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In jail interview, ‘anthony_shots’ creator says he’s ‘100%’ not the Delphi killer
Plus, prosecutor asks Indiana State Police to investigate Purdue arrest that went viral. The enduring story of ‘Elvira’ with Oak Ridge Boys in town. And that Derrick Barnes moment hits home this week
In a jail interview recorded in December and airing Saturday night, an Indiana man accused of being behind a fake social media profile Indiana State Police says is somehow connected to the 2017 murders of Delphi teens Abby Williams and Libby German says he didn’t kill the girls.
In a preview of the interview – set to air Saturday night on HLN, tied to this weekend’s fifth anniversary of the double homicide of the Delphi Community Middle School friends – Barbara MacDonald said Kegan Anthony Kline, 37, of Peru, admitted that he used the “anthony_shots” account to solicit girls to send him nude photos and other things he’s charged with doing.
“Basically what Kegan told me is that law enforcement officials from Indiana State Police told him that the ‘anthony_shots’ profile was the last to communicate with Libby before her murder,” MacDonald said Friday.
“That’s what he says they told him,” MacDonald said. “They wouldn’t confirm that for me, but they are obviously interested in this profile.”
In the first week of December, Indiana State Police said detectives were looking for anyone who communicated with, met or attempted to meet a person with the profile “anthony_shots.” Police said the fake profile, featuring photos of a male model and portraying itself as extremely wealthy, was used on Instagram, Snapchat and other social media platforms around the time Abby and Libby were killed while spending an afternoon on Delphi’s popular Monon High Bridge Trail.
That reference to “anthony_shots” – the first clue police made public in the unsolved Delphi murder case since April 2019 – led to Kline, who had been in the Miami County Jail since 2020 on multiple charges alleging child solicitation and related crimes. Court documents show Kline admitted to creating the “anthony_shots” profile. Court documents also show Kline had been investigated less than two weeks after Abby and Libby were killed, in connection with soliciting girls on Snapchat and Instagram using the fake profile. But nothing in the court documents specifically mention the Delphi case. And Kline has not been charged in connection with the murders.
MacDonald, an HLN TV producer, was part of the team that produced “Down the Hill: The Delphi Murders,” a true crime podcast series that has been downloaded 17 million times. She said she had a 25-minute video interview with Kline shortly after his connection to the “anthony_shots” account came out. (Kline had a pretrial conference postponed Dec. 16, 2021, in Miami Circuit Court, hasn’t been in court since then and hasn’t made other public statements.)
In part of the interview, previewed by the Daily Mail Friday, Kline told MacDonald that he had “not a clue” why investigators were putting so much focus on him at the time.
“I think it’s because they said I was the last person to talk to her, is what they’ve told me,” Kline said in the interview.
“100% no,” Kline told MacDonald.
MacDonald said Kline told her that he wasn’t in Delphi on Feb. 13, 2017, the day the girls went missing. He said he was in Peru – about 40 miles northeast of Delphi – that day. She said he told her he didn’t use the account to set up in-person meetings.
“He told me that the current charges against him he's guilty of, but he says he had nothing to do with Abby and Libby,” MacDonald said. “He also told me that he doesn’t have any memory of speaking with Libby in any way, whether through direct messages or public posts or a phone call.”
Kline is scheduled for a trial in May, with his next court hearing expected Feb. 24. His attorneys on Thursday filed for a continuance. Court records didn’t show a ruling on that motion, as of the end of this week.
Police haven’t used Kline’s name, instead focusing on asking the public to come with tips about contacts or interactions with the “anthony_shots.”
“It’s possible they are trying to get witnesses to come forward and let them know who exactly was using that profile,” MacDonald said.
Police have been tight-lipped about specifics in the case, anyway, aside from assurances this week from Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter that the Abby and Libby case remains a priority. ("We know a lot about you,” Carter told ABC’s “Good Morning America” last week, aiming his comments at the killer. “Today could be the day. Sleep well.”)
But the time between pieces of the investigation shared with the public has been wide. Before the “anthony_shots” information, the last bit came in April 2019, when Carter revealed a second sketch of a potential suspect. (That day, Carter said the killer likely was from Delphi or knew Delphi well. He said: “Directly to the killer, who may be in this room: We believe you are hiding in plain sight.”)
“It certainly seems that with video and the voice of the person and a crime happening in broad daylight in a small town that it would have been solved by now,” MacDonald said.
“But one of the things that investigators keep saying to me is that this is a very unique case. It's not like anything they've dealt with before. And it's complex,” MacDonald said. “So, I don't think we know the full scope right now of what all makes it unique and complex. They keep saying that one day they will be able to share that with us. And I certainly hope that we are getting closer to that, because, as you know, this has taken such a toll on the families and this community.”
FOR MORE, ON THE AIR: The interview with Kegan Anthony Kline will air at 8 p.m. Saturday on HLN TV. That follows a two-hour report starting at 6 p.m.
ABOUT THE DELPHI MURDER CASE
WHAT HAPPENED: Abby Williams and Libby German were dropped off to hike during a day off from school on the Monon High Bridge trail, a trail near Delphi, on Feb. 13, 2017. When they didn’t arrive to meet their ride at the trailhead that afternoon, police and community volunteers searched the trail and the surrounding are. A search party found the girls the next day, about a half-mile up Deer Creek from the abandoned Monon High Bridge rail trestle. Police have not charged anyone in the murders.
THE SUSPECT: In April 2019, Indiana State Police released a new composite photo of the suspect, putting his age in his mid-20s to mid-30s. Images and video on Libby German’s cellphone show a man walking across Monon High Bridge that day, wearing blue jeans, a blue jacket and a hat. Police also released a recording, taken from Libby’s phone, of a man saying, “Guys, down the hill.”
FOR MORE ON THE INVESTIGATION: The Indiana State Police maintains a site with composite sketches, audio and video files, along with reward information, in the 2017 murders of Abby Williams and Libby German. Go to: https://www.in.gov/isp/delphi.htm
TIPS: Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to send tips to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
PROSECUTOR ASKS FOR INDIANA STATE POLICE INVESTIGATION OF PURDUE ARREST, TOO
Purdue announced Friday night that Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Pat Harrington has asked Indiana State Police to conduct an independent investigation into the Feb. 4 arrest of a Black student on campus.
Purdue President Mitch Daniels on Thursday said, in a statement, that he’d asked the Indiana State Police to do a second review of the arrest of Adonis Tuggle, a Purdue junior, on Horticulture Drive. Police say officers responded to a passerby’s call about what looked like a woman being held against her will. Part of the arrest was captured on video by Tuggle’s girlfriend, as Purdue Police Officer Jon Selke wrestled Tuggle to the ground, using his forearm to push the student’s head and neck. Click below to see the video:
Daniels promised a Purdue police internal review would be “swift and thorough.” He also promised that all evidence – including police body camera footage of what led to the arrest, witness statements and police reports – would be released once the Purdue and ISP investigations were done.
How or if the prosecutor’s request for a state police investigation would be different than one Purdue asked for wasn’t immediately clear Friday. Efforts to reach Harrington were not immediately successful. Purdue indicated in a Friday evening release that state police had already started the work “with the goal of completing a thorough investigation as soon as possible.”
The last word from Purdue Friday night: “To ensure the integrity of the investigation, the university will have no further comment or communication on the matter until its conclusion.”
Thursday, students filled one of the university’s largest lecture halls in protest of the actions they saw the officer take on the video. Since then, Purdue Chief John Cox said Selke was on administrative leave after what he called death threats made against the officer.
FOR MORE …
THE STORY OF ‘BIG WHIT,’ A FORMER PURDUE LINEBACKER AND A MESSAGE FROM LAFAYETTE’S MAYOR
What a cool moment this week featuring Derrick Barnes, a former Purdue linebacker finishing his rookie year with the Detroit Lions. Andrew Whitworth, an offensive lineman for the Los Angeles Rams, told the story as he was accepting the Walter Payton Man of the Year, an award the NFL gives to honor volunteering and charity work. Whitworth, making a point about investing time and energy in the community pays off in unexpected ways, told about how Barnes came up to him after a game this year and thanked him for a moment early in his career, when he was with the Bengals.
“He said, ‘Hey man, you’re not going to remember me. I’m Derrick Barnes. You spent time with me when you were a young player in Cincinnati at the Boys & Girls Club, and it meant the world to me. You used to sit with me and talk to me about life. And I was just a little kid. I want you to know how much it meant to me. … You know what, the main thing I wanted to say, Whit, I made it. I made it to the NFL, Big Whit.’ Wow.”
Here's the clip:
Related note: That came the same week Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski was making a similar point. Delivering his annual State of the City speech – outlining projects finished, projects coming and assorted goals left in Lafayette – Roswarski spent time making the case that Lafayette had made inroads in major crimes in the city, despite a senses in the media or in conversations that that wasn’t the case.
During a session for Greater Lafayette Commerce members, Roswarski made a community pitch to those eating lunch in the new Tippecanoe County 4-H Fairgrounds Coliseum:
“When people ask me, What are you going to do to fix crime? I tell them about what we're working on. And I look right back in the eye, and I say, ‘What are you going to do to help fix crime? Crime is not just a government function to fix. It's not just a police department’s function to fix. It's society's function for all of us can play a role. Are you going to volunteer at the Hanna Center? Are you going to volunteer and Big Brothers & Big Sisters? Are you going to be a CASA to help some of our kids that are going through tremendous hard times? Are you going to do Read to Succeed in our schools? What are you going to do to give back? Because by the time police and the courts get them … it's hard to turn that tide. Police can only do so much once they get there. And we’re trying to do that. The reality is everybody in the community has a responsibility to do something to help drive that and make this a safe community to live. … As a society, we've got to change the factors and the underlying root causes that make those things more apt to happen.”
Not exactly the same page, but definitely the same chapter as the story Whitworth told about a kid who wound up at Purdue and then the NFL.
OOM-PAPA-MOW-MOW: LIVE AT LONG CENTER, THE OAK RIDGE BOYS
When Richard Sterban picked up the phone in January – and it’s clear it’s guy who sings bass for the Oak Ridge Boys – it doesn’t take long to get around to telling the story about the band’s signature hit, “Elvira.”
In this case, the story’s a bit fresher, maybe. Sterban said the four-piece band, on the road supporting the 2021 release, “Front Porch Singin’,” was recently back from the funeral of Dallas Frazier, the man who wrote “Elvira” 15 years before the Oak Ridge Boys made it a massive county/pop crossover hit in 1981. Frazier died Jan. 14, at age 82.
“We’ve enjoyed a great life,” Sterban said from his home just outside Nashville. “And he had a lot to do with it. I’m not sure either of us knew what we were getting into with that song.”
The Country Hall of Fame band – Sterban, Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall and William Lee Golden – will be at the Long Center for the Performing Arts for a show Saturday night.
Here’s a bit of that conversation.
Q: How many times a day does someone ask you to sing, “giddy up, oom papa mow?”
Sterban: It varies. If we’re on the road, I get that a lot. There’s no doubt about it. And last year, believe it or not, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of “Elvira.” … I don't know that (Frazier) originally intended for the bass singer to sing “oom-papa-mow-mow” when he wrote it. But it was it was our producer’s idea back then – his name was Ron Chancey – for me to do that “giddy up.” I just adapted it to my way of doing things. And it’s probably become one of the most well-known bass lines in the music business. So, I guess it turned out OK. We do it every night and we’ll continue to do it every night. But when I get to the “oom-papa-mow-mow” part, it's a lot of fun to look out in the audience and see men trying to sing along with me.
Q: Do you remember how that song came about for the Oak Ridge Boys, how it was pitched to you?
Sterban: There was a song plugger – his name was Ronnie Gant – it was Christmas time and he was on vacation in Texas. He went to a bar, and he heard the bar band doing “Elvira.” He said that sounds like something the Oak Ridge Boys should record. … He sent it to Ron Chancey. I remember Ron playing it for us. It was the first time I’d ever heard it, even though Dallas Frazier had a hit on it years before we did. We all looked at each other and said, wow, this may be the song we’ve been looking for. … A few days later we went in the studio and you could tell it felt like a hit. You know, it went down very easily. Felt like we had something special on our hands.
I don’t think we realized how special until the first time we performed that song in person. We were in Spokane, Washington, of all places, playing a place called the Opera House. We decided to try a few of the new songs from our upcoming album we had just finished on the audience, including “Elvira.” We simply tossed “Elvira” right in the middle of the show without saying a word about it. And the place came unglued. We had to encore it like two or three times right in the middle of the show. And we put the song at the end of the show again, for an encore. I think we realized that day what we had.
Q: Do you find yourself having to play it two or three times a night, still?
Sterban: No, we save it. We know that’s the song people what to hear. We close our show every night with “Elvira” and then follow it up with our second biggest record, “Bobbie Sue.” It’s been working for us for years.
Q: Do you ever feel trapped by a song like that? Or is it still fun to pull out each night?
Sterban: No. I’ll tell you why we don’t feel trapped. Because, even after all these years, 40 years later, we just hit the intro to that song, people immediately stand up. People go crazy, still. People want to dance. People want to sing along. And when you get that kind of a reaction, that doesn't get old. At least, it doesn't get old for me, anyway. When you really think about it, it's not an overly serious song, it doesn't have any heavy message to it. But it's just a fun song that makes you forget about your troubles and your cares. And you cannot listen to “Elvira” without smiling. It's a very contagious thing. We'll probably continue to do it every night until our dying days.
IF YOU GO: Find out for yourself. The Oak Ridge Boys perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, 111 N. Sixth St. in downtown Lafayette. For ticket information, here’s a way into the Long Center box office.
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