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.

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.