A man seen walking a park trail near where two slain teen girls were last seen is now considered the “main suspect” in the killings, police said.
Indiana State Police released two photos of the man last week, noting that he was seen walking along the Delphi Historic Trails outside Indianapolis on Feb. 13 at about the same time 13-year-olds Abigail Williams and Liberty German were there.
The girls were found dead one day later, and their deaths are being investigated as a double homicide. Although the man was initially wanted only for questioning, police announced in a statement that they believe he may have participated in the killings.
“He’s not just someone we want to talk to; we consider him a suspect in these murders,” Sgt. Tony Slocum said on Sunday, according to CBS News. “We’re officially calling him a suspect versus a subject we’re looking to speak to. He’s going to be our main suspect at this time.”
The photos appear to show a white man dressed in light blue jeans and a blue jacket over a brown shirt. Police also announced in the statement that they last week executed a search warrant on a Delphi home, but no person in the residence is considered a suspect in the investigation.
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Relatives reported the girls missing on the night of Feb. 13 after the teens were dropped off to go hiking near an abandoned railroad known as the “Monon High Bridge.” The girls were supposed to be picked up by family later in the afternoon but never showed up.
The girls’ bodies were found nearly 60 feet from the edge of a creek on private property — less than a mile from where they were last seen alive, police said. Officials have not commented on whether they had any obvious injuries or how they died.
Liberty’s grandfather, Mike Patty, previously told PEOPLE that he’s having a hard time wrapping his head around the death of his granddaughter.
“I can’t imagine why [they were killed],” Patty told PEOPLE, through tears. “I just don’t know — my mind is really mush right now.”
He said that he often talked to Liberty about taking safety precautions while out on the trail: “It was something that I stressed, but I guess not enough.”
State authorities urge anyone with information on Liberty and Abigail’s deaths to call 844-459-5786.