Are Delphi investigators closing in?

During the past week, a great deal of new information has emerged regarding the Delphi murder investigation.  We learned that the Indiana State Police briefly took custody of Kegan Kline, for what purpose we do not know.  However, around the time this was occurring, a search of the Wabash River ensued in an area of Peru near where Kegan Kline lived with his father at the time of the murders.  We also found out that Kline is currently in negotiations with prosecutors regarding the numerous charges that are currently leveled against him.  All of this leads many to speculate that he may be cooperating with authorities in the Delphi investigation.  

However, the first piece of information to drop, the big steaming matzah ball served up for public consumption by the Murder Sheet podcast that kicked off this latest round of discussion, revealed that “Kegan Kline had searched for the location of the Marathon Gas station in Delphi on the day of the murders.”  This information set off a frenzy of speculation regarding what significance the Marathon Gas station might hold in the investigation.  Of course, it is impossible to know and any guess is bound to be way off base, but there are a few things we can deduce.  We know that Kegan Kline’s phone was in Peru at a location on Country Club Road around the time of the murders.  In the interrogation transcript, investigators indicate that they do not believe that Kline committed the murders.  Sure, they could have been blowing smoke up his fat, lying ass, but it is generally assumed that, while he possesses some knowledge of the crime, he is not the perpetrator.  

It seems reasonable to speculate that someone planning to commit an act like this would probably not carry with him a device that could potentially be tracked at a later date.  A cellphone with Google Maps would likely be left behind by the perpetrator.  He probably wouldn’t even want to drive a newer vehicle with some sophisticated onboard computer.  The perp has knowledge that the girls are going to be at the bridge, because he has obtained the information through either Kegan Kline or Kegan Kline’s device.  The predator drives to Delphi without a smart device.  It’s easy to find, he knows how to get there.  Maybe he’s been there before.  However, once in Delphi, he is unsure of the location of the Monon High Bridge, or he has questions.  Obviously, he’s not going to ask any locals for information or directions, because he knows what he is about to do, and he doesn’t want to present himself to a local resident as the stranger in town looking for what is about to become the site of a heinous crime.  He needs to talk to Kegan.  He looks for a payphone.  He finds one at a gas station nearby.  He places a call to Kegan and gives his location, prompting Kegan’s search for the Marathon Gas station.  Kegan then gives him directions to the Monon High Bridge.   

Obviously, there are countless possibilities why Kegan Kline searched for the location of the Marathon Gas station on the day of the murders.  The one just presented, while plausible, is almost certainly not the correct one.  Additionally, the news that the FBI failed to obtain security footage from the gas station is extremely disappointing, but seems about right for this case.  An unseen predator walks in and out of the crime scene area and no reliable description or likeness can be obtained.  The monster is caught on video, but the image is so grainy that still very little can be known for sure about his appearance.  And now it’s possible he may have been at a location where he could have been captured on security video, but instead he again eludes investigators.  At times this predator seems like a shifting spirit of evil formed in the darkest corners of the internet, manifesting as a figure of terror on a bridge.  However, the picture seems to be getting clearer and investigators appear to be closing in.  Hopefully soon, there will be resolution and justice for the families of those two innocent children of Delphi.

Murder Sheet podcast throws pretty big matzah ball out there regarding Delphi investigation

This week’s Murder Sheet podcast details the FBI’s gross mishandling of allegations against Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics by agents working out of its Indianapolis field office.  These are some of the same agents who were on the scene in Delphi at the very earliest stages of the investigation into the murder of Abigail Williams and Liberty German.  According to details released in the podcast, a law enforcement source revealed that “the FBI was in charge of obtaining relevant surveillance from local establishments.”  These establishments included a Marathon gas station.  At the 31:16 mark, podcasters drop this large, steaming matzah ball into the proceedings:  “As it turned out, our sources tell us, Kegan Kline had searched for the location of the Marathon Gas station in Delphi on the day of the murders.”  The Murder Sheet podcasters go on to detail how the FBI failed to obtain the surveillance footage from the Marathon Gas station, thus eliminating any opportunity to discover whether or not it contained any footage relevant to the investigation.  Could someone resembling Kline or bridge guy have appeared on that footage?

As if Kegan Kline didn’t have enough explaining to do regarding the stack of “coincidences” linking him to Liberty German, or his strange and incriminating online behavior around the time of the murders, now we find out that he or his device is searching a Delphi location the day of the murders.  Of course, there could be a perfectly reasonable explanation involving Kegan falling asleep super stoned and his Las Vegas buddy commandeering his device.  It isn’t hard to imagine Kline spinning some improbable sequence of events.  However, it would be interesting to know when on that day the search took place.  Is the search done around the time of communication with Liberty German?  Is the search done around the time of the murders?  Could the search have been involved in the planning of the crime, or could it have been connected to the commission of the crime?  Maybe it’s just a big nothing matzah ball.        

It is still hard to imagine Kegan Kline as the perpetrator of these murders.  He doesn’t resemble bridge guy and he appears incapable of the physicality required to carry out the attack.  It seems more likely someone else is accessing his device, or he is conducting these incriminating communications and searches at the behest of another.  Regardless, the more details that come out, the more it appears Kegan Kline is the key to unraveling this case and identifying bridge guy once and for all.

Interview Room profiler on Delphi predator: “I don’t think it was his first time”

In last Sunday’s The Interview Room with Chris McDonough, former FBI profiler and executive director of the Cold Case Foundation, Gregory Cooper, sketched out a possible profile of the murderer of Abigail Williams, 13, and Liberty German, 14, of Delphi, Indiana.  Assessing solely the Delphi predator’s approach to the crime, Cooper was able to infer a number of probable traits and behaviors exhibited by Bridge Guy.  In a somewhat startling claim, Cooper asserted that he believed this crime was not Bridge Guy’s first attempt to go from fantasy to reality.   

“I don’t think it was his first time.  I think there were other incidents….I think there were other approaches he’s made in the past…maybe other types of assaults…other efforts that have been made.  But he’s been practicing, most likely.”

Although not a lot is known about the actual crime scene, Cooper was able to offer some thoughts on the Delphi predator from what is known.  Former Carroll County Prosecutor Robert Ives has described the crime scene as “odd” and that it displayed at least three “signatures.”  Drawing on that information, Cooper formed some conclusions about Bridge Guy.

“(The presence of) signatures suggest the probability exists that this individual has either committed crimes in the past and/or most likely will commit crimes in the future.”

Cooper also concluded the signatures suggest an emotional and psychological investment in the crime scene.  Whereas Ives described the crime scene as ‘staged’ in an effort to trick investigators, Cooper differs from him on that point.

“This is posing….Posing of the body is more of a signature where you‘re now projecting a psychological perspective….There are things he did with those victims that meant something to him….A projection of the personality of the offender into the crime scene.  It meant something to him.” 

So where does this leave some of the more recent individuals put forward as possible suspects?  Do they fit the profile laid out by Cooper during his appearance on The Interview Room?

Due to the recent release of an FBI search warrant affidavit by the Murder Sheet podcast, a number of online sleuthers have been putting forward the now deceased Ron Logan as the killer of Abby and Libby.  However, from what is publicly known about Logan, he doesn’t seem to fit Cooper’s profile of the Delphi predator.  Additionally, it appears nothing ever came of the search of Logan’s property.  To be sure, Logan would have to be one of the most thoughtless predators in criminal history to commit a crime in what is essentially his own backyard and then make no effort to conceal or dispose of the bodies.       

One individual authorities have looked at pretty intensely is Kegan Kline.  Currently sitting in jail on multiple counts of possession of child pornography, child exploitation and child solicitation, investigators seem to believe he had some involvement or knows something about who perpetrated the murders.  The transcript of his interrogation also reveals investigators attempting to pull Kegan’s father, Tony Kline, into the investigation.  How many of the boxes do either of the Kline’s check on Gregory Cooper’s Delphi predator profile?  Neither of the Klines seem like a perfect fit, but there is much we don’t know about them and it’s possible Cooper’s profile is not without its flaws. 

However, this brings up an interesting comment made by former WISH-TV journalist, Demie Johnson, who, during a recent appearance on the Murder Sheet podcast, related information she received from sources inside law enforcment.  

“Who else are they looking at?  Because I was told in the very beginning when I learned about Kegan Kline that he’s not the guy, he just knows who it is or is part of it.  So, to me, it’s like who do they know it is or who do they think it is and why can’t they go after that person?  What’s missing and was it a mistake by law enforcement?  Did they make mistakes along the way?”

Indeed, one gets the impression from the Kegan Kline interrogation that investigators don’t think he’s the perpetrator.  But due to the fact that he was in contact with Liberty the day of the murders, coupled with the peeping tom incident that arose from exchanges with the anthony_shots profile, Kline clearly has some explaining to do.  Of course, Kline’s father is the closest person in his orbit, but there are probably many others in the Kline milieu and beyond that are being looked at.   

Whoever the Delphi predator is, if he evenly broadly matches Cooper’s profile, it is almost a cosmic certainty that he is deeply immersed in online pornography and some of that most likely involves CSAM.  The likelihood that this crime is linked to some organized ring or loose confederation of child predators of diverse intentions and degrees of depravity seems like a pretty good bet.  Could one of their number have obtained information about the girls via Kegan Kline or the anthony_shots profile and chose that opportunity to make his approach and carry out his dark fantasies?

Interview Room panel sheds light on Delphi predator

Sunday evening’s episode of The Interview Room with Chris McDonough featured a panel of experts from the Cold Case Foundation who provided a number of valuable insights into a possible profile of the assailant of Abigail Williams, 13, and Liberty German, 14, of Delphi, Indiana.  The panel included McDonough, Gregory Cooper and Dean Jackson, all of the Cold Case Foundation.  Also joining the group was Tom McHoes, an investigative journalist who co-authored with Cooper the book Predators: Who They Are and How to Stop Them.

A bulk of the insights into the Delphi predator came from Cooper, who is executive director of the Cold Case Foundation and a former FBI profiler.  Because little is known about the crime scene, Cooper relied mostly on the perpetrator’s approach to the crime to discern possible traits and motivations of the killer.

“What type of person would select two young girls in an isolated area, would make that approach with sufficient intimidation to manipulate them, to garner their compliance and submission?  Just the approach alone, what does that tell us about this individual without talking about the crime scene?”  

“What’s he out there for?  He’s prepared to commit a crime.…He has weapons on him….(He is) able to to take a look at those victims and assess their vulnerability right away….He makes this approach, addresses them, refers to them as guys and directs them down the hill.  And, evidently, they comply.  So, at some point, he has the ability, early on, and is confident enough that if he makes this approach, that he’s going to get them to respond the way he wants (them) to.”

“He’s prepared to do this.  He’s been thinking about this.  And he didn’t just wake up that morning thinking about it.  This isn’t the first time he thought about committing a crime like this.  He’s looking for the right victims at the right time, the right environment, situation and circumstances, that to his planning and fantasy that he’s been engaged in for a significant period of time is going to match.  The stars are going to line up for him.  And they did.”

Cooper’s description of the assailant here is chilling.  According to Cooper, the Delphi predator, more commonly referred to as Bridge Guy, is at the Monon High Bridge that day fully prepared and intending to commit a crime.  Whether he knew Abigail and Liberty would be there or not, he was seeking a victim.  Cooper repeatedly makes clear that this was not an impulsive act.  The crime that occurred that day was not the result of another criminal act that escalated or spun out of control.  The predator had been fantasizing, planning and preparing for this moment “for a significant period of time.”

Crucial to the Delphi predator’s “approach” is the victim type.  Cooper examines in detail why Bridge Guy made the choices he made concerning the victims.  At the top of the list would be choosing a victim that would ensure success carrying out his fantasy.

“I would theorize that he’s not looking for adult victims.  He knows that the more vulnerable, the least resistant, the more compliant, it reduces his risk level.  Number one of being caught and identified, and it increases his level of being successful….He’s determined before the type of victim, even the age range.  He has an interest in younger females that he’s been fantasizing about what he’d like to do….They weren’t targeted because they were known, but they were targeted because they fit the profile of his fantasy.  It would increase the success of his crime, plus it would satisfy his inclinations and urges.”

“What level of confidence would they have with an adult female who is mature and confident?  What type of behavioral characteristics in this type of offender?…This is not a guy to drive a sports car, to go out with an attractive woman who can carry on an intelligent conversation.  This is a guy who feel’s more comfortable around children because they’re easier to influence….Consequently, he has developed a sexual interest in them as well….This guy lacks confidence in social circles.  He withdraws from normal social circles.  He’s not confident carrying on an intelligent conversation, mutual conversations with an intelligent adult female.”

From Cooper’s description, it seems likely that the Delphi predator did not feel confident that he could manipulate and control an adult female victim, and likely lacks confidence around adult females in general.  Bridge Guy chose his victims and his approach because it gave him a sense of confidence and assurance that he could be successful in fulfilling his fantasy.  But where did that confidence come from?  Why was he so sure he could manipulate younger victims and “garner their compliance and submission?”  According to Cooper, “I don’t think it was his first time.  I think there were other incidents.”  

More of Cooper’s thoughts and observations will be examined in a subsequent blog post.

A figure on a bridge

Recent revelations from the Kegan Kline interrogation transcript obtained by the Murder Sheet podcast provide a glimpse into the sinister world of internet child predators.  The lengthy police interview reveals how Kline, operating under the online profile anthony_shots, was able to connect with victims, obtain their trust and convince them to provide images, identities and private details of their lives.  There is even a bizarre portion of the interview where interrogators and Kline discuss a situation where he and another profile seem to be catfishing one another.  However, Kline admits to the police interrogator that he was aware at the time that he was probably interacting with someone more like himself rather than an underrage girl.    

For much of the interview, interrogators confront Kline with evidence that he was almost certainly not the only person with access to the anthony_shots profile.  Investigators zero in on Kegan Kline’s father, Tony Kline, as another individual who could have been logging into the account.  Their interest in Tony Kline could make him a potential suspect in the Delphi murders as well as in a disturbing peeping tom incident referenced in the transcript.  In both instances, the anthony_shots profile was in communication with the girls and had knowledge of their whereabouts prior to the incidents.             

The networking of catfishers along with the potential for multiple individuals to have access to a single profile illustrates how these online predators share their revolting plunder with one another.  It also begs the question, how widely disseminated were the images and interactions obtained by the anthony_shots profile?  Could others, besides the Klines, have obtained information on the victims prior to the incidents discussed in the interrogation?  What is the likelihood that a group could be sharing their twisted fantasies with one another, resulting in someone in their midst manifesting their vile yearnings in the real world?

Around the time investigators announced they were seeking information on the anthony_shots profile, in another part of the State of Indiana, a man named Trent Walker of Spencer County was revealed to have been the mastermind of an online group that preyed upon children.  According to a November 17, 2021 Department of Justice press release, Walker “was sentenced to 210 years in federal prison for sexually exploiting two young children and sharing the images and videos he created.”

The description of Walker’s crimes is beyond horrifying.  “Trent Walker, 36, began sexually abusing one of the victims when she was a toddler. The abuse continued over a six-year period and was sadistic in nature. During the sentencing hearing, Judge Richard L. Young, who presided, noted that Walker’s abuse of the child could fairly be described as torture. Walker also abused a six-year-old child for a several-month period. Both victims were in Walker’s care when he abused them.

“Walker created hundreds of images and videos of his sexual abuse of both victims, which he shared with an online group he ran. The group was dedicated to sadistically exploiting small children, some as young as infants. Walker served as the group’s moderator. He encouraged others to share sadistic abuse material, trained others how to conceal their identities online to avoid detection, and coached members of the group on how to abuse young children psychologically, physically, and sexually,” the press release states.

While Spencer County is hundreds of miles from Delphi, the case is instructive because it exposes not only the lone monster inhabiting a dark corner of an unsuspecting community, but also reveals with terrifying clarity how an individual bent on depravity and destruction is able to connect with, instruct and train a whole network of like-minded predators via the internet.  The online group to which Trent Walker served as moderator was “dedicated to sadistically exploiting small children.”  Walker “coached members of the group on how to abuse young children psychologically, physically, and sexually.”  The idea of a lone individual offender engaging in this type of behavior is chilling enough.  The reality that entire groups exist to promote and spread this evil is disturbing beyond comprehension.  

It’s been five years since the Delphi murders.  Five years ago a figure appeared on a bridge.  His blurred likeness was captured on video for all to see, and his words were recorded for the world to hear.  Yet no one, as far as we know, has been able to recognize and identify the individual.  Adding to the mystery, no one knows definitively how he got out on that bridge or how he fled the scene once he had completed his cruel handiwork.  He disappeared as mysteriously as he materialized, becoming a spirit in the wind, a demonic force evading capture.  Five years ago, on an abandoned railroad bridge 70 feet above a frigid creek, two innocent children of the Delphi community crossed paths with a figure from nowhere.  A sinister force partially molded in the depraved and disgusting hovels of the internet, emerging into the physical world to enact his sadistic nightmares.  No doubt he’ll be found lurking there in his dark sanctuary, concealed in some dread corner of the web.