The Delphi & Evansdale Murders

This post examines the strange similarities in the cases of 4 murdered girls.

Victims & Timeline

Lyric Cook, 10: Friday, July 13, 2012; Evansdale, Iowa (found deceased)

Elizabeth Collins, 8: Friday, July 13, 2012; Evansdale, Iowa (found deceased)

Liberty “Libby” German, 14: Monday, February 13, 2017; Delphi, Indiana (found deceased)

Abigail “Abby” Williams, 13: Monday, February 13, 2017; Delphi, Indiana (found deceased)


Homicide Narrative: Evansdale, Iowa

Cousins Elizabeth Collins, 8, and Lyric Cook, 10 were out riding bikes in the Meyers Lake area of Evansdale, Iowa on Friday, July 13, 2012 when they went missing. Their bodies were found some 5 months later in neighboring Bremer County in a desolate wooded area known as the Seven Bridges Wildlife Area. Seven Bridges is known for being an area where transients go to deal drugs, often meth, and where people go to engage in otherwise illegal or unsavory activities. It is also known as a place hunters frequent and it was hunters who found the girls’ bodies. The girls’s bikes and Lyric’s cell phone were found less than two hours into the search, having been abandoned on a trail at Meyers Lake. No cause of death has been released by authorities.

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Elizabeth Collins, 8 & Lyric Cook, 10

Homicide Narrative: Delphi, Indiana

Friends Libby German, 14, and Abby Williams, 13, left school early and were dropped off around 1:45pm by a relative to go hiking on trails near the Moon High Bridge in Delphi, Indiana. The girls’ bodies were found the following day, approximately half a mile from the bridge. Photos of a suspect in the case were later released by authorities as well as a brief audio clip of him stating “down the hill.” Although authorities have never confirmed, it, most in the public eye assume the photos and audio came from Libby’s phone when she discreetly video tapes him. Authorities have not released a cause of death.

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Abby Williams, 13 & Libby German, 14

Similarities In The Two Cases

  • Both cases involved young females between the ages of 8-14
  • Girls went missing while together, as a duo. The girls were murdered while together which indicates either a proficient criminal or more than one offender.
  • All were heading off to play or hang out together when they went missing — Lyric & Elizabeth were riding bikes, Libby & Abby were walking on wooded trails.
  • The bodies were all found in areas a hunter might frequent.
  • Both sets of girls went missing shortly after 2pm. Lyric’s grandmother last saw the girls around 12:20pm and reported them missing around 2pm. The snapchat photo of Abby was taken at 2:07pm and the photo of the Bridge Guy was taken at 2:30pm. The girls were supposed to be picked up at 3:15pm and were reported missing at 5:30pm.
  • Dates: Both cases occurred on the 13th day of the month and bordered a weekend (Friday and Monday). Is there any personal significance for him to the “teens” or middle of the month and does he have 3-day weekends?
  • Trails: Libby & Abby and Lyric & Elizabeth all disappeared while on a trail in the afternoon.
  • In both cases, the girls were murdered by an unknown assailant. Cause of death for Libby and Abby has not been publicly released but two photos, a sketch of a possible suspect, and a brief audio clip of his voice have been released. Cause of death for Lyric & Elizabeth has also not been released.
  • Investigators have stated that they have compared notes on the Delphi and Evansdale cases and, while there are similarities, they do not believe the cases are related. Despite this, they have also said that they do not suspect the families in either case. Which means there are two brazen murderers willing to abduct, control, and murder two girls at a time? That is quite an unusual and risky MO.

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Unsubstantiated Rumors in the Delphi Case

  • Libby fought viciously with her attacker, to the point that her fingernails were shredded
  • Libby captured images and voice recording, possibly from video, of the girls’ attacker on her phone
  • Libby’s phone may have been disposed of by the murdered in a body of water but the images and video of him were retrieved from ‘the cloud’
  • The girls’ throats were injured in the course of their deaths, either through strangulation or by being cut with a knife. There are reports from witnesses at the funeral that both girls were wearing scarves around their necks in the open caskets.
  • The girls’ clothing was found in a body of water, likely to dispose of evidence.
  • No DNA was found on their bodies.
  • The girls were disposed of in a body of water.
  • Abby survived the initial attack and crawled out of the body of water but perished due to hypothermia and blood loss. She was either still (barely) alive when searchers found her or had perished just prior to being found (reports alternate between either her passing away in the ambulance or her body still being warm, but deceased, when searchers found her).
  • The girls may have been sexually-assaulted, perhaps with an object.
  • The girls may have been sexually-assaulted and/or murdered in a nearby structure such as a barn or out-building before being deposited where they were found. The barn on the Mears property is a popular guess.
  • The girl’s bodies may have been dragged, there may have been drag marks near where they were found.
  • DNA matching one of the searchers, Ivan Brumbaugh, was located on the girls but he admits to touching the bodies when he found the girls.
  • Part of all of the killings may have been captured on video.
  • The bodies may have been posed in an odd or provocative manner, often indicative of serial killer behavior. It is also possible the bodies appeared this way because Abbie crawled a distance before passing away.
  • Daniel Nations, originally from Indianapolis, was arrested for failing to provide notification of an address change (he is a convicted sex offender). He had expired Indiana license plates at the time of his arrest in Colorado. He also has a history of threatening hikers with a hatchet in Colorado and there are rumors that he may be linked to the Delphi case as well as the murder of an older, male bicyclist on a Colorado trail. No arrest has been made in connection to the Delphi murders. As of October, 2017, investigators reported they have been unable to “include or exclude” Nations as a suspect in the Delphi murders and he is in prison on unrelated charges.
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Daniel Nations, 31

Proposed Offender Profile

  • Caucasian male
  • Age: 30s-50s
  • Approximately 5’8″-5’10”, 180-200lbs.
  • Reddish-brown hair
  • Does not have blue eyes
  • Facial hair at time of Delphi murders
  • Carried a gun to control his victims
  • Carried a ‘deer kit’ fanny-pack, which may have contained weapons or tools to torture or kill the girls
  • Has a hunting background or hunts for sport
  • Has killed previously
  • Is likely left-handed
  • May have been driving a white vehicle
  • Was wearing a hat (most likely a camouflage hunting cap with ear flaps), hooded sweatshirt, scarf, and blue jeans on the day of the Delphi murders. Was over-dressed for the weather, likely to conceal DNA.
  • History of rape, assault, and/or domestic abuse
  • Was a lone killer, did not have an accomplice
  • Was an opportunistic, yet planful, killer (i.e. was planning on murdering a vulnerable person on the day he killed but had not pre-selected his victim/s. Identified the place he would hide — likely from a nearby elevated position such as a deer lookout — to watch and observe potential victim/s and where he would take them to torture/kill them. Laid in wait to see who would walk by).
  • Killer is somewhat familiar with the local area. May make regular stops for work nearby or have been in the area for a few days prior with time to scout out the surrounding area.
  • Has a work schedule that coincides with a break on the weekends.
  • The 13th of the month, the number 13, or just generally “the teens,” might hold special significance for him. May have endured a trauma around age 13, etc.
  • Further, the time 2pm, or the hours of 1-3pm, may also be significant to him. Does not work a job that involves him to be present during these early afternoon hours.
  • Is transient, not local, and likely a truck driver or similar occupation that brings him to various locations across the country
  • Is familiar with the local area even though he has not planted long-term roots there. May be familiar with the Delphi, Indiana area as well as the Meyers Lake/Bremer County areas of Iowa. May also be familiar with southeastern Tennessee, specifically the Bledsoe County area.

  • Blends in well with the local populations of these small, rural towns
  • Is comfortable in the woods and in rural areas. Knows how to navigate rough or unchartered terrain.
  • If DNA was recovered from the scene, the killer does not have any felony convictions in Indiana (they collect DNA from all felons). It is more likely no DNA was collected from the scene and that he does have a felony history.
  • May be married or partnered but, if so, it is a distant relationship. In part, his travel for work helps mask his inability to have a sustained relationship. Might be single.
  • Has a substance or alcohol abuse problem. May have a history of petty arrests and convictions such as for possession of paraphernalia or shoplifting.
  • May have worked at the Indiana Packers meat-packing plant and other similar meat-processing plants (or jobs that easier for convicted felons to obtain) in rural areas.
  • May have an alibi for the time of the murders but this alibi may be superficial or crack under scrutiny. Police are confident that someone knows who this man is — and may be covering for his whereabouts at the time in question.
  • May have become unusually interested in news reports about the case or otherwise involved himself in the case such as talking excessively about it or helping with the search party.
  • May have changed his appearance after the crime (cut or dyed his hair, trimmed facial hair, disposed of clothing, etc)
  • Had scratches on his body and, possibly, other injuries, around Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2017. May have explained this as having gone hiking or hunting.
  • May be impotent or have other sexual dysfunction. Nonetheless, this was a sexually- and violently-motivated crime of opportunity that featured elements of dominance, control, humiliation, and terror/torture. The perpetrator may have used an object such as sticks or bottles or other body part to sexually violate the girls out of anger and frustration for his own sexual dysfunction and rage at women.
  • Hates women, perceives self as alternately a perpetual victim and a powerful aggressor. Deep-seated rage toward women. Persistently low self-esteem and feelings of having been ‘wronged’ by others.
  • Is an experienced and sophisticated killer familiar with DNA, evidence-collection, etc. Knew how to cover his tracks and not leave evidence behind.
  • Will kill again.
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Investigators say to not pay much attention to the hat — it may not be representative of the actual hat the killer was wearing. But, they believe the composite sketch of his facial features to be representative and note that he has reddish-brown hair and does NOT have blue eyes.

 

 

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The Meat-Packing Plants

Shortly after the Delphi murders, Indiana State Police raided a nearby meat-packing plant due to a “bomb threat,” which may or may not have been the actual reason for the raid. The plant, called Indiana Packers, is From a local: “they process hogs into pork, and it’s a horrible job that a LOT of people who are otherwise unemployable, whether due to criminal backgrounds or poor references from prior employers, end up doing.” The location where the girls’ bodies were found is only about 2.5-3 miles from the plant.

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Several days after the murders, and around the time of the Indiana Packers plant raid, LE released these photos of boots seized as evidence. LE later claimed the boots were not connected to the murders, which may just be semantics. Perhaps these exact work boots were not worn during the murders — but they may closely resemble the footwear the killer was wearing. Note that the boots seizes as evidence have a white line that surrounds the entire bottom of the boot. Note how this detail is similar in the photos of the Bridge Guy.

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Boots seized in raid on Indiana Packers plant.
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Bridge Guy’s boots. Note white stripe.
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Comparison of Bridge Guy’s boots to Indiana Packers work boots. Note white stripe in both.
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Last known image of Abby Williams as she walked the trail with Libby

Related Post: Who Is Daniel Nations?

If you have any information on the Delphi murders, contact law enforcement at 1-800-225-5324 or Abbyandlibbytip@cacoshrf.com. If you have information on the Evansdale murder, contact law enforcement at 319-232-6682. There is a more than $175,000 reward offered in the Evansdale case and more than $230,000 available in reward money for the Delphi case.

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