"His name has come up through the process," Sheriff Tobe Leazenby said about the possible Delphi murders suspect

By Harriet Sokmensuer
July 22, 2019 12:55 PM
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An Indiana man who killed himself after a five-hour standoff with police is being investigated as a possible suspect in the unsolved 2017 double slaying of two young girls.

On June 27, Paul Etter killed himself while surrounded by police during a standoff in Boone County, the Journal & Courier, WFLI and Indianapolis Star report. Etter was pulled over by a Lebanon police officer who noticed the truck he was driving had been reported stolen earlier that day.

Etter was a suspect in the abduction and sexual assault of a 26-year-old woman days earlier. Now, he is also under investigation for his possible connection to the 2017 deaths of best friends Liberty “Libby” German and Abigail “Abby” Williams, the Courier reports.

“His name has come up through the process,” Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby said Friday when asked whether he could be the girls’ killer, according to the paper.

Paul Etter
Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office

On Feb. 13, 2017, 14-year-old Libby and best friend Abby, 13, were dropped off by their family to go for a hike on a local trail. The friends were supposed to be picked up from the trails by family later that afternoon, but they never showed up to the pickup location.

Less than 24 hours later, authorities found the girls’ bodies on the side of a creek, a mile from the trail.

RELATED: 5 Things to Know: The Case of Slain Indiana Teens Abigail Williams and Liberty German

Days after Libby and Abi’s deaths, authorities released photos taken by Libby showing a man on the hiking trail as well as an audio clip and police sketch. The unidentified man was later named the main suspect in the girls’ death.

German and Williams are believed to have been approached by this suspect on the bridge. German was able to record surreptitious video evidence of the man on her cellphone before her death, capturing him saying the eerie words “Guys, down the hill.”

This April, officers released an updated — and notably different — sketch of the suspect, as well as a previously unheard snippet of audio recording from German’s phone. They also unveiled a new bit of video footage of the suspect walking along the Monon High Bridge.

 

Updated sketch of Delphi suspect
Indiana State Police

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According to the Courier, Etter was a suspect in the five-hour abduction of a woman in eastern Tippecanoe County on June 22. The woman told police she had pulled into Etter’s driveway at 4:30 a.m. after getting a flat tire. When Etter came out to ask if she needed help, she felt uncomfortable, declined his offer and continued to drive down the county road to a friend’s home.

Etter allegedly followed her and when she pulled into her friend’s driveway, he got out of his vehicle, handcuffed her and put her into his vehicle. She says he then drove her back to his family’s farm, where over the course of five hours he allegedly held her against her will and sexually assaulted her.

Afterwards, Etter allegedly dropped the woman back off at her car and evaded police until he was pulled over on June 27.

Tippecanoe County investigators told the Courier Etter’s information was shared with nearby Carroll County authorities as part of police routine.

Anyone with information should email ABBYANDLIBBYTIP@CACOSHRF.COM or call 844-459-5786.

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