Deep Dive: The Delphi Murders, Part 2

Libby German and Abby Williams, two friends whose lives were sadistically cut short in 2017.

In 2017, the Monon High Bridge Trail was much more inconspicuous than it is today. Mention the bridge or its namesake pedestrian trail to anyone now – especially anyone in Indiana – and the terrible murders of two young girls immediately leap to mind. But before someone lured Abby Williams and Libby German there to their deaths, making the area infamous, it was one of the state’s many hidden gems, appreciated by the local cognoscenti while simultaneously unknown to the outside world.

Built in the 1890s as a part of the Monon Rail Line spanning Deer Creek, the trestle bridge technically belonged to CSX Transportation at the time. However, in all practicality, it’d stood abandoned since the 1980s. The intervening years had seen the decaying bridge fall into disrepair and become dangerous to cross. By 2017, High Bridge had been pretty much forgotten by everyone except the surrounding community, for whom it remained both a source of worry and a popular hiking attraction. Posting pictures from atop the crumbling, 60-ft-tall bridge had become a social media rite of passage for the more-adventurous local teens and photographers.

Both Libby and Abby were into photography, and it seemed only natural they would be interested in joining the many other liberated students roaming the trails that day. Besides, there was safety in numbers and the girls were together, so it would’ve been perfectly understandable if no one had realized anything was wrong when the duo failed to turn up for the ride home. However, one of the most painful details about this entire case is just how quickly people did realize something had gone very, very wrong with Abby and Libby, yet still couldn’t save them.

When he’d initially agreed to be the girls’ return driver, Derrick had explained that he needed to finish his current task first and wouldn’t be available until sometime between 3 and 3:30. He’d arranged to shoot Libby a text when he was on his way though, so the girls would know when to return to the trailhead. True to his word, phone records indicate Derrick started texting at 3:11. When he didn’t receive a reply, he tried calling but received no answer. It wasn’t like his daughter to just ignore him, and Derrick began to worry, thinking perhaps the girls were hurt or lost. He parked his car and almost immediately started walking the trails in an attempt to find them.

Around five minutes later, Derrick encountered “an older man” coming from the 501 trail. Little information has been publicly released about this person, other than he was wearing a flannel shirt that day and has since been interviewed extensively by police. Derrick reportedly asked the older man in the flannel shirt if he’d seen the girls down on the trail; the man denied it but said that there were “a couple” under the bridge. Because this older man indicated the girls weren’t on the 501, Derrick headed down the trail known as the 505. There was still no sign of either Abby or Libby.

At that point, the concerned father began enlisting the help of other family members. He called his mother Becky, who conferred with her own sister, Tara. Both women tried unsuccessfully to reach Libby for more than half an hour before Tara left to join Derrick in his search. Meanwhile, Becky was faced with the unfortunate task of telling her husband, Mike, and Libby’s sister Kelsi that the girls couldn’t be found.

The family continued searching the woods for the girls on their own before calling police at 5:20 pm.

By then, the girls had been missing for just over two hours.


My apologies for the lateness of this entry. The entire purpose of this site is to help inform people of these crimes, and even one wrong word could result in the spread of misinformation. In the attempt to triple-check all known facts, posts sometimes take longer than anticipated. However, I feel I owe it to the victims and their families to be thorough. Please join me tomorrow for the next installment in this series.

Deep Dive: The Delphi Murders, Part 1

The Monon High Bridge, the abandoned railroad trestle where Libby captured photos, video, and audio files on her phone just before she and Abby went missing.

It sounds like fiction.

Little is known about exactly what happened that day on the Monon High Bridge, but the few facts we do know are so incredible and disturbing that you could almost be forgiven for thinking this case couldn’t possibly be real. Sadly, the beginning is pure Grimm’s fairy tale: Two girls walking alone in the woods encounter a wolf in human’s clothing. The middle is more of a dystopian techno-thriller: Realizing they’re in trouble, one of the doomed heroines uses her phone to capture clues vital to solving her own murder.

But what happened that day to Libby and Abby is tragically real, and the end of their story hasn’t been written yet.

February 13, 2017: Friends Liberty “Libby” German (14) and Abigail “Abby” Williams (13) woke up late that morning after a sleepover at Libby’s house the previous night. Although the eighth graders would have normally been in school, all students in the Delphi Community School Corporation had that day off because both the previous Friday (February 10th) and Monday (February 13th) had been designated “Snow Make-Up Days” at the beginning of the academic year. However, since the winter had been mild and the allotted snow days hadn’t been used, the girls ended up with a four-day weekend instead.

And they were trying to make the most of it.

After spending Sunday practicing their softball swings, painting pictures in Libby’s room with Abby’s art supplies, and giggling late into the night, the girls were ready that next morning to start a new adventure. Libby, like many children, lived in a multigenerational household. Her home included her grandparents Mike and Becky Patty (who were also her legal guardians), father Derrick German, and older sister Kelsi. After Derrick made the girls breakfast, Libby asked her grandmother for permission to go to the Monon High Bridge Trail, a hiking spot just outside of Delphi’s city limits. Becky agreed but told the girls they would need to arrange a ride.

At first, it looked as if the girls would stuck at the house after all. Everyone in Libby’s busy family already had plans for the day. Then fate cruelly intervened.

When initially approached, Libby’s older sister Kelsi had refused the girls’ request, explaining that she was leaving to help her boyfriend clean a truck he hoped to sell before eventually heading to work. She already had a full day ahead of her and just didn’t have time to take the younger girls anywhere.

It was then, in a particularly heartbreaking twist, that Kelsi’s conscience got the better of her. The two sisters were close, and Kelsi felt guilty about letting Libby down. So she wound up relenting, telling her younger sibling that she could drop the girls off at the trails if they could arrange another ride home.

That decision must haunt Kelsi to this very day.

After securing the promise of a ride home from Libby’s dad, Derrick, the girls were on their way. Kelsi drove them to the Monon High Bridge, dropping them off near the trail’s entrance around 1:30 pm.

As she watched Libby and Abby walk away, talking between themselves, Kelsi had no way of knowing she would never see either girl alive again.


Please return for Part Two on Saturday. In the meantime, if you have any information pertaining to the murders of Libby German and Abby Williams- or the social media profile “anthony_shots” – please call the Delphi Homicide Investigation Tip Line (844-459-5786), the Indiana State Police (1-800-382-7537), or the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department (765-564-2413). You can also contact Abbyandlibbytip@cacoshrf.com.

Just The Facts: The Delphi Murders

Friends Libby German and Abby Williams were the victims of a double murder in 2017.

Date: Feb. 13, 2017

Place: The vicinity of the Monon High Bridge Trail, which is part of the Delphi Historic Trails

Perpetrators: (unknown)

Claim to Infamy: Taking advantage of a day off school, junior high school students  Liberty “Libby” German (14) and Abigail “Abby” Williams (13) were dropped off near the Monon High Bridge Trail by Libby’s older sister, Kelsi, at approximately 1:35 pm. About half an hour later, Libby posted a photo to her Snapchat of Abby walking the abandoned railroad trestle for which the trail is named. The girls were supposed to be picked up by Libby’s father around 3:15, less an hour after the Snapchat photo was posted, but they never showed. Increasingly nervous calls to their cellphones went unanswered.

After searching on their own without any success for a couple hours, the families reported the girls missing at 5:30 that evening. Crews comprised of local police, deputies, firefighters and the Department of Natural Resources canvassed the area until midnight. Authorities then halted their search for the night, announcing it was too dark to continue. Volunteers continued to comb the area long after the official search had ended.

Abby and Libby’s bodies were found the next day around noon. They were located on a wooded private property less than a mile from where they’d been dropped off the previous day. The causes of their deaths have never been released.

Random Disturbing Fact: Even though Libby somehow captured the man police believe to be the killer on her cellphone, they have yet to charge anyone with the murders.

Check back in a few days for a deeper dive on this case, including startling recent developments.

Anyone with information regarding this crime is encouraged to contact the Indiana State Police at (317) 232-8248 or call the Tip Line (765) 822-3535.

The Murder of Amanda Van Scyoc, Part Two: Lingering Questions

After discovering the basic facts behind Amanda Van Scyoc’s shocking homicide, even the most casual of observers is no doubt left with more questions than answers. In this post, we’ll review what few clues exist and the possible leads law enforcement may have missed or failed to follow up on.

  • The last person to admit to seeing Amanda alive was her mother, Linda Warner. Warner also stated that later in the day, she had attempted to call Amanda at the residence they shared with her husband, John Warner, but received no answer. Amanda’s stepfather told police he had been home all day, but no witnesses were available to verify his whereabouts. If John Warner was really home all day, as he reportedly told police, why didn’t he answer the phone when Linda called?
  • Despite the odd circumstances surrounding her daughter’s disappearance, Linda Warner told police the reason her parents did not report Amanda missing was because it would have been a violation of her probation, and they did not want to risk getting her in trouble. That seems quite plausible. However, Linda has also been quite vocal about her belief that Amanda’s murder happened as a direct result of her brief stint as a narcotics informant. If Linda truly believed that was the case, why didn’t she inform police after the first day or two her daughter didn’t return home? Why didn’t she bother calling them until four days later, when the local news announced that a body matching the description of her daughter had been found?
  • Amanda’s purse and other personal effects were found in a police search of the home she shared with Linda and John Warner. Where did her mother think she had gone without those items? And under what exact circumstances did she think Amanda would’ve been able to survive without clothes, money, or identification?
  • The Warrick County Sheriff’s Department denies Amanda’s death had anything to do with her informant status, in part because Amanda was such a terrible informant as to be virtually useless to them. She had apparently gone around telling all her friends about her work with police, possibly to avoid being put into a situation where she’d be forced to inform on them. Although she had phoned in some information to the police, absolutely none of her so-called tips resulted in any arrests. However, Amanda had previously testified against her ex-boyfriend in a robbery trial, and the theory that her murder was retribution for cooperation with prosecutors must be considered.
  • What, if anything, can we learn from the physical evidence in the case? Everything
    about the discovery of Amanda’s body was odd, beginning with where she was found. It was a well-known place for drug activity, and it seems as though Amanda was familiar with the area…which would seem to indicate that it would be the last place for anyone to leave Amanda’s body if they didn’t want her found. In another unusual turn, police had received a call about suspicious activity at the same location earlier that day, but responding officers hadn’t spotted anything out of the ordinary. They were forced to return a few hours later though, after deer hunters reported the discovery of a body. This leads to some interesting questions: Is it possible that the first phone call police received that day was actually meant to direct them to Amanda’s body? Had a witness accidentally stumbled upon something horrible and unexpected? Or was the Amanda’s killer also someone who cared about her and wanted her body found?
  • Amanda was found nude but wrapped in a carpet. Where did the carpet come from? Was it new, indicating a recent purchase, or had it come from someone’s house? Was it searched for fiber evidence? Why did the killer (presumably) remove Amanda’s clothes but then conceal her body within a rolled up carpet? Was there evidence of sexual assault? Were Amanda’s clothes ever found? If so, were they found at the same location or had they been dumped elsewhere?
  • An autopsy revealed Amanda had been strangled to death. Forensic psychologist Helinä Häkkänen has found that “in a high percentage of cases, the offender and the victim have a family relationship.” She also cites prevous studies which show “the most frequent motives for homicidal strangulation have been rape , sexual jealousy, and personal rivalry.” Also, strangulation is an extremely up-close, personal method of murder, and it would be fairly safe to assume Amanda struggled with her attacker. Did she have anyone’s DNA under her fingernails? Were any of her relatives or known associates searched for defensive wounds?
  • Amanda’s autopsy further revealed the presence of John Warner’s DNA on her corpse. When asked about the possibility of a sexual relationship with his stepdaughter, Warner initially denied it. However, when confronted with the DNA evidence, he admitted having sex with his barely-legal stepdaughter but claimed the “relationship” was consensual. Amanda had not only turned 18 just a few months before her death, but she’d also recently been incarcerated, bringing into question just when this supposed consensual relationship developed and whether it existed at all. Amanda over-shared with her friends about becoming a police informant. Did she ever mention to them about being involved in some kind of forbidden relationship? Was there anyone at all who could back up John Warner’s claim that his sex with Amanda was consensual? Might that have something to do with why she was found without any clothing?
  • Police do not believe Amanda was killed where she was found. Instead, they believe her corpse was kept somewhere for about three days then brought to the rural location where she was later found. If they’re correct, that means the killer probably stored Amanda’s body at home or somewhere he/she was familiar with before eventually disposing of her. Was Amanda’s body checked for fiber evidence? A lack of fibers foreign to her usual environment (her home) would seem to indicate that she did not go elsewhere between the time she died and when her body was dumped. Alternatively, the presence of foreign fibers could lead to another location. Lastly, the Warners lived in a trailer at the time of Amanda’s death. If John did kill Amanda, it would’ve been difficult for him to conceal her decomposing body on the premises without Linda knowing anything about it.
  • It’s been 20 years since Amanda died. So long after the fact, does it really matter who killed her? Unequivocally, yes. Although John Warner, the person many consider to be the main suspect in Amanda’s case, died in an auto accident several years ago, in the state of Indiana, if a second party assisted in the commission or concealment of a homicide, they are still eligible for prosecution even if the murderer himself is not. Most importantly, even though justice is sought in the victim’s name, it’s actually Amanda’s family who continue suffer. That suffering can only be made worse when no one is ever punished for her death. Amanda’s father, stepmother, and siblings deserve justice. They deserve to know who is responsible for her death. All these years later, they’re still waiting.


    If you have any information about the murder of Amanda Van Scyoc, please contact:

Indiana State Police: Evansville Division
1-812-867-2079 or 1-800-852-3970


For a list of sources used for this entry, please see Part One.

The Murder of Amanda Van Scyoc, Part One: Case Summary

Amanda Van Scyoc was just eighteen in the fall of 2001, but she’d already experienced a great deal in her short life. The Boonville teen had fallen in a with a criminal element, been implicated in an auto theft, wound up on probation, become a narcotics informant, and testified in court against ex-boyfriend Chad Leroy Goodwin, resulting in a robbery conviction. Still, Amanda was young. She had the rest of her life to make amends for her mistakes.

But someone had other plans.

According to her mother, Linda Warner, Amanda was last seen alive on the morning of November 9th. She told police Amanda had a second interview at WalMart later on that day, despite already being employed at Schnuck’s grocery store. (It’s unclear whether police ever verified this information with the retailer.) Warner further claimed that, after making sure Amanda was awake and preparing for the appointment, she then left for work, leaving her daughter alone in the residence they shared with her husband, John.

A few hours later, Linda reportedly called home to make sure Amanda had actually gone to the interview, but no one answered the telephone. Seemingly satisfied by this lack of a response, she hung up without speaking to anyone, even though Amanda’s stepfather was allegedly home at the time.

Hours passed and Amanda didn’t come home. Then days passed and she still didn’t come home. At the time, John and Linda discussed notifying police but decided against it. After all, they said, they didn’t want to do anything to endanger Amanda’s probation. So they remained silent, even though Linda claimed her daughter had received threats in connection with her work as a police informant. “She had spoken of those to us. She was really scared at times to come home, she had said get your gun and keep it close and lock the doors.”

However, police would later recover clues that would bring all of the couple’s statements into question.

On November 13th, two deer hunters discovered Amanda’s body in nearby Yankeetown. She had been strangled to death, her nude body wrapped in a carpet and tossed in a rural area locally regarded as a “drug hotspot.” Amanda was known to have frequented the location, but Indiana State Police detective Marvin Heilman cast doubt on the theory that’s where she was killed. “We believe she was killed four to five days before she was found and that location of the crime we haven’t been able to pinpoint. She was not killed where she was found.”

At the time her body was discovered, all of Amanda’s belongings, including her purse, were still at the home she shared with her mother and stepfather. After an autopsy revealed the presence of John Warner’s bodily fluid on her corpse, he eventually admitted to having sex with his then-barely legal stepdaughter but claimed their “relationship” had been consensual. Although he denied knowing anything about the teen’s death, both his wife Linda and Amanda’s father, Brad Van Scyoc, stated they had been told by police that Warner had failed his polygraph test.

Despite the evidence, Linda Warner publicly defended her husband John’s innocence. The couple stayed together until his death in an automobile accident in 2004, when his car crossed the center line and struck another vehicle.

No one was ever charged in connection with Amanda’s murder. Her case remains officially unsolved.

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact:
Indiana State Police: Evansville Division
1-812-867-2079
or 1-800-852-3970


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This Day in Infamy: The Disappearance of Amanda Van Scyoc

November 9, 2001: Amanda Van Scyoc, 18, was reportedly last seen alive by her mother, Linda Warner, shortly before the elder woman left for work. Four days later, Amanda’s nude body was found by deer hunters near the Ohio River. An autopsy later revealed both that she’d been strangled to death at least three days prior to her body being found and, according to multiple news reports, semen belonging to her stepfather was collected from her remains. Despite this, no one was ever charged in connection with her death and the case is still officially listed as unsolved.

For more about Amanda’s murder, check in again later this week for the full case write-up. In the meantime, anyone with information is encouraged to contact:

Indiana State Police
District Investigative Commander
19411 Highway 41 North
Evansville, IN 47725
1-812-867-2079 or 1-800-852-3970