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Libby's sister, Kelsi German: ‘Until we get to justice’
At the fifth anniversary of Abby Williams’ and Libby German’s murders near Delphi, Libby’s sister stays steady, telling about the case, telling about the girls
In the five years since her sister, Liberty German, and friend Abby Williams were killed near the Monon High Bridge trail in Delphi, Kelsi German has been all about unfailing advocacy for keeping the unsolved case front and center and for telling the girls’ story.
“It’s what I can do,” Kelsi German said. “What I have to do.”
Now a senior at Purdue, set to graduate this spring and getting ready for a wedding this summer, Kelsi German was still in high school on Feb. 13, 2017, when Abby and Libby, eighth-graders at Delphi Community Middle School, went missing and a day later found dead near a remote area near Deer Creek.
This weekend, she said, will be a time to stop by to check on a food drive set up in Abby and Libby’s memory at Delphi United Methodist Church and otherwise lie low with family.
“It’s always a hard couple of days,” Kelsi German said. “So, we’re definitely going to be together and get through it.”
The weeks before … those, she said, have been hectic reminders of the roles she, her family and Abby Williams’ family have taken on to keep the girls’ memory fresh and potential leads coming for investigators still working the case.
Kelsi German: It's exhausting. When we went out to Megyn Kelly (of the “Today” show) a few years ago – it was before the one-year anniversary – their producer told us that after the first year it would die down. And she was so wrong. It's like the opposite. We're talking to people that we've never talked to before. I feel like just more and more people want to talk about it now.
Q: Why do you think that is? For so many years it’s been, How do we tell more people about the girls’ story? How do we make sure they know?
Kelsi German: I don't know. It's definitely crazy. I mean, to me, when I talk to all of these other people that are going through the same thing, they're five years out, 10 years out, whatever. They’re like, “We haven't had people since the first year. We’re over here, and it's still going, just as much.” I think it might be people are just so intrigued by all of the evidence, maybe, we have that's out there. And they think this really should have been solved. And so then they're just interested. Or maybe it's because we're still out there talking. I have no idea. But it's crazy that it hasn't died out, like even a little bit.
Q: This is five years out now.
Kelsi German: I really do think it might be because it’s the fifth year. But also, I think it's because police are releasing stuff again. There was stuff released in December. And now (Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug) Carter's even doing interviews, again. So maybe it's just piquing people's interest a little more. I don't know. It always seems to be crazier on the anniversary, though.
Q: What did you think about what Doug Carter has been saying? I mean, he basically said they know all about who this is – or at least you can interpret it that way.
Background: Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter in the past week said that police are “working diligently every day,” five years later, on the Abby and Libby case, encouraging the public to continue to provide tips, “because one day we will obtain that one piece of information we seek.” Carter told ABC’s “Good Morning America” last week, aiming his comments at the killer: "We know a lot about you. … Today could be the day. Sleep well.”
Kelsi German: I think he always says that they know a lot. And so I think that's what he meant by that. But, you know, he is always the strongest man. Anytime he does interviews, I just get the best feeling, because he's just so strong and steady and has so much confidence. And so every time I hear him say anything like that, I think it just gives us more confidence and knowing that he's being truthful and honest. And he's saying we're getting another step closer every day, and he has faith that it will be solved. And if he has faith, then the rest of us should have faith, too.
Q: Is it working? Do you have that faith?
Kelsi German: Absolutely. I've never wavered in that. I think I've always just looked at the job our law enforcement officers are doing, and seeing them continue to work on it, especially after five years, just gives me hope.
Q: How about the clues from December, about the “anthony_shots” account? Was that a hopeful sign that police put that out, or something else? How did that play out in your mind?
Background: 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.
Kelsi German: When they released it, it was kind of a shock at first. It always is when they release something new. When we got the new sketch (in April 2019), that was a new piece of information that that we had to start sharing. And now, this is just another piece, right? I think we just don't know right now how it's connected or even if it is. We just know that it's relevant, and law enforcement isn't going to release something that isn’t important to put out there. So, I know it's helpful and hopefully it's just another step closer to finding out who did this.
Q: You've been posting a lot of social media lately with photos of your sister. It’s been a positive thing to see. Has that been a therapeutic thing for you? Or are you aiming to tell something more?
Kelsi German: I've found that it can be really easy for people to find true crime as entertainment. So, they listen to these podcasts. And they watch these cases on true crime documentaries, and they watch the hourlong episodes on TV. They're learning about these different cases, but they're not hearing a whole lot about that person's life. And it can be really easy for them, I think, to not see them as real people, and then forget that could be one us – that could have happened to absolutely anyone. So, I think when I share these pictures, my hope is that people will realize that or maybe even remember or start thinking about the fact that Abby and Libby were real people. They were real girls. They were real teenagers. And any one of us could be Abby or Libby. And any one of us could have gone through something like they had to go through. All of those great things about them are gone. We don't get to see them do art. We don't get to make new memories with them. But we can continue to share those memories and, hopefully, bring a little light to people.
Q: A lot of them are really funny. I’ve always gotten that sense about Libby from you. Any of those photos that you think really captured what Libby was about?
Kelsi German: I think they all do. Some of them just show her laugh and her smile and just how much she wanted to make other people laugh. There's the one where I was standing there holding the camera and trying to hold back a smile, and Libby just kept coming up to the camera trying to make me laugh. I think that one, it just shows you that Libby is the person that would walk into a room and see that you're having a bad day and want to be there for you and wants to make you smile. That's who she was all the time. She just wanted to make everybody happy. And she was such a light. That's what I want to remember about her, and that’s what I want other people to know about her and remember about her forever.
Q: You’ve also posted in the past week or so that people were harassing you. That’s unreal. Is that a regular thing? Or was that out of the blue?
Kelsi German: It's definitely been a thing since the beginning. It does die down usually in the random times in the year. So, normally around the anniversary, it gets worse. And around any big thing coming out. So, when an article in People magazine or the documentary on HLN and stuff like that happens, it usually picks up, because it does gain another audience, I guess. It usually picks up around then.
Q: Are they trolls you can ignore, or do they become bigger problems?
Kelsi German: They’re definitely just trolls. They can be a big problem, though. They definitely affect all of our families’ mental health, at some point, because they can be pretty ruthless. But also, they hide behind a screen and won't ever put their real names out there. So, we try to take it with a grain of salt and just move past it, because we know that what they're saying shows more about them than what it shows about us and that they don't know any of us. They obviously don't know our story very well. We try to ignore them as best as possible. But sometimes it's hard to ignore them. So, you have to remind people that it's just not right that they're saying these things. And that if they're going to say these things, then we should be able to talk about it and have a conversation about what’s really the dark side of true crime – this whole group of people that just harass family members, because they think, for whatever reason, that they're the person. It's really sad.
Q: How’s school going for you, as you manage all this?
Kelsi German: It's going really well. I’m in my last semester, only four more classes, then I’m done with college – or at least undergrad.
Q: Have you settled on what you want to do next?
Kelsi German: I'm planning on going to grad school to get my Psy.D., which is like a doctorate in psychology. And then I'll probably open up my own practice, eventually, for trauma survivors. But really, I just want to advocate for other family members and people that need help getting justice for their people.
Q: Do you think that police are close enough that you won't be having another anniversary conversation, unless we're talking about arrests or prosecution or anything like that?
Kelsi German: I sure hope so. I hope that next year, I'll be able to do all these same interviews and say, we found out who did it. This is the person. We have our answers and be able to talk about that instead. Of course, we don't know. I don't like predicting, because things can always change. But hopefully every day it's another step closer.
Q: I hope that’s what we’re talking about, too. But we’ve been saying that since the very first days, in 2017, thinking this would be solved quickly.
Kelsi German: Yeah, it definitely feels like it should have been, right? It's a small town. It’s Delphi. We don't go through stuff like this. Usually, when you think of things happening in a small town, and everybody knows everybody, it has to be somebody that was there and that we know. And I wish it wasn't somebody that I know. If it is, I don't know. That's kind of a double-edged sword, right? If it is somebody I know, that would be awful. But also, you don't want to see somebody you don't know. It's just fighting this constant battle of emotions.
Q: How are you holding up?
Kelsi German: I'm exhausted. I've learned how to cope a lot better. And I've done a lot of therapy and learned the different ways and activities I need to do to cope. I think I've definitely found a place where I'm content. There’s still days that are harder than others, but I'm able to get through them a lot better now.
Q: What's one, lasting thing that you want people to know at this moment, as this anniversary arrives and people are thinking about this case? About Abby and Libby or about anything in general?
Kelsi German: Just remember that Abby and Libby were real people and that they deserve their story to be shared. We're just going to continue to share them and share their light and continue to look for whatever answers law enforcement is looking for. Until we get to justice.
THE REMEMBERING ABBY AND LIBBY FOOD DRIVE: Families of Abby Williams and Libby German have invited people to mark the fifth anniversary of their deaths through the Remembering Abby and Libby Food Drive. The food drive continues from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13, at the Delphi United Methodist Church, 1796 U.S. 421. (That’s about a quarter-mile from the Hoosier Heartland Highway.) The families of the girls suggest bringing nonperishable food and pet food items to the church. The donations will be taken to local food pantries and animal shelters.
FOR MORE ON THE DELPHI MURDERS
THE 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 area. 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.
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