The grandfather of one of the two Delphi Bridge murder victims fears the 2017 case will not be solved in his lifetime.
Eric Erskin, the grandfather of Abby Williams, 13, who was killed alongside her bestfriend Libby German, 14, as the pair went for a walk over an old railroad trestle in February 2017, warned the killer ‘you’ll meet your maker’.
A photo of a man in blue jeans and a blue jacket believed to be the girls’ killer was found on Libby’s phone, along with audio recording on which the suspect is heard saying, ‘Down the hill.’
But more than four years after the double homicide, no suspects have been named and no arrests have been made, but officials with the Indiana State Police have repeatedly insisted that the murders have not turned into a ‘cold case.’
Mr Erksin said he still has faith in the investigators and he believes the case will be solved – but admitted he might not see the judgement in his lifetime.
He told The Sun: ‘We have faith in the law enforcement department. We have to trust that these people in authority make the right decisions.’
Police are investigating the 2017 murders of Libby German (left) and Abby Williams (right) in Delphi, Indiana
The girls captured chilling cell phone footage of the man wanted for their double murder saying ‘down the hill’. Pictured: Abbie
Mr Erksin revealed that after the murders, ‘the phrase “gods’ got this” was used.’
He explained: ‘I absolutely believe it will be solved. I’m a believer. I might not see the judgement in my lifetime and the penalty completed.
‘But there is a judgement at the end. And the person responsible will meet their maker.’
He added: ‘The unknown will eat you up, the anger, frustration. ‘It can consume you. I get that and I think every family member gets that.
‘Trust me, not everyday is rosy and cheerful. February 13 is very very difficult.’
Last month, the police said they were moving to a new center to investigate the murder case – a move which Mr Erksin described as ‘reassuring’.
‘As a grandparent I find that comforting that they are still working on the case. if they had given up they would not need the work space,’ the grandfather said.
Speaking about the police’s investigation, Mr Erksin added: ‘The police share very little information regarding the case and its details and as family members we do find that frustrating.
‘But we also understand that it has to be that way to maintain the integrity of the case.’
‘It’s been a while since they released any information.’
Authorities released grainy photos of the suspect, seen wearing a blue jacket and blue jeans
The girls were reported missing when they failed to show up when a parent came to pick them up from a hike along the Delphi Historic Trails on February 13, 2017. Their bodies were discovered in a secluded wooded area off the main trail the next day
In May, police said they were looking into alleged pedophile James Chadwell II as a possible suspect in the case.
In April, Chadwell was charged with the kidnapping and attempted murder of a nine-year-old girl, in Lafayette, Indiana, about 20 miles from Delphi. He abducted and molested her after inviting her into his home to see his dogs, then locking her in a basement.
Investigators said they are ‘looking into’ the possibility Chadwell ‘might’ be connected to the Delphi murders. His lawyers have declined to comment on the claims and there have been no updates from police since.
Authorities released a grainy photo of a suspect they said was on the trail the same day the girls disappeared in 2017.
When no arrests were made, video footage was later released, recovered from German’s cell phone, along with audio that is believed to be the suspect’s voice saying ‘down the hill.’
Police said they believe Libby German recorded it because she feared the pair were in danger. Superintendent Doug Carter said at a police press conference that he believed the suspect was ‘hiding in plain sight.’
Back in 2017, a search was launched to find the murdered teens. Their bodies were discovered a day after they disappeared in a secluded wooded area off the main trail.
Their cause of death has never been released by authorities.
Investigators believe the girls were approached by an unknown man while they were walking along a disused railway bridge.
A 2017 police sketch of the man police believed approached the two teenage girls as they were walking on the trail and told them to ‘Go down the hill’
The case has long focused on a man captured on Libby’s phone walking along the abandoned railroad bridge on the day they went missing. Days after the killings, authorities released two grainy photos of the suspect found on her phone, with the sinister images causing a sensation.
The man was dressed in blue jeans and a blue jacket.
Investigators later released a brief video of the man walking, as well as audio clip from her phone which they believe she recorded ‘during possible criminal activity’.
In it, the suspect is heard telling the girls: ‘Go down the hill.’
That man has never been identified, with Delphi Police remaining tight-lipped on how the girls died.
They have refused to release other material recorded on Libby’s phone during the girls’ final moments, amid fears it is too disturbing to share.
The families of the murdered girls have opened a memorial park in their memory.
Mr Erskin said: ‘We speak with Libby’s family multiple times a day, we support one another. I cannot do anything regarding the criminal case, I cannot control that.
‘But we can contribute to something positive and something good.
‘The park is a way for us to take our energy and throw it into a positive realm.’
‘It has been a four year labor of love and the way people all over the world have helped has blown my mind.’
Sheriff Toby Leazenby and Sgt Kim Riley pictured briefing journalists on the Delphi Bridge murders in 2018. The killings have become one of America’s most notorious unsolved mysteries
State Police Superintendent Doug Carter addressed the suspect directly during one briefing.
‘We believe you are hiding in plain sight. For more than two years, you never thought we would shift gears to a different investigative strategy, but we have,’ he said.
‘The question to you: What will those closest to you think of when they find out that you brutally murdered two little girls? Two children. Only a coward would do such a thing,’ Carter said.
Mr Erskin added: ‘Somebody in the Delphi area, did they see something that seemed amiss. The tip line is still very much open and still active.
‘Our case is not solved, we are just a normal family, we are not prepared to deal with this. I did not prepare for the murder of my grandchild.
‘I did not have a warning.
‘And because we were caught off guard, it was all a blur.
‘My life has been turned upside down.’
Anyone with information on the Delphi case is asked to contact [email protected]
TIMELINE OF THE DELPHI MURDERS:
February 13, 2017
1pm: Liberty and Abigail are dropped off near Monon High Bridge in Delphi to go hiking on a day off school.
5.30pm: Girls are reported missing after failing to show up at a pre-arranged pickup location. Search teams scour the area for hours but are forced to stop due to limited light.
12am: Authorities say there is no reason to suspect foul play and they are mainly concerned about exposure to the elements.
February 14, 2017:
Search resumes for missing girls, including dive teams and K-9 units.
12pm: The bodies of Liberty and Abigail are located half-a-mile from the bridge.
February 15, 2017:
Police release the grainy image of a man walking on the same bridge Liberty and Abigail were on.
February 19, 2017:
Police say the man in the grainy image is officially a suspect in the murders.
February 22, 2017:
Officials release audio taking from Liberty’s phone of man saying: ‘Down the hill’.
July 17, 2017:
Police release sketch of suspect after witnesses report seeing him Delphi.
April 22, 2019:
Police reveal new sketch and video of suspect on the bridge. They say the killer likely lives or works in the Delphi area.
April 19, 2021:
Nine-year-old missing girl is found alive in the basement of James Brian Chadwell II, 42, in Lafayette, Indiana.
April 28, 2021: Carroll County Sheriff’s Office confirms it is ‘looking into’ Chadwell in relation to Libby and Abby’s murders.