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) 232-8248or call the Tip Line (765) 822-3535.
Perpetrators: Fred Harbison and Ted Uland, perhaps unnamed others
Claim to Infamy: At least one person entered into the home shared by businessmen Bob Gierse and Bob Hinson, killing both men, along with their friend James Barker. The victims’ throats were cut so deeply in the attack, they were almost beheaded. The multiple murder was one of the most sensational crimes to occur in the state at the time.
Current Status: After decades of rumors and allegations against various individuals, in 1998, Fred Harbison wrote a deathbed confession to the killings. In his letter, he stated he had been hired to act as a hitman by Ted Uland, Gierse and Hinson’s former employer. Uland possessed insurance policies on both men that were about to expire. He also believed Gierse and Hinson had stolen several thousand dollars from him and wanted revenge. The third victim, James Baker, had been killed because he came to the house to visit his friends and happened upon the murders in progress. Unfortunately, Uland had preceded Harbison in death. In 2003, the case was granted an exceptional clearance and declared closed.
Random Disturbing Fact: Although theft was apparently a motive for the crime, in a no-honor-among-felons twist, Uland reneged on their deal and refused to pay Harbison for the murders.
Claim to Infamy: Brown murdered Evansville resident Ginger Gasaway when she broke up with him and demanded the return of her car. After killing her, he dismembered her body with a reciprocating saw and discarded it in pieces around Posey, Gibson, and Warrick counties. While serving his life sentence for Gasaway’s murder, Brown confessed to killing thirteen others. Although some of the details he provided were able to be corroborated, no additional bodies were found to verify his claims. In 2011, he strangled another inmate to death at Miami Correctional Facility at Bunker Hill.
Indiana Connection: A native of Cynthiana, Brown was no stranger to Indiana law enforcement long before he murdered Ginger Gasaway. In 1977, he kidnapped, robbed, and assaulted a friend in Owensville. He had served 18 years of a life sentence for that crime when he was released to kill again.
Current Status: Serving life without the possibility of parole at the Westville Control Unit
Random Disturbing Fact: When the saw blade he was using to dismember Gasaway’s body broke, Brown walked into Home Depot splattered with blood and gore and calmly demanded an exchange. It was given to him, no questions asked.
Claim to Infamy: On Sunday morning, April 30, 1989, four members of his family were found shot to death in their home. More than seventeen years later, Jeff Pelley was found guilty of their murders. His only known motive was that he wanted to go to his prom’s after-party but was grounded. The killing of father Robert (38), stepmother Dawn (32), and stepsisters Jonell (8), and Joleen (6) was known in the press as “The Prom Night Murders.”
Indiana Connection: Jeff attended LaVille High School in South Bend. Until their deaths, his family lived just outside of Lakeville, where his father served as reverend to the parishioners of the Olive Branch United Brethren Church in Christ.
Current Status: Serving his 160-year sentence in Wabash Valley Correctional Facility
Random Disturbing Fact: The Pelleys had two other children, Jacque and Jessica, who almost certainly escaped death simply because they were sleeping-over elsewhere the night the murders occurred. The sisters are divided on the question of their brother’s guilt. Jacque believes he is innocent.
Claim to Infamy: On September 7, 1997, Overstreet abducted, raped, and murdered 18-yr-old college student Kelly Eckart. Her partially-nude body was found four days later in a ravine at Camp Atterbury.
Indiana Connection: A native of Boggstown, Kelly had just finished her shift at the Franklin WalMart when Overstreet kidnapped her. According to statements given to police, he took her to the Franklin Days Inn motel before transporting her to Camp Atterbury with the help of his brother, Scott A. Overstreet. Scott Overstreet has never been charged in connection with this crime.
Current Status: Sitting on Indiana’s Death Row in Michigan City
Random Disturbing Fact: Overstreet ‘saw’ demons and other hallucinations as a child, but his mother never sought help for him. Mental illness continued to plague him through adulthood; he served only three months in the Marines before being discharged on those grounds.
Claim to Infamy: In the summer of 1969, Manson orchestrated a series of horrific murders intended to bring about “Helter Skelter” – Charlie’s version of the end of the world.
Indiana Connection: While living in an Indianapolis boarding house, fourteen-year-old Charlie was arrested for car theft and was sentenced to Indiana School for Boys.
Current Status: Serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole in Corcoran State Prison in California
Random Disturbing Fact: Manson was sent to his first day of school dressed as a girl because his uncle thought the ridicule it would prompt from other children would force Charlie to become more aggressive.