Grandparents of Murdered Delphi Teen Say Having a Suspect 'Would Allow Us to Move On'
A man's mugshot is being compared to a sketch of the suspect wanted in connection with the murder of two girls in 2017.
The grandparents of 14-year-old Libby German, who was killed with her best friend near an Indiana trail two years ago, say they are being cautious about the latest development in the case.
"We've been down this path a few times on a few other tips similar to this," Libby's grandfather, Mike Patty, told Inside Edition Monday. "We're really going to wait until we get something from law enforcement."
Libby and 13-year-old Abby Williams were found dead near a rural hiking trail in Delphi, Indiana, on Feb. 14, 2017. No suspects have been identified but authorities are now investigating a possible new link.
Charles Andrew Eldridge, 46, was taken into custody on Jan. 8 after allegedly arranging a meeting for sex with a police officer posing as a teen girl. He faces multiple charges, including two counts of child molestation, and is currently being held without bond. He has not yet entered a plea.
During the course of news coverage of his arrest, local Indiana residents noticed his mugshot resembled the sketch of Abby and Libby's alleged killer and began calling the tip line.
After receiving multiple calls, Capt. Dave Bursten of the Indiana State Police assured the public the task force dedicated to finding the teens' killer investigates every tip.
“I can promise you this: When an arrest is made of a suspect identified ... as the alleged perpetrator of the Delphi Murders, rest assured, we will let everyone know," Bursten said in a statement.
Libby's grandparents, Mike and Becky Patty, told Inside Edition they are hesitant to get too hopeful about this latest development.
"We don't allow ourselves to put too much hope in anything until we hear from law enforcement because, emotionally, we just just can't continue doing that," Becky Patty said.
Inside Edition's Steven Fabian asked, "If this does pan out, what would that mean to you and your family?"
"There'll never be closure," Mike Patty said. "We've lost our girls. They're not coming back. But at least it would allow us to move on from this chapter to the next so we could all start to heal because right now, it's just kind of an open wound."
Eldridge is an avid hiker and former security guard. He shared posts on social media appealing for information in Abby and Libby's case.
Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow said Eldridge's interest in missing children could be concerning.
"People who have a perverse interest in young girls sexually and who may have violent intentions toward them besides their sexual interest may find it titillating for whatever reason to comment on missing children," he said. "But the fact that he did also makes it very important for police to take this tremendously seriously."
Authorities have yet to identify a suspect, though the FBI released a composite sketch of man believed to have committed the murders just a few months after they happened. Another one of the clues in the killings is a chilling audio recording captured on one of the girls' phones of a man's voice saying, "Down the hill."
If you have a tip, you can send it to authorities at Abbyandlibbytip@cacoshrf.com or call 844-459-5786.
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