The family of Liberty German, who was murdered alongside her friend Abigail Williams last month in Indiana, said they would never heal from her loss and pleaded with the killer ‘to try to be a Christian man’ and come forward.
Liberty’s grandfather, Mike Patty, spoke alongside his wife Becky, Thursday, during a press conference at the town buildings in Delphi, Indiana.
Liberty, 14, and Abigail, 13, were found dead on February 14 close to Deer Creek along Delphi Historic Trail near the town of Delphi after going on an afternoon hike the previous day.
Her grandfather, Mike Patty, said: ‘A little over three weeks ago, February 13, our girls went missing. On February 14, they were found victims of a double homicide.
Emotion: Mike Patty, 51, and his wife Becky, 57, prayed before Patty spoke out to plead with their granddaughter’s murderer to come forward
Lost: Abigail Williams, 13 (left), and Liberty German, 14 (right), were found dead on February 14 this year
Just one clue: Liberty recorded the man police believe killed both the friends on a Snapchat video – and police led by Carroll Country Sheriff Tobe Leazenby say the man captured on the video is the prime suspect
‘This horrible crime has put a hole in our families which will never heal. 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 morning to get up and get ready for school.
‘Then you expect them to come through the door after school. The silence when we don’t hear her voice.’
The grandfather fought back tears as he said that the best friends were excited about the upcoming softball season and the day before they were murdered, they had their equipment out playing catch and working on their batting in the backyard.
‘But they’ll never get to play a single game again,’ he said, adding that there were ‘too many ways to count’ that their lives had been forever changed.
He shared a phrase that was jokingly attached to Liberty in his family. When she was asked to pick up her coat or her school backpack, she would say: ‘I will… in a minute.’
Patty then asked the public to afford his granddaughter that same minute to help find her killer.
Praying for a breakthrough: The family’s pastor Todd Ladd, of the Delphi United Methodist Church, led prayers before the press conference began
Liberty posted what are likely to have been the girls’ final moments alive on Snapchat, sharing photographs of their hike along Delphi Historical Trail (above)
The bridge (above after their murder) was the last place the pair were seen alive
‘I believe that if she were able to speak she would ask people, please give her this one minute she always asked for, to really study the picture and listen to the audio clip.
‘Someone out there knows this person or persons. He’s someone’s neighbor, co-worker, family member, friend, husband or acquaintance.
‘If you have any new information please take another minute from your day and help us collect all the pieces of this puzzle. We request that everyone please help Abby and Libby.’
When asked what he would say to his granddaughter’s killer, he paused before saying: ‘Try to be a Christian man.’
Patty also read a statement on behalf of the family of Abigail Williams.
‘Abby and Libby loved each other,’ he read. ‘Throughout this tragedy we have honored their memories by respecting each other. We respect Libby’s family’s decision to speak publicly just as they respect our family’s decision not to speak publicly.’
The family’s pastor, Todd Ladd, of the Delphi United Methodist Church, opened the press conference with a prayer while the grandparents hugged each other. Liberty’s grandmother struggled to hold back her tears.
Carroll Country Sheriff Tobe Leazenby thanked the public who had called in thousands of tips and added: ‘We will get justice.’
Patty urged the public to look out for someone who had recently changed their appearance – cut their hair, shaved, was wearing different clothes or behaving differently – and told them to not discount their initial instincts.
‘Let law enforcement run that information and make that determination. However small it may seem, it’s extremely vital that we have every tip we can get. Please, we need your help.’
Libby was called a ‘hero’ by investigators for managing to take a picture of the prime suspect on her cell phone and record audio of a voice saying, ‘Down the hill’.
Sheriff Leazenby told DailyMail.com this week that he did not know where they would be in the investigation without this information.
Police have not revealed a series of key details about the murders – including how the girls were killed.
Support: Pastor Todd Ladd stood beside Becky Patty as her husband appealed for their granddaughter and her best friend’s murderer to give himself up
Tribute: Patty called the girls ‘heroes’ who had not deserted each other and said: ‘Those girls loved each other, they were good friends. Neither one left each other’s side.’
Patty said Thursday: ‘I’m glad she had the wherewithal to do that. I certainly hope that proves to be the vital piece that helps secure a resolution to this.
‘She was a smart girl. We talked a lot about having the presence of mind in your surroundings.
‘She was kind of a photo buff, both the girls were out there taking pictures, that’s why they had gone out there in the first place, to catch the scenery and to do some videos of each other. That’s just what kids do.
‘Both the girls were heroes, they stuck together. 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 and make a break for it.
‘Those girls loved each other, they were good friends. Neither one left each other’s side.’
Patty said that the last thing he said to his granddaughter was ‘I love you’.
‘In our house, it’s always I love you. Every time that happens with all of our grandkids and all of our children. Before they got to bed, get up, drop them off at school, send a text message, it’s I love you.’
Sgt. John Perrine said that the reward for information which leads to the capture of the killer has now topped $224,000.
Separately, both families have been sent donations in the girls’ memory.
Patty said the donations they have received in Libby’s name would be used to establish a scholarship and the rest of the funds would be used to build a softball field and park in the girls’ memory.
‘They will be remembered forever and have something for everyone to enjoy.
‘We’ve lost our children and nothing will bring them back but with your perseverance and help, we’re confident that together we can bring justice to those responsible for this horrible crime.’
He also said that more than 11,000 tips had come into the command center. ‘Right now, 2,000 of those tips have been cleared with 110 per cent positivity that they are not related.
Leazenby also said that every sex offender in Carroll County has been questioned and sex offenders across Indiana have been investigated. Above, a wall designated as a tribute to Liberty and Abigail at the command center for the investigation in Delphi
A small memorial has been set up at the foot of Monon High Bridge, near where the bodies of Liberty and Abigail were found
‘There are currently 1500 tips in the queue that need to be assigned to investigators and looked into.’
The deputy addressed a number of rumors circulating on social media that the suspect was a local person and in other rumors, it was someone who wasn’t local.
‘I want to emphasize that we do not have that information,’ he said. ‘We don’t want people rationalizing their tip. Please if you know anything, trust your gut and give us a call.’
He also addressed rumors that the Delphi murders were connected to other crimes in different parts of the country – including the murder of two young female cousins in Iowa five years ago.
‘As is protocol with any investigation of this nature, we compare to unsolved crimes throughout the nation. Part of that is the double homicide in Iowa,’ Sgt Perrine said.
‘At this time, we have spoken with investigators in Iowa. It appears to be coincidental that the two cases are similar but based on the evidence we are not able to connect the two cases at this time.’
He added: ‘Spreading rumors could be detrimental to our case because it could lead people who might have information to believe that we have information that we don’t.
Sheriff Leazenby, who is in charge of the double murder investigation, told DailyMail.com this week that despite 11,000 tips from across the U.S., a sweep of the county’s sex offenders’ register and 200 investigators working daily on the case, they are no closer to solving the crime.
Three weeks on, police have made no arrests and have not located the prime suspect.
Tips have come from the local area, throughout the Midwest and as far as Los Angeles.
Known sex offenders in Carroll County had been ruled out, Leazenby said.
Anyone with information can call Delphi Homicide Investigation Tip Line at 844-459-5786 or 1-800-225-5324. Tips can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Information can be reported anonymously.