there's a break in they use real video evidence just to give police an eye witness accounts of the crime plus simply safe protects your home from fire water damage and carbon monoxide poisoning to and it's all monitored that are twenty four seven by live security professionals. You can set it up yourself no tolls needed or they can do it for you. It's only fifty cents per day with no uh-huh contracts you'll get free shipping and a sixty day risk-free trial you've got nothing to lose. Go now and be sure you go to simplisafe dot dot com slash d t h so that they know we sent you that simplisafe dot com slash d t h Partout Luby's afraid of the dark You're you're amazed. When he picked me up we went out to the trails? We were sitting there in the truck for a little bit. Can you could just see little lights everywhere. Everywhere there was it was just like the stars in the sky and I said look look at this. Look how many people out here looking. So here's where the Delphi phone tree is about to really take off and people are going to start notifying other people. Outside of the family family friends acquaintances. That something's wrong here and I'm glad you mentioned that phone tree because in a town Mike Delphi. Three thousand people. It does does not take long for phones to start lighting up because Brinda caused Lisa. Who calls you know Christine and before you know it? Everybody in town knows there's something wrong and Delphi's known for this volunteer spirit so you have a lot of people who are now interested people who don't even know these families who are now interested in wanting to come out and help in some way and I think that as these families have kind of moved into that area around the bridge at Becky. Mentions you know seeing all the volunteers volunteers. The more people that get involved in this thing can only ramp up the concern and the panic on the part of the families right because now they've got the whole town of all people posting on facebook two girls missing. It's all over twitter. It's all over instagram snapchat. And this is also where Libya's phone is gonNA come into apply and that's because we learn for the first time about some snapchat photos which we'll get into later but this is kind of the first time we hear about those Things start getting posted posted on social media and of course by the time is now dark and He will start coming out of the woodwork. Around town We we were looking flashlights. were lit up looking up and down alleys and streets and we went all around looking went back out to the trails and there's a night progressed back to the police station. Dropped becky off an intern. Kelsey we're going through. I think some of the social media stuff trying to look computers or ipads or ipods or anything. We had turned to look for information. When did you become come aware of the snapchat photos? It was that evening. I think he's the one that showed me because I didn't have snapchat because she had gone onto work then we had to call her back and so I think she saw it and she said well. I I do this so We had seen it while we were at the police station. It was that night. What did you think of those two images? The image of the Bridge Image of Abbey on the bridge which at the time the only one I saw was the one of Abbey on the bridge so I I didn't I I mean I saw it so we knew that they were at least on the bridge. And you know over so I don't remember what I thought I just. I just know that okay. They were there we we you know. We need to to be searching from there because we know at least they were that far then when you call police how did you see that a nine one one call. No I called the sheriff's department directly to it is right around five o'clock that evening one of my detectives semi attacks and said. Hey Sheriff we have. I have two girls missing that. Are you know partner that live in the county and they were last seen to southside Adelphi near the High Bridge to- blessing be. Where's the sheriff's badge in Carroll County? He's got a shaved head and a powerful moustache. I honestly was not overly concerned and in the beginning because for a number of years anytime we've had a report obey runaway or even a missing senior citizen I I would venture a guess percentage wise. We've probably found are located those runaways or seniors I'd say at least ninety to ninety five percent at the time and so that initial thought enter my mind okay. Well we'll find him you know we'll find him and everything will be fine. The DELPHI fire department is all volunteers. Headed by Chief Daryl starret. He's a rugged man with a strong handshake and in February of twenty seventeen they were raising money for a brand new firehouse chief stare. It was in a meeting about that when his phone lit up. A text. Message From my deputy chief and said that dad two missing girls and they're wanting to know we could help search the area so I've deployed people in trucks to different areas. We didn't know where look in initial they were just missing so kind of deployed Loyd people to different areas looking for the girls driving up and down the streets checking maybe friends houses Just put more boots on the ground and doing good in once. The guys got out of the station. I was called to the sheriff's office and we'd set up a joint incident command Delphi. I Mayor Shane Evans was twenty seven years old in two thousand seventeen. He's one of America's youngest mayors and when the search escalated. He was two towns over at a city council meeting. I drove the twenty five to thirty minutes up to Delphi. I can't remember. I talked to the fire department and I went to the jail. Dispatch edged county unit. Some of the city units At one point I went out there when the fire department searching for the girls at that point got some Equipment available we have wastewater department has called four wheeler something bigger than a golf cart and smaller than a gator. So we we made that available to county and city Eunice working that night if anything came up. Here's Delphi fire. Chief Daryl Stare at again you know just point would start. started getting a sense of urgency. Now Mind you now pitch black. We focused on the creek. We focused on roadside. We've focused focused on everything we could with ball. We had trying to paint himself and the information we got was okay. The cell phone pinged off of this top. What does that mean well? It could be within a two mile radius of this hour and so I said okay. We need to search all of Delphi which which includes dirk the wabash two miles. How is a good ways? Sheriff Tobe lesson be of course is that particular day. It was unseasonably warm but as has it drew closer to evening you know began to feel a little cooler that good evening. Obviously and so being near a stream the deer creek the temperature of the water during that time period was obviously cold hold that rough terrain so to say very very rural part of even just right outside of the Senate say limits you know immediately it turned into very remote terrain area. Obviously there's there's hills and valleys and things like that out there in in that evening you know easily we could have had one hundred people searching and then as as you knock on the door and say well then they joined the search and so the entire town was searching in your own way. That's part of being in a small town. Everybody knows everybody. And if you don't know you I know of them and everybody wants to hell so we looked came. We looked and we walked. We were focused on the bridge area and we had people on four wheelers. We had farmers in the area. The community was look. We searched till maybe eleven thirty twelve. Oh clock and I had met up with the sheriff and discussed with him and chief mullins this look we. We've blanketed wanted. Neil this area I also feel like we could probably check it off and oil. Yeah I agree you know. And and that's the point you have to do that as the news of Abbey's disappearances spreading concerns are growing. We got the call from Abbie's mom and then I was texting Kelsey on and off all night. Eric Gibson is one of Abbey and Libya's closest friends and people confused her and Libby because they look so much alike she facetime them the night right before everybody was checking different trails on Delphi just to make sure so we came up here and we're back down. We even saw the firefighters back doc there and we talked to them for a while and then they called off the search and so we went home. But I'm glad we did because as I texted Kelsey right before and I'm like Hey I know you guys checked around the bridge but I know other people have to do you need those extra is kind of glad we didn't you know we were two two of Libya's best friends the other person with me was one of his best friends and I was happy and so I'm Kinda glad we didn't Cynthia. Rossi is another close friend of theirs and she didn't like where this was heading. I think when they started started mentioning the police bringing in dogs from Chicago. 'cause I know because from living there that a lot of bad things happen in there and they always have just certain system set up if something is to go wrong in. Its very professional city when it comes to crime and and dealing with crime in they have everything you could ever imagine when it comes to dealing with that sort of thing so when they said that they are bringing in dogs from Chicago as like. Oh they're going to other states they're contacting people all across the world to try to find them. That isn't a good sign. Yeah definitely worried And that night I knew because I went ahead and stayed with my other friend that night we were going to go to school together in the morning I was terrified and she wasn't so much a friendly face time to like was but like they were only terrified because if they're still out there they're cold they're cold. They're scared if one one of them's hurt and really we just thought they really were just lost and scared and as it approaches midnight a controversial decision is made and for people following the case. It's still being debated her good and bad on that comment before I guess I will say it was a joint decision in that. I consulted with many emergency response leaders in our community and so at some point I guess what I will the way I will oh put. It is the organized effort by emergency services was temporarily called off. Yes but it's there. Were still people I know out. Even though they were not this early under our leadership. I'll I'll put it that way just for people who you you wonder why you know what was sort of Calculus. The rationale behind that decision. There's our producer Dan who was in Delphi with us. The search that pointed obviously a had not been fruitful the other thing was limited at that time very limited resources and when I say basically additional lighting is one thing that came came to mind that we didn't have access to at least again at at those hours and so I I would as I recall. I think a lot of boiled down onto a male building of resources and being able to continue on we were at high bridge. We had walked high bridge and we had bought under hybrid. I I had guys climbed down to the top of the pillars of high bridge. I had guys doing things they should not have been doing. But we were going to find something we had scoured the banks of the creek. We the hillsides a you get to a point. You know that you've walked over two and three and four times in that area. You kind of feel like you have to put a check mark on it so we come to that point and it it like. I said it was a tough thing to do but as volunteer party. Also have to look out for the individuals that you command because they have jobs they have livelihood. That's the tough part of it. Because of the chief you have to be able to look out for them at some point and they will stay out Dr Until Sunup if you told them. That's what you're doing but at some point you have to be realistic. We have turned every rock. We could think of in this area mm-hmm and it's that time of year. You know the ground cover. It isn't now where you've got weeds. Four foot tall. You could see not a good ways even in the dark we have. Of course we have lights like no other so we came to that point that we need to check US bought off and then look at maybe coming back fresh in the morning. And let's see what happens. Abbie's Mom Anna is now starting to worry. Remember a one moment when Becky had said ladies afraid of the dark she would not choose to be out here if something was wrong and that kind of hit that you know. Something's up and just being who the girls were and their friends. They would've stayed together. That was is the concern after that. They weren't the kids that just didn't you know answer their phones and didn't respond or take off or anything like that so that was a rough off night and one of the things that were striking to me about. Our conversation with Anna is what she just said a short bit ago. which was that night? It's dark there. Searchers the flashlights. Everybody's looking and she remembers becky saying Libya's afraid of the dark and she wouldn't be out here by choice right right and it was. It was really striking because libby kind of became a little girl in that moment but libby was fourteen. She's still very young. I was afraid of the dark as the kit. So yeah that when Anna said that that really touched me and it it really made Libby feel very real to me in that moment to think about those girls. They're not out there by choice and everybody is coming to that realization and yet the controversial the decision is made to call off the official part of the search because this is an all volunteer fire crew and they have fulltime jobs if they're not making progress because they don't have the right equipment they don't have the lights they need. They don't have whatever they need in the moment they need to go home and sleep. And we've talked about this a lot. You know calling off the search doesn't necessarily mean everybody went home. I mean these guys are volunteer firemen. There's two missing kids gets in a small town. They're not just going to go home. And some of these people knew the families and so right you had some of them stain and then you had other people who showed up to help who who stayed so the decision to call the search. We've talked about it a lot like how that character like what that looked like. That may have been a situation where chief start was just like I can't pay the overtime and it was. It was a bunch of people who made the decision that it wasn't all on one person but yeah and there's still stuff going on things are still happening out there a bit. That also gave them a chance to sort of get ready for the next day Hey everyone it's Dan by now. You're probably getting a sense that we spent a lot of time in Delphi. Oh Fi and talk to a lot of people. The great thing about that is that we're able to tell a lot of the story in the voices of the people who lived at the bad part of that is that I have more than we can actually use. We have about thirty hours a tape that we need to get down into about eight hours this show but there's one thing that we didn't want one to lose in any of that and that's getting a sense of who Abbey and libby were and now and then we want to bring you moments that really bring that out in. Here's here's our first this one. This is from Anna Williams. Abbie's mom the girl behind that cat and freckles was actually pretty irritated to have to go to yet. Another wedding and baby shower our year because there was going to be another wedding baby shower because that seemed to be our family's routine but at the same time. She was kind and considerate. Considerate and loving a hand was amazing. I was very blessed to be her mom. Her headstone has a quote on the back that says though she little she is fierce and she was assist she might not have been forward but man when she decided on something she kinda did digging a little bit about things and from her the youngest moments she really did not have a lot of fear about heights or anything she when she may remind to do something she really did go. Oh for it She was a good friend. She was best friend who a lot of people and I have a lot of stories of folks have come to me saying the abbey stuck stuck up for them when nobody else would girl had a good character tour she would big things the next chapter. We'll get to know Libya little bit part part three thirty seconds later the night before we thought they'll show up their friend's house. They didn't call in who knows the next day is a little bit different so it's been absolutely sleepless night for these families. Some of them went home to try. Try to get a few hours of sleep other state out at the scene to continue searching but nobody got any rest at night. No and you know. We've we've seen enough missing children's stories and you always hear parents talk about when the sun goes down and going to sleep not knowing where your children are and how horrible that is and so at this point in this story. You've got a number of people who are all feeling that way absolute and then you know when you look at the time line in this case the search picks up again the next morning morning but I remember looking at the time to talk to you about it and saying why did they start at ten. Am that's a little bit late. Absolutely and they didn't have much of a choice. There was fog in the area they had requested. QUESTED A helicopter from Indiana state police. It couldn't even take off because of the weather conditions so the official search delayed. But still there's people out there looking looking for these girls during that time and that's when the fire chief gets a really important phone call from the police chief Dirty and and I think it was six o'clock five thirty. I don't know things were kind of fuzzy my phone and it was chief moans loans and he said chief we have about three hundred volunteers coming to help search and we're using your fire station as a command post. I came back in started today. I had a couple people from my work. Come in to do nothing but registered Bolan tears. I know three hundred and the people that free lance and don't check in so we had the people and people and people mm-hmm from tippecanoe county offered up Mobile Operation Center. We brought it in and said it out at the bridge area so that we could more readily coordinate people matt area and we covered everything that we had covered the night before both covered it in a daylight and cover too many people. Here's Kelsey again libby sister. The next morning learning we all got up me and my mama got up and left about seven thirty ish in everybody met at the fire station and the fire fire department separated us into groups and my family actually all got separated so my GonNa tear were in one group and I was in a group with my dad and my other sister Anne few other people and my group got sent to high bridge. Todd glad is the pastor at Delphi United United Methodist Church and Mike in Becky Patty or part of his congregation. He'd seen libby just days before I contacted the sheriff who attends church and just said where do you want me. He asked me to come out of the command center so my role command center was basically to talk with people as they came in as they volunteered. I signed in volunteers. Volunteers course mortgage spe- connecting listening talking to first responders looking at maps wondering even spent about an hour with another clergy friend who went in search section of the creek in behind some houses just going over areas had been checked but wanted to check once again. Many many people were wanting to come out even from communities nearby the Logan Support the Frankfurt the Monticello as well but of course. You saw a lot of people that you know because you know many people in this community. So is your mood on Tuesday morning different than it was Monday. Night when you're out at the scene mood Tuesday morning Something's not right Master Todd's concerns are growing and the search is reaching its peak so we had helicopters up. They were searching Creek. We had kayakers on the creek because some those areas. You're not gonNA see except up for from the war is so the train is is rough when you off of the trail system. It's Willard's for this area area cornfield. It's a creek bed so even on foot in the daytime it would was tough to search. The search continues continued to turn up nothing. Share of Toby. Who's a veteran cop? Felt this thing. Shifting obviously is time continued to go along they again had that thought in my mind about okay this is a like majority of what we end up with in this counting being able to find individuals individuals. Be Out some point. I thought this yeah. I'm not real sure about this. One Kelsey was in a search party at the bridge. When the first sign of the girls was found a quarter mile away? We heard somebody yell up the hill the they found a shoe and at the moment I knew exactly what they were wearing i. I couldn't remember what the sweat shirt was my sister's wearing until later but I knew exactly what shoes they were wearing. And so they held up that there was a black doc nike and I knew it was levies and then About thirty seconds later somebody else said that they found them. I'll never forget this part. Unfortunately Chief Steve Mullen and and I and I believe the Delphi. Mayor Mayor Shade Allen's Fire Chief Starts we were Kinda in the back part of the the fire department and remember. I believe it was chief. MAHLON GOTTA call said we've we've located them And they're you know they're no longer with us. It was the end. No one wanted. The bodies of being libby are found in a culvert a quarter mile from the bridge and now a search is becoming an investigation because of the number of people we wanted to get authorities to the site before we put out Anne blanket notes so so we were kind of played coy to protect the people to protect the scene to protect a family so we kind of went downstairs and played Coy and we were waiting to give notice. We wanted to family to not find find out from anyone but authorities. Of course you started getting people we heard this. We heard that you've heard more than and sometimes you have to lie people to protect themselves. I'm sorry wrong law. You've heard more than we know. And and at some point I believe it was DIV Molins came down and said well we have seen secured. Let's go ahead and let people know so we can terminate. Let's get people out of here. How made the announcement that the girls have been found and it was not to a good end and thanked? Everybody was there tried to be that guy that when all else is troubling around around somebody has to keep it together and as by making the announcement of the entire lot was full of people. There's a stream of state trooper cars going by the and it's just surreal. Knew they were going to nine what they were confusing. And what. Those state troopers were facing was a scene so disturbing. It would stay with them forever. It was something different. Something new new the horror of which which shatter lives on Delphi and grabbed the attention of the world. It down the hill is written and produced by Barbie McDonald Dan Cemetery which in Me Andrew I. I didn't with original music and scoring shoe Sir and production support from Michael Dudley entailing chassis or associate producers. If you WANNA see the people places and things we've been talking about visit our website at down the hill podcast dot COM Sherry Selby's h ellen senior production manager. Brian Bell is senior director of programming and Tyler Moody is the Vice President of Warner Media podcast network and especial thanks to the people of Delphi and the members of law enforcement who are in charge of solving this crime and of course most important of all a big. Thank you to you. We appreciate you listening

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