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The Delphi Murders - An Investigator’s Update
My last post (here
) received much more attention then I expected it to get and I would like to thank those of you were kind enough to post nice comments and to those who gave me reddit gold and premium.
I have been messaged by several of you asking for my thoughts and comments on the press conference recently held by the Indiana State Police (ISP). I thought I would wait the “two weeks” mentioned in the press conference in case further information was published, but nothing else seems forthcoming.
My last post focused on investigative techniques used to trace people whereas this post will just be my thoughts and comments on the new information. As before, if I have missed something or made an error please point it out and I will correct it.
To start, I will repeat the disclaimer I used in my last post:
Disclaimer: I worked in Law Enforcement (not in the US) for 10 years as an investigator and a further 5 years in private investigation. I have worked on lots of different types of investigation such as drug trafficking, sex trafficking, counterfeit documents, corporate espionage, missing persons and bribery. I have never worked on murder cases but I am well versed in the type of methods that law enforcement uses to trace people. Other than what has been published in the media and here on this sub I know no more about this case than any of you. Superintendent Carter
I ended my last post by saying:
I’m sure the police are doing so much more than they have publicly stated, and I’m almost certain they would have done most, if not all, of what I have written this evening. I know it gets frustrating but believe me, the Indiana police will be working harder than you can possibly imagine to solve this.
I watched the whole press conference and it was very moving to hear Superintendent Carter speak. He looked and sounded like he hadn’t slept in two years and has relived the murders countless times. I sincerely hope he and his team are receiving regular counselling. The burden and pressure of trying to solve this case, especially after two years, must be immense.
I have read a lot of the comments here and I know there is a lot of frustration about the apparent slow progress and people have been making assumptions about things that may or may not have happened in regards to the ISP handling of the case. However I don’t think it is helpful to make assertions as to the competence of individual officers when we don’t know the full facts. If anyone thought that the police were not doing all they could to solve this case, then just listen to this man’s voice. The Press Conference
It sounded like Superintendent Carter had been well coached by the FBI Profilers. Lots of direct language, not only talking to BG but most importantly to his friends and family, people he may have told or people who suspect. In Press Conferences so long after the actual event (2 years in this case) your main hope is not the general public, but someone who is linked to your target.
The press conferences I was involved in many years ago were much different. Just a very short, concise presentation focusing on the key facts of the case so that the press and public received a clear message. But those press conferences were shortly after the event, not 2 years after.
My main concern with the press conference was with the new BG sketch, which got me a little confused (is it the same guy?) and will discuss in the next section. However I understand the ISP has since clarified that the new sketch is the most accurate depiction of BG.
Overall I thought the press conference went well and the updates and appeals resonated well and I am glad there is still significant media and public attention to this case. The New Information
In the press conference, the ISP presented new information, the most significant being the following:
• A short video clip of BG walking across the Monon High Bridge.
• A slightly longer audio clip which included BG saying “guys”.
• A new suspect sketch of what appears to be a different person than the previous sketch.
• Details of a
vehicle near an abandoned building.
• Police believe that BG has local connections.
My first thoughts regarding the new suspect sketch was that it is totally different from the last one. I felt the ISP didn’t really tell us whether this was a completely new guy or not. But they followed up a day or so later with a clarification saying the new sketch is the most accurate.
So, does the new sketch come from a new eye witness? I read a news article that said this sketch was created shortly after the murders. If this is true, why did the ISP only wait until now to release the new sketch? Was there a previous eye witness who is now deemed to be unreliable?
Or is this simply a case of eye witness testimony and individual recollections being very unreliable? To me, this is the most likely answer. Witness testimony is notoriously unreliable. I did a training course once to help prepare us to face cross examination in court and we were asked to look out the window and watch a guy cross a busy street. We then were told to sit in silence for 5 minutes and then write down what we saw. I whole room of law enforcement professionals all described this simple act in different ways, including different descriptions of the guy crossing the street. If the ISP no longer have faith in the old sketch, how can we be sure the new sketch is accurate?
I was very pleased to see the ISP releasing more information, especially the video and audio clip. I think it is much easier to identify someone from seeing a video rather than a photograph or a still image. It was also interesting, as many here have already pointed out, that BG said “guys” to the two girls, with some people intelligently pointing out on this sub that this could potentially indicate a familiarity to working with young children, or a local dialect.
I still don’t know why this short video clip wasn’t released earlier. I get that you don’t want to publicly reveal all the evidence you have but it was stated in the press that the police possessed a video from the outset.
What we can be almost certain about is that the ISP do not have a close-up video or photo of BG. As this surely would have been released by now, wouldn’t it? The Vehicle EDIT: It appears I misheard some of the information in the press conference. Thank you to those who pointed out that the vehicle wasn’t abandoned but was parked for a period of time at an abandoned building. So ISP do not have the vehicle in their possession.
What immediately got me excited was the information about the abandoned vehicle. Vehicles are goldmines of evidence. Is this just something the police are trying to rule out of their investigation or is this BG’s car? or a did someone drop BG off there and then dump the car?
Cars must be registered, and police can easily track down owners. Cars are full of DNA and fingerprints. The engine can be taken apart and motor parts and even the car battery can be tracked to specific repair shops and stores. Analysis of soil and foliage underneath cars can be performed to see how long the vehicle was left there. Dirt in vehicle tyres can be analyzed and compared to different areas. Did it have a full tank of gas? If so, it was most likely filled up nearby. Does that gas station have payment records or CCTV? There is so much you can do with vehicles.
I’m intrigued as to why ISP haven’t released more information on this vehicle. I mean, who is going to remember an abandoned vehicle (with no given description) at a random location over 2 years ago? The Shack
I received a message asking me about my thoughts on the mention of the Shack movie. I had never heard of it! I honestly have no idea. It may be that Superintendent Carter was simply talking freely and the movie had touched him when he watched it and he felt like sharing that.
The conspiracist theorist in me thought about IP tracing. I saw from JustWatch
that The Shack isn’t available on streaming sites like netflix. So to watch it you either have to pay for it directly or illegally download it. It is not beyond the capabilities of law enforcement to monitor ISPs for specific torrents in specific geographical areas. If they believe BG is local and was following the press conference, then by deliberating mentioning an obscure movie, this could be a way of generating leads if BG decides to download it. But the realist in me says this is very unlikely. Local Connections
I don't believe BG lives locally. I grew up in a small town of similar size to Delphi and literally everyone knew everyone. Even if you didn't know someone's name, you knew their face and you certainly knew someone who you could ask.
So does BG have some sort of local connection? probably, but there are so many factors in this its hard to arrive at a conclusion as to the specific connection. ISP are saying this for a reason, it's fair to say they know more than they are saying publicly. Securing a Conviction
Please remember that from a police perspective, it simply isn’t enough to identify Bridge Guy (BG – who it is assumed is the murderer). The ISP need enough evidence to secure a conviction
. They need to put him at the crime scene. Which leads us on nicely to the issue of DNA.
Given that there is not a suspect in custody, we can make the following hypothesis about DNA in this case:
- If the ISP had a suspect in mind and found his DNA at the crime scene he would be arrested by now or at the very least an appeal for his arrest would be made public. Therefore, we can assume that the ISP either have no DNA or no suspect.
- The ISP found unknown DNA at the crime scene and have no match and subsequent searches on genealogy websites have also produced inconclusive results.It would be very surprising that someone could commit a brutal double murder and not have previously come to the attention of law enforcement.
- The ISP found partial DNA at the crime scene which isn’t enough to run a search.
- The ISP found DNA belonging to family members or friends of the two girls at the crime scene but either have no evidence or no reason to suspect involvement in the murders. Given that there is a voice recording (and at least some video) of BG, its logical to assume that family and friends have been eliminated from police enquiries and this option is very unlikely.
- The ISP have no DNA.
Unless they can put BG at the crime scene, I feel circumstantial evidence may not be enough in this case. Without DNA police will need a confession from BG, or someone he may have told or a murder weapon (if there was one, we still don’t officially know how the girls died). They have BGs voice on recording, although I have never heard of a case proved in court based upon identifying a suspect through voice analysis. If anyone has heard of a case like this I would be very interested in reading it. Conclusion
The more time that passes after a crime has been committed the less likely it is that it will be solved. There is only so much an investigator can do before the leads are all exhausted and you begin to rely on an external factor or just some good luck to make any significant advancement on the case.
Keeping the case in the public eye is now very important, and in my opinion, the most likely way of solving this case is if someone comes forward and offers information to the police.
You are all playing your part to keeping the case in the public eye through your posts on this subreddit. I hope this case gets resolved soon.
I would like to thank you for reading.
Edit: some formatting and forgot the local connections paragraph. Im not good at this.
Edit 2: clarification on the vehicle. Thank you to those who spotted my mistake.