Twisted Tracks; The Murders of Liberty German and Abigail Williams

 

 

(Updates on a regular basis to this story can be found at the bottom of this article)

As I was preparing to launch my Blog, shooting for a mid-February launch, a senseless double murder of two teenage Girls grabbed national headlines and it would only be fitting for me to write this article about their case. My hope is that by the time you read this, that those responsible for their deaths, are identified. My fear is that by the time that you read this, that they won’t be.

Delphi, Indiana is a small rural town about 75 miles North of Indianapolis. The town is surrounded by secluded, scenic nature trails known as the Delphi Historic Trails, that feature miles of train tracks. The population of Delphi consists of approximately 3,000 People, and one of them is quite possibly a murderer.

On Monday February 13,2017 at about 1pm, a Family Member dropped off 14 year-old Liberty German and 13 year old, Abigail Williams near the trails so that the two teenage Friends could spend the day together hiking the trails. At 5:30 PM, they were supposed to meet up with a Family Member at a pre-determined location to be picked up. They never showed. When the two Friends did not show up, Family immediately reported them missing, and a large search party was created to search the Historic Trail area where they had been walking, but the search had to be suspended due to darkness, and resumed the next morning.

On Tuesday, February 14,2017 the search resumed that included K9 units and Dive teams. The search went on thru the day until around Noon when searchers discovered two bodies. The Bodies, although not confirmed to be Liberty and Abigail officially, obviously were. Police would not release much in the way of details, but stated that foul play was suspected.

 

Due to the rural and secluded location where the Girl’s Bodies had been found, this had all the makings of a case that may go cold quickly due to a lack of witnesses, but the Police released a photo of a ‘Person of interest’ on Wednesday February 15, 2017. The grainy photo, which is possibly from the frame of a video, appears to show a man with a blue jacket and jeans walking alone the railroad tracks. It’s unclear what camera source the photos came from. Police stated that they wanted to talk to the man to see if he could help their investigation and asked the public to help identify him. It is not known if the man was identified, however, the Police executed a case related search warrant at a home in Delphi on Thursday February 16,2017. No arrests have been made as of the posting of this article.

This is a sad case. Two young Girls spending the day together having fun doing something they enjoyed and not getting into trouble. This shouldn’t have happened. There have been plenty of theories and discussions about the case so far via social media and on various amateur sleuthing websites like Websleuths.com

So far, there have been lots of questions and few answers. As of the time this article is being published, Police have not identified a Person of Interest, nor have they released autopsy results. In fact, they haven’t even officially called the deaths of the two Girls murders. Some clues are out there to be found, including the social Media, ‘Snapchat’ that the Girls were using around the time of their deaths. The following photo was posted to Liberty’s Snapchat account on the afternoon they went missing. The haunting photo shows Abigail walking on railroad track bridge that was part of the trail area. While it’s assumed that her Friend Liberty took the photo, it’s not certain.

The Snapchat photo of Abigail taken at 2:07 PM the day that they vanished, is the last known documentation of their movements. Their Bodies were found less than a mile from this Bridge. I hope that there are answers soon in this case, and that it doesn’t go cold. Police certainly are being tight lipped about what they do or do not have so far in this case. It remains to be seen if this case will be solved and if so, was the Killer a Stranger to the Girls, or more disturbing, possibly Somebody close to them. I will update this article as Details emerge.

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Murder in Amish Country; the case of Lindy Sue Biechler

 

This article is a reprint of a Guest-Blog article that I wrote for the late true crime writer, Michelle McNamara’s site TrueCrimeDiary.com

(If you have not explored Michelle’s wonderful true crime articles, be sure to check out her site TrueCrimeDiary.com while it’s still up)

Over the years, I have corresponded quite a bit with Lindy’s family, so her case is one that is very important to me. Here’s the article as it appeared on TrueCrimeDiary.com-

 

 

Lindy

Date Published 05.26.13

Guest blogger Mike Morford operates the website zodiackillersite.com.  He lives in New Jersey.

 

The words are as chilling now as they were when they were first committed to paper in 1976.

“hi sheeler (Police Chief Sheeler)

Just Eats up your heart knowing you havn’t caught me yet, still around, Lindy’s marker on her grave just turned me on like she did, and the way she looked all bloody, like the paint on her Marker, the scratch and nick marks represent the knife stabes.

Count them.

you wondered if the guy at the gas station in Mountville were related to Biechlers murder. forget it man, no way.

I’ll tell you what Chief Pig, you print this Letter in the paper along with a Picture in Friday nights Lancaster Paper and saturday mornings paper, and I might confesss When I get off my trip. You see the world owes me a living, maybe I give you a few hints who I am.

got busted once for Drugs a few years back

Live in West end of Lancaster Suburbs

I am 5’10” tall 205 LBS fat and Beautiful

and capable of killing again without knowing it

Dec. 5, 1975 was under the stupor of amfetamines Like right know.

Well educated man in the Community, single, good job but god please chief help me I am loosing my mind help me before I kill again, the headaches kill me Every time it aches, the Drugs only Calm it temporarily.

Will god forgive me ———

Please print this Chief in the paper so I know you got it. v then I write you again, god I need a priest what have I done.

Help me please

P.S. chief sheeler my friend has confess to the killing of Lindy Sue biechler, as god is my withness Do as he asks, print this letter on the front page, I am not aware of his intentions right now but contemplating murder is not his intentions, he is mentally sick. When the letter appears, then he will turn himself in, he described the relationship he and Lindy had before he killed her. He only realizes it now when your on Drugs your not responsible for your actions. Please he is asleep now. That’s why I finished the letter. All I can tell you my friend frequents manor shopping center in the Evenings and the fields around it. Mostly weeknights. He will contact you very soon and oh when he Does please bring a Catholic priest to the police station. Janice Crum”

 

 

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These are the contents of a letter sent to police in the case of a young murder victim in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area back in 1976.  The murder of Lindy Sue Biechler was a shock to the quiet and  peaceful neighborhood near Amish country, and left a family devastated.  Did Lindy’s killer write the letter? We may never know. The writer attempted to open up a line of communication with the police, but they did not respond. I discovered this case while researching the Zodiac Killer, and was amazed at how much this letter read as if it was written by the Zodiac himself, including some of the very same spelling errors, words, and phrases. Most interesting of all was that the writer wanted his letter published in the “Friday paper,” just as Zodiac had requested when he first wrote to police in 1969. As I researched the case from the angle of determining if it might be a Zodiac murder, I soon realized that such a task might not be possible to complete; however, I quickly realized how fascinating the case was no matter whom the killer might turn out to be.

Lindy was a young wife and floral shop worker when she was murdered on December 5, 1975.  In the weeks leading up to her death, she reported to her family that she felt she was being stalked, and said that she had seen somebody peeking through the sliding glass doors of her apartment.  It became so unnerving for her that she did not want to be home alone. On the night of her murder, she ran errands and returned to her apartment to wait for her husband to come home from work. She arrived home at about 7:15 pm, and carried some groceries into her apartment.  Some relatives decided to go over and sit with her until her husband came home from work, and arrived at her apartment at about 8:40 pm. They couldn’t possibly be prepared for what awaited them.

When they entered the apartment, they discovered Lindy’s lifeless body on her kitchen floor. She had been stabbed several times, and there was a knife still embedded in her neck. Investigators would discover that the knife in Lindy’s neck was a knife that belonged to her from her own kitchen, but that a second knife was used in the attack as well, one that was not found at the crime scene and presumably was brought to and from the scene by her killer. Although police believed the attack was sexual in nature, there was no evidence of rape, or robbery. Police were quickly stumped. They had no real strong suspects at the time, and the case would quickly go cold. Until about a year later.

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The Cruel Writer

 

 

The Cruel Writer

 

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time seeking out cases in which a Person, wrote letters to police,or Victim’s family members, taking responsibility for a crime. One thing I’ve learned is, that it’s not very common. Most people do not want to be linked or associated with a crime case, and instead,would want to distance themselves from a crime, not write  a letter taking credit for it. That being said, I did find a few interesting cases in which this did happen, and I found evidence of a single cruel and twisted writer linking to multiple cases in multiple states.

Alicia Bernice Markovich vanished from Blairsville,Pennsylvania on April 26,1987 following an argument with her father.

Since her disappearance followed the argument with her father, investigators initially thought the 15 year old was a run away, but didn’t rule out the possibility she was the victim of foul play. Her case went cold until October,2000 when her father received an anonymous letter from somebody claiming to have killed Alicia. The letter, postmarked in Bedford New Hampshire, and including a return address on the envelope, instructed Alicia’s father to dig for her body along the Conemaugh River outside of Blairsville. Police took this letter seriously and sent detectives to the return address in Bedford to question the person living there. Upon arriving, they found a bewildered resident who knew nothing about the letter and never heard of Blairsville, Pennsylvania or Alicia Markovich.  Police ruled them out as a suspect, and decided the letter was likely a hoax,but still dug along the river where the letter instructed them to,but they found nothing.  Alicia has never been found and remains a missing person today almost 30 years later.

Colleen Orsborn, age 15, vanished from Daytona Beach,Florida on March 19,1984.

Despite searches,nothing was found of her. In February, 2001, Colleen’s brother received an anonymous,unsigned letter,postmarked February 21,2001, in Manchester, New Hampshire. The handwritten letter, filled with spelling errors, provided details and instructions to locate Colleen’s body along the Tomaka River along Route 415 in Daytona. The lead was a dead end and did not lead to Colleen’s Body. In 2007, DNA matched from a body found in 1984 in Orange County, Florida, was confirmed to belong to Colleen. Her body was found, but not her killer, although authorities suspect that she was the Victim of Serial Killer, Christopher Wilder. Wilder was killed in a struggle with Police in Colebrook, New Hampshire in 1984.

 

Deborah Ann Quimby was a 13 year old Girl in Townsend, Massachusetts who went missing on May 3, 1977 while riding her bike.

The young girl,as well as her bike, have never been found.  In November of 2002, Police received the first of two anonymous letters telling them to look in Walker Pond,close to where she vanished from. Police searched the pond but found nothing. A year to the day after the first letter was received, Police got a second letter urging investigators to “take a closer look”. Police once again searched the pond, and for a second time found no evidence of Deborah in the pond. The two letters had been postmarked in Worcester, Massachusetts and Manchester, New Hampshire, two towns about an hour from each other. But noteworthy was the fact that  Quimby had vanished from Townsend, which was located between the two towns in which these letters were postmarked. The letters didn’t lead to Quimby, and she remains missing today.

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Vulnerable in Ventura; The Case Of Cindy Lee Mellin

Vulnerable in Ventura, the case of Cindy Lee Mellin

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, long before the comfort and security of a cell phone to aide in an emergency, or the cameras along every street to provide clues in the cases of missing persons, young women simply vanished from the face of the Earth never to be seen again. One such woman was Cynthia Lee Mellin.

On January 20,1970, 19 year old Cindy Lee Mellin, as most people knew her, left her job at Broadway department store in Ventura,California  located in the Bueanaventura Shopping Center.

At 10:30 pm after closing, two of Cindy’s co-workers noticed Cindy standing by her car in the parking lot next to an unknown male,tall and slim, approximately 35-40 years old. The man was in the process of jacking up Cindy’s car. About thirty minutes later, after grabbing a cup of coffee, the co-workers passed by Cindy’s car once again. This time, they saw no people around it, and figured that Cindy’s father had come to pick her up after having car trouble. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.

 

The next morning, at 4:45 am, Cindy’s father awoke and immediately noticed that Cindy wasn’t home, and her car wan’t in the driveway. He quickly got dressed and drove to Cindy’s work to see if her car was there. He found her car,still up on the jack with the flat tire still on the car.  Cindy’s father knew something was wrong and immediately alerted police.

The police came to the scene, and quickly determined that Cindy was likely the victim of foul play, as she was a ‘good girl’ and not the type to run off or vanish on her own. The only thing police had to go on was the vague description of the man seen helping Cindy, and he quickly became a suspect.  One sinister fact stood out in Cindy’s case. Cindy’s father later examined the flat tire on her car, and found that it had been deliberately punctured with a large slash in one side.

Over the years, Cindy’s case went cold and she quickly became just another in a long line of young women missing in California during the time.

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A Monster in Fort Wayne; The Murder of April Marie Tinsley

A Monster in Fort Wayne, The Murder of April Marie Tinsley

 

Finding the right words for this post proved to be difficult. It’s hard not to feel a connection to people you write about, or to feel sorry for what happened to them, but researching and writing about the abduction, rape, and murder of April Marie Tinsley, took me to a place I don’t go to often.

April Marie Tinsley was a happy eight year old girl living in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1988.  On Friday, April 1st of that year- both April Fool’s Day, and Good Friday, April was abducted as she walked home from a friend’s house. What followed the abduction was heartache for her family, evidence of a sick and twisted monster responsible for her abduction, and a trail of taunting clues that would frustrate Investigators for years, and leave Fort Wayne in fear.

Immediately after her abduction, nearly a hundred police and residents searched in vain hoping to find any sign of April. They did not find her, but a major lead surfaced. A witness reported seeing a man in a light blue pickup truck pull April inside it.

Three days later, on April 4th, April’s body was found by a jogger in a ditch about twenty miles from where she was abducted. Although she was clothed, an autopsy would show that the little girl had been raped and suffocated.  Not far from the body, police discovered a sex toy.

Investigators found DNA that belonged to April’s killer. Despite the DNA, and the eye witness report, there were no arrests, and the case cooled off.

Two years later, in 1990 not far from where April’s body had been found, a teenage boy witnessed a man writing a message on a barn. The chilling message scrawled on the barn read, “I kill 8 year old April Marie Tisley I will kill again HaHa”. The writing looked like a child’s scrawl, and included misspellings. The teenage boy was not able to identify the man writing on the barn. It would take fourteen more years for the writer to make contact again, but he was not nearly finished with his taunts.

In spring of 2004, four handwritten notes turned up around Fort Wayne. These notes would be discovered in mailboxes and most shockingly of all, on bikes that belonged to little girls. The notes, all written on lined yellow paper, and with handwriting and misspellings that were similar to the previous barn writing, were left in plastic baggies, along with used condoms and Polaroid photos that partially showed the killer’s Body, and him masturbating. DNA collected from this new evidence, proved to be a match with the DNA of April’s Murderer. There was no doubt now, the sadistic writer was also April’s killer. One of the letters read as follows:

“Hi Honey I been watching you I am the same person that kidnapped and raped and killed April Tinsley. You are my next victim. If you don’t report this to police or I don’t see this in the paper tomorrow or on the local news or I will blow up your house”

This news once again sent area residents into a panic, with the realization that there may very well be a monster walking among them. After these letters were received the killer went silent and has not been heard from since.

Leads were followed up, and Suspects looked into, but no arrests were ever made. Despite the lack of an arrest, and the passage of almost 30 years, the killer left behind valuable clues that could one day help identify him.

There are the various writing samples.  There’s the sex toy that was found with April’s body.  There are the eye witness descriptions of the killer when he abducted April, and when he was seen writing on the barn. These eyewitness accounts have lead to rough sketches being produced of the killer. The Polaroids themselves may be a big clue to his identity. First off, Polaroid cameras were not widely used in 2004, so he likely owned one or borrowed one. The photos reveal that the killer was circumcised, and had hair on his legs. In at least one photo, there is clearly a distinct blue-green paisley-patterned bedspread.

Police believe that in 1988, the killer either owned or borrowed a light blue truck, and in 2004, owned or borrowed a green pickup truck with a matching camper shell that had dark tinted windows. The most important clue left behind by the killer was his DNA. This is one clue that will solidify a link between killer and Victim. In 2016, a cutting edge DNA technology was used to create a new composite sketch of what the Killer may very well look like based on his DNA.

Any murder is awful, but murder of a child is disgusting and unforgivable, and the levels of depravity in this case in particular, are especially nauseating. The pride he took in April’s rape and murder, and complete lack of remorse by this Killer, reminds us of the evil there is in this world. This monster still may be walking among the residents of Fort Wayne but it’s not too late to catch him, and bring closure to this case, and to April’s Family. My hope is that this post will be shared on social media, and that the associated photos and clues contained here, may be enough to make somebody come forward with a tip that solves this case. For April’s sake, and for the sake of the Children in Fort Wayne, let’s hope this case is one day solved, and that at least one Monster, can be taken off the streets.

If you have any tips or information about this case, please contact the Fort Wayne Police Department

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