Authorities investigating the slayings of two girls in Indiana have received more than 500 suggestions since producing an impassioned plea on Wednesday for folks to come forward with info, a law enforcement source close to the investigation told ABC News now.
The surge in tips followed the release of a new video clip retrieved from the cellphone of 1 of the victims, 14-year-old Liberty "Libby" German. When police played some audio from the clip at a news conference in the town of Delphi on Wednesday morning, reporters heard just 3 words from a deep voice: "Down the hill."
The audio top quality is not good, but police mentioned it is adequate for somebody to recognize the individual's voice. Investigators think the clip was recorded just prior to the attack.
"Libby had the presence of thoughts to turn on her video camera," Indiana State Police spokesman Capt. David Bursten said Wednesday. "There's no doubt in our minds that that young lady is a hero."
The rest of the video will not be released at this time simply because of the ongoing investigation. Investigators recovered other proof from the girl's telephone that is also not being released, Bursten mentioned.
German and 13-year-old Abigail "Abby" Williams, both of Carroll County, were reported missing by their households Feb. 13 after the two did not return from a hike.
Right after organized searches, the bodies of the two girls had been discovered Feb. 14 outdoors Delphi in the woods near Deer Creek, about 3-quarters of a mile from an abandoned railroad bridge exactly where they were dropped off the day before to go hiking. An autopsy revealed their identities.
"Proof in this case has led investigators to think that this is a double homicide, and that's what we're investigating at this time," Indiana State Police spokesman Sgt. Tony Slocum told reporters Wednesday.
Indiana State Police on Monday mentioned a man in a photograph is the principal suspect in the investigation. The man — dressed in blue jeans, a blue jacket and a hoodie — was photographed on a nature trial around the identical time the two girls disappeared.
He was previously labeled a person of interest, and police had mentioned he may well be only a witness to the crime.
"We are actively searching for this individual. We think this person is our suspect," Slocum stated.
Authorities spent a lot of Wednesday's news conference delivering an emotional appeal to the public to submit recommendations to track down the man in the photograph and the particular person whose voice is in the audio clip.
"A person knows who this individual is," Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas Carter told reporters, even though holding back tears. "And if you happen to be watching, we'll come across you."
Investigators stated that there is the possibility of far more than a single suspect and that it is unclear no matter whether the voice in the audio clip belongs to the man in the photograph.
The FBI has been assisting local authorities in the investigation considering that last week. Agents have briefed FBI Director James Comey on the case on two occasions.
Gregory Massa, the FBI assistant particular agent in charge in Indianapolis, asked the public to believe back to Feb. 13, the day the girls went missing.
"Just believe if you had an interaction with an individual who inexplicably canceled an appointment that you had together," Massa stated Wednesday. "Or an person referred to as into function sick and canceled a social engagement. At the time, they gave what would have been a plausible explanation."
Suspicious behavior or a modify in someone's behavior should really also be a red flag, Massa mentioned.
"Did [an] person travel unexpectedly?" he asked. "Did they modify their look? Did they shave their beard, reduce their hair or modify the color of their hair? Did they alter the way they dress?"
Authorities and neighborhood leaders are providing a $50,000 reward for any info major to an arrest.
Citizens can present info about this case by calling the Delphi murder tip line at 844-459-5786. Facts can be reported anonymously. Recommendations can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABC News' Michael Edison Hayden and Avianne Tan contributed to this report.
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