The Delphi Murders ~ Their Loss is Our Loss...


February 13, 2017, wasn’t a good day in the wee hamlet of Delphi, Indiana.

Two teenage girls were brutally murdered in a peaceful, tranquil setting, and for the first time ever in criminal history, thanks to technological innovation, we who survive to witness the aftermath saw what the victims — those wonderful teenage girls — saw, and the reality shakes us to our very core.

Usually, after a murder takes place, all that remains is the crime scene, the evidentiary remnants of evil acts perpetrated upon the innocent. We shudder, block from our mind’s eye, the victim’s final time, as no one with a heart and conscience wants to partner the innocent with the damned — and in this case, the beautiful Monon High Bridge Trail and two blooming flowers of youth, and a killer of children.

I grew up in pastoral surrounds similar to Liberty German and Abigail Williams. As a child, I, too, spent hours on country roads and back country trails, gazing at wildflowers and touching tree bark, and watching creeks and rivers flow. At that time, neither I nor my parents thought much of my tom-boy wanderings. My parents favored Liberty German’s grandmother’s view — fresh air, being physically active, getting to know nature. What could be better for kids?

Knowing what we know now about that idyllic Indiana afternoon, will we tomboys of old, we free-range kids now full-grown adults, allow our kids outside to play on their own ever again?

The sad ends of children murdered by predators has a long and storied past, of course, but the Delphi murders ramped up to a horrific degree our visceral experience of such ends. Thanks to Libby and Abby, we saw and heard what they saw and heard. And that visceral calm before the storm hits us like no other.

As proof, you only had to watch the tortured faces of the law enforcement officials, who gathered for that first press conference, to know that what they witnessed — watching and listening to Libby’s cell phone recording and viewing the crime scene — was a traumatic bridge too far. Very seldom do you see obvious pain and fear on the faces of experienced cops, so when you do, the dagger strike to the heart is severe. Through the wonder of technology, we on the outside stood for a moment in those girls’ running shoes, and as technical voyeurs, for those few seconds, we became Libby and Abby, the theoretical becoming the actual, that grisly reality forever setting these murders apart.

We watched evil approach, quietly…head down, shoulders slumped, target zeroed in.

We listened to evil talk… calm, controlled, and calculated.

We anticipated, with stilled breath and beating heart, the danger approaching… with nowhere to hide, nowhere to run… no chance to live.

Our collective innocence was killed as surely as those two beautiful girls on that warm winter’s day — total devastation — in a pastoral scene of bare tree branches that held birds tweeting merrily above a musky ground of dried and crunching leaves, as the languid Deer Creek water shimmered in the pale sunlight.

 When I look at Libby’s Snapchat photo of an empty Monon High Bridge, my mind’s eye paints the scene. Libby and Abby are standing at the end of that bridge, as flickering visions now, their eyes looking directly at me, their expressions somber, their pleading carried as a whisper on the wind,

Take care, watch and listen. Beauty doesn’t always breathe in beautiful grounds.

Libby and Abby want us to continue to adore the trees and the wildflowers, and eagerly watch the tadpoles swimming in shallow creeks. But they stand before us now, and forevermore, as warning lighthouse beacons, to steer us away from far-off shadows, for shadows can be colored by the dark.

That day, the girls did everything right.

They asked for permission to go.

They went together, in the middle of the day.

They had an adult drop them off, and scheduled for an adult to pick them up.

They had a cell phone to call for help.

And they ventured where other responsible trail hikers would surely be.

But none of those good intentions saved them. Because there simply is no defense against a hunter of humans.


Maybe that warm winter’s day, the birds in the trees sensed the killer.

Maybe the ground squirrels and chipmunks, and fish in the Deer Creek sensed the killer approach.

And maybe when he trod by, all sat silent, still, the blood coursing through their tiny veins running cold.

But animals can’t warn us, and even if they could, we have no innate sense, no bodily defense, against human hunters. It’s not like predators wear bright orange caps and vests, and carry a rifle, and that there’s designated, lawful days to hunt man.

Maybe the deer near the trails saw Bridge Guy, and they knew to scamper away. Maybe the Deer Creek waters ran silent the moment his boots pounded into the stream to catch a fleeing Libby, her black Nike shoe sucked off in the water-logged mire.

We who remain are left not knowing the ultimate end. And I’m not sure any of us are eager to know. When the monster is caught, as he surely will be, and the court trial divulges all, I’m not sure our collective psyche is ready for any more truth, for there but the grace of God, go us all. After February 13, 2017, thanks to the technology of one cell phone, and the sheer bravery of two children, we were all laid out in that bowl-shaped ground, and we were all made stone-cold.



Rest well, Libby and Abby, and thank you for blessing us with your love and grace.

We will work heard at replicating your good deeds, in your good names.

And we will heed your words of warning.

And with every step we take for you in further pastoral grounds, we will hear your laughter in the crunching leaves and see your bright eyes in the shimmering waters, and be warmly wrapped in your loving arms, for you have become our Mother Nature, and through you, we will again breathe fresh air.