DELPHI, Ind. -- The grandfather of one of two northern Indiana girls slain last month says he still believes their killer will be found.
The comments Thursday from Mike Patty are the first public statements from the families of 14-year-old Liberty German and 13-year-old Abigail Williams since the teens were found dead Feb. 14 in woods near Delphi. The friends had vanished the day before while hiking.
Patty says his family is grappling with the loss of his granddaughter, Liberty.
“This horrible crime has torn a hole in our families that will never heal,” Patty said. “It’s the small things that seem to hurt the most. It’s just natural to holler for them to come to dinner or in the mornings to get up and get ready for school – then expect them to come through the door after school. The silence when we don’t hear their voice.”
Patty asked for the public to review grainy images of a man considered by the main suspect in the killings and audio of a male saying “down the hill.” Police released the images and audio that was found on Liberty’s cellphone.
He said the family often joked with Liberty about her typical response to everyday requests to pick up around the house – “I will, in a minute.”
“I believe if she were able to speak, she would ask people to please, give her the one minute she always asked for, to really study the picture and listen to the audio clip,” Patty said. “Someone out there knows this person or persons.”
The images and audio were taken from Liberty’s cell phone. State police have praised her for recording evidence even when confronted with a killer. Patty said “obviously we’re proud” of Liberty, but he hailed both girls.
“Both the girls were heroes -- they stuck together,” Patty said. “I don’t know exactly what happened out there that day, but I imagine there was probably an opportunity for one or both to separate or try to make a break, but those girls loved each other. They were good friends -- neither one of them left each other’s side.”
He said the “pain will always be there, forever,” but said he’s confident a tipster will provide a vital piece on information that could crack the case.
“Both of our families are requesting everyone to please help Abby and Libby,” Patty said. “However small it may seem, it is extremely vital to capture every tip we can get. Please, we need your help.”
Patty also read a statement from the family of Abigail Williams.
“Abby and Libby loved each other,” the statement read. “Throughout this tragedy, we have honored their memory by carrying forward and respecting each other. We respect Libby’s family decision to speak publicly at this time, just as they respected our family’s decision not to speak publicly.”
A reward of more than $200,000 has been offered in the case. Anyone with information should call the Delphi Murder Tip Line at 1-844-459-5786. Tips can also be reported by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.