‘It’s a parent’s worst nightmare’: What killed these girls?
IT was the hike that ended in the grisly murder of two teenage girls.
Ten months ago, 13-year-old Abigail Williams and her 14-year-old friend Liberty German were found dead under a train bridge and near a river bank in the small town of Delphi, Indiana - a horror that left the community of 3000 in shock and disbelief.
The girls, whose killer is still at large, had been out taking photos while on a hike together when they failed to return home on February 13. The pair were reported missing by family members that evening, before their bodies were discovered the next day.
The mysterious deaths of German and Williams have haunted their families, leaving them with a "hole" in their world where the girls should be.
Following the discovery of their bodies, investigators released a haunting audio clip recorded by Ms German of a voice police believe is the prime suspect behind the murders.
The recording simply says 'down the hill', and was taken just before the girls were killed.
Mike & Becky Patty, Liberty's grandparents, said the audio clip, the sketch of the suspect and the photograph of Abigail around their home are what motivates them to find the killer.
"We are doing everything that we can to help the law enforcement [find the killer]," Mrs Patty said while appearing on US talk show Dr Phil.
"We aren't the type of people to just sit around ... so we have tried to spread the word. Our goal is to get his face out there ... everywhere and to every town that his face isn't staring at him.
"We have a hole in our family."
Mr Patty told Dr Phil McGraw that he believes someone in the community knows the killer, but is yet to come forward to police.
"I truly believe that somebody out there knows this guy," he said.
"Somebody knows something. Nobody lives in total isolation in today's world. And I'm asking that person please, help us out.
Anna Williams - Abigail's mother - said there were days she'd "rather just not be here" and that she fears she still won't have an answer about who killed her daughter in 10 years time.
"Her bedroom is right next to mine," she said.
"I think about the fact that she's not right behind that door and even standing here and seeing these photos and listening to our story again ... every day it's brand new and it hurts just as bad as the day it happened."
Based on witnesses and the single grainy photograph of the prime suspect, a sketch was developed to help with identifying a man seen in the area on the afternoon the girls were killed.
"I spent a couple of weeks out here ... shortly after [bodies discovered] just scanning the woods and creek bank looking for clues and items and anything I could find that would possibly help catch this guy," Mr Patty said.
Mrs Patty explained how she failed to reach her granddaughter Libby on the afternoon of the murder, and thought that perhaps they'd fallen or hurt themselves on the trail.
"Maybe they fell and the phone came out of their hand or something and couldn't answer, so we were just looking for them," she said.
"A little after five I called the police," Mr Patty added.
"We'd been searching as a family and couldn't find anything ... it's going to get dark let's get the police involved here.
"They immediately came out in force and started walking the trails with us looking for the girls.
"By six o'clock most of the town was out. People were out on the streets ... flashlights ... people just walking in groups.
Hundreds of people coming out to help us look."
Indiana State Police are looking beyond the town of Delphi for the man photographed near the trail around the time a relative dropped the girls off, Sgt. Kim Riley told WLFI-TV in Lafayette earlier this year.
Their deaths have been ruled a double-homicide, but authorities have not disclosed how the girls died.
It is unclear whether the man heard in the recording is the same one depicted in an image of a suspect released by authorities last week.
The investigations in to their murders continue.