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.

Snapchat attacks continue unabated

Anyone who has followed the Delphi murder case and is familiar with the Kegan Kline police interview transcript might understandably wonder what the hell is going on with these social media messaging apps.  According to media outlets, Snapchat and Kik were the preferred avenues for Kegan Kline to connect with underage victims and solicit illegal images.  Well, it turns out Kline is not the only predator who has had success utilizing these platforms to victimize children.  In fact, the modus operandi is so common in the State of Indiana alone, that one wonders if there isn’t a playbook these criminal deviants follow.

A June press release from the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana offers up two such graduates of the Snapchat and Kik school of child exploitation and victimization.  The June 17, 2022 release titled Two Predators Sentenced to Federal Prison for Sexually Exploiting Four Children They met on Social Media Platforms reads in part:

“INDIANAPOLIS – Thomas James Israel, 46, of Ft. Wayne, and Max Schafer, 31, of Brownsburg, were each sentenced to federal prison for their role in exploiting four children between October 2019 and August 2020. One of the victims was exploited by both Israel and Schafer during separate incidents. Israel previously pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child and distribution of child sexual abuse material. On November 15, 2021, Chief Judge Tanya Walton Pratt sentenced Israel to twenty-five years in federal prison. Late yesterday, Schafer pleaded guilty to receipt of visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct and possession of child sexual abuse material. District Judge James R. Sweeney II sentenced Schafer to over fourteen years (175 months) in federal prison.

“According to court documents, between April 2020 and June 2020, Israel met his first minor victim, who was 14, using online applications such as Omegle and Meetme. Using Snapchat and Kik, Israel persuaded this victim to meet with him in person, then forced the victim into sadomasochistic sexual abuse, including forceful oral sex and assault. Israel recorded the sexual abuse on his mobile phone and later sent the video to the victim.

“Israel met a second minor victim using Snapchat and persuaded the victim to send him explicit videos and photos of herself. When this victim was between 14 and 16 years old, she sent her minor boyfriend sexually explicit images and videos of herself. Without her consent, the boyfriend disseminated the images and videos over the internet. Israel downloaded those images and videos onto his online storage account and viewed them for a sexual purpose. 

“Israel met his third minor victim, who was between 14 and 16 years’ old, over Omegle. Knowing that the victim suffered from mental health issues, Israel induced her to produce child sex abuse material, and to sell the images and videos to others online. Israel took a percentage of the fees and paid the victim by sending her gift cards from Victoria’s Secret.

“According to court documents, Schafer also met Israel’s first minor victim using Omegle. Knowing that the minor victim was only fourteen years old, Schafer met and engaged in sexually explicit conduct with the victim. Schafer also persuaded the victim to send him the video that Israel produced, depicting Israel’s violent sexual abuse of the child.

“Schafer also met his second minor victim, who was 16, using Omegle and Snapchat. Schafer persuaded this girl to send him sexually explicit images and videos of herself for his sexual purpose.

“Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana and Herbert J. Stapleton, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Indianapolis Field Office made the announcement.

“The FBI Violent Crime Task Force investigated the case. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department also provided valuable assistance. As part of Israel’s sentence, Judge Pratt ordered that he be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for life following his release from prison and pay $16,000 in restitution to the victims. As part of Schafer’s sentence, Judge Sweeney ordered that he be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 40 years following his release from prison and pay $6,000 in restitution to the victims. Both Israel and Schafer must also register as sex offenders wherever they live, work, or go to school, as required by law.”

Here again, we have yet another example of the social media apps Snapchat and Kik facilitating a connection between predators and their victims for the purpose of exploitation and abuse.  As we saw with Kegan Kline, who quite openly and brazenly attempted to victimize children using the online profile Emily Anne 45, often the profile ruse is dropped while the predator looks for a reaction to suggestions of sexual activity between the minor and a much older adult.  In one interaction, Kline solicits images and information on behalf of his middle-aged father, which eventually leads to a Skype call taking place.  How is it that these messaging apps, for all their sophistication, allow these clearly illegal conversations to slip by without any red flags going up?

The cases of Israel and Schafer provide a further glimpse into the despicable world these predators inhabit and may even indicate a level of coordination between them.  Israel is using the social media apps Snapchat and Kik to solicit sexual abuse material and arrange meetings to inflict violent abuse and produce CSAM.  He appears to possess an extensive knowledge of ways to choose the most vulnerable and inflict his sadistic abuse on them for pleasure and profit.  For his part, Schafer is abusing at least one of the same victims as Israel, and he’s aware of the video Israel produced with that victim.  

It is difficult to discern with certainty from the press release, but is it the case that these predators are communicating and coordinating with one another on some level?  Are they “sharing” victims?  Israel targets a teen who has already been victimized by her boyfriend.  Schafer targets one of Israel’s victims.  It certainly appears that, at least at some level, these predators are loosely associated.  It is more than just the case that they are swimming in the same waters, but that they are exchanging victims and probably even exchanging information on how to exploit the vulnerabilities of these victims.  Israel produced a video that was in demand.  He also coerced one of his victims to make videos to sell for his monetary benefit.  Obviously, there is a market for these videos.  We know these predators exchange videos, but are they also exchanging information with designs on inflicting abuse?  Could Kegan Kline, as seemingly “a member in good standing” in one of these pedophile circles, have passed on information to a member with extremely violent intentions, who turned around and used that knowledge to carry out his twisted fantasies on two innocent children of Delphi.  It appears increasingly likely.

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.

Following Kegan Kline disclosures, predators continue to utilize Snapchat to claim victims

Following the release in March of a police interview transcript obtained by The Murder Sheet podcast that revealed Kegan Kline of Peru, Indiana, allegedly utilized the social media platform Snapchat to obtain sexually explicit photos of underage girls, multiple offenders in the intervening months have been convicted in Indiana of using Snapchat and Facebook to prey upon underage victims.  

According to WTHR, Kegan Kline currently sits in jail facing 30 charges involving child pornography and child exploitation after admitting “to creating the social media profile ‘anthony_shots’ to meet underage girls and receive sexually explicit photos.”  Kline is also alleged to have been one of the last to communicate with Liberty German prior to her murder on February 13, 2017.

Since these revelations, multiple offenders have been prosecuted and convicted in Indiana for soliciting sexual abuse material from underage victims.  However, even more disturbing, some offenders have used these platforms to meet with victims for the purpose of committing acts of abuse.  According to a May 5, 2022 Department of Justice, Southern District of Indiana press release:

“Gerald Hoye, 43, of Indianapolis, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison following his guilty plea to sexual exploitation of a child.

“According to court documents, agents with the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that sexually explicit images of a child had been sent from a child’s Facebook account to an adult’s Facebook account. Further information received from NCMEC showed sexually explicit conversations were taking place through Facebook Messenger between the child and the adult.

“Law enforcement officers determined the adult was Hoye, a then-41-year-old truck driver living in Indianapolis. The child victim lived in another state and was under 16 years old. Hoye coerced and manipulated the child by offering her money in exchange for sexually explicit photos and videos. In September of 2019, Hoye traveled to the victim’s home and transported her to another state, where he engaged in illegal sexual conduct with the child.”

For all its sophisticated algorithms, Facebook relies on the NCMEC to detect and identify the exploitation of a child over its own messaging app.  These interactions escalated to the point where “Hoye traveled to the victim’s home and transported her to another state, where he engaged in illegal sexual conduct with the child.”  That is extremely terrifying.  How is it the case that Facebook can detect alleged misinformation on its platform and shut that down, but is apparently clueless when a felony is taking place?    

Around the time the public was learning of Kegan Kline’s horrific exploits, another man was convicted in the Southern District of Indiana for committing similar offenses via Snapchat.  According to a March 17, 2022 DOJ press release: 

“Matthew O. Walker, 28, of Augusta, Georgia, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to the sexual exploitation of a child.

“According to court documents, Walker sexually exploited 3 Indiana children and 2 children from South Carolina. Walker first came to the attention of federal authorities in the fall of 2019, when Walker had engaged in sexually explicit Snapchat communications with two minor boys in the Southern District of Indiana. Walker misrepresented himself on Snapchat as a teenage girl, persuading minors to create and send him images and videos of themselves engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Walker threatened the minors that he would distribute these images and videos of these minors to their respective families if they did not do as he instructed.

“Federal investigators discovered that Walker was living in Georgia. With assistance from law enforcement there, a search warrant was executed at Walker’s residence. Evidence was seized and Walker admitted to communication with multiple underage boys online. Walker also admitted to receiving child sexual abuse material through Snapchat and other social media platforms. Walker pled guilty to sexual exploitation of a child in a plea that incorporated his criminal conduct against three Indiana children and others.”

Snapchat was also the social media platform of choice for a Bartholomew County, Indiana man who pled guilty to sexually exploiting children in Indiana and California and received over 27 years in federal prison.  According to a February 18, 2022 DOJ press release:

“According to court documents, Jordan Fields, 21, of Columbus, Indiana, sexually exploited children in Indiana and California, and admitted to other acts of exploitation against unknown minors. Fields first came to the attention of federal authorities in the fall of 2020, when law enforcement in California notified authorities in Indiana that Fields had engaged in sexually explicit Snapchat communications with a 13-year-old boy in California.

“The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation and executed a search warrant at Fields’ home on Nov. 13, 2020. Fields was initially arrested on state charges of child solicitation and possession of child pornography. A team from the Indiana State Police, the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office, and the FBI reviewed evidence seized from Fields’ home, and Fields was arrested on federal sexual exploitation charges in March of 2021. 

“Fields admitted to communication with multiple underage boys online and admitted to receiving child sexual abuse material through Snapchat and Omegle. Fields pled guilty to three counts of sexual exploitation of a child for his victimization of three southern Indiana children.”

Another Indianapolis man was convicted in May after it was discovered that he had used Facebook to sexually exploit a child.  Per the Department of Justice:

“Ryan Niendorf, 39, of Indianapolis, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison following his guilty plea to sexual exploitation of a child and attempted sexual exploitation of a child.

“According to court documents, in May 2021, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that an adult’s Facebook account had been used to engage in sexually explicit communication with a child’s Facebook account. Law enforcement officers determined the adult was Niendorf, a semi-truck driver living in Indianapolis, and police were able to locate the child. Based on forensic evidence found in Niendorf’s account, police arrested Niendorf. Further investigation showed Niendorf persuaded two minors, both less than 16 years of age, to produce sexually explicit videos.”

Based on the information that has surfaced regarding the activities of Kegan Kline aka anthony-shots on the social media platform Snapchat, it is disturbing to see so many additional cases where Snapchat and Facebook were used to intimidate and exploit children, obtain child sexual abuse material, and to even facilitate meetings for the purposes of committing acts of abuse against children.  The preceding cases represent just a few of the convictions obtained within the past few months and are limited to the Southern District of Indiana jurisdiction.  There are other Indiana cases where the internet and/or social media was involved, but specific platforms were not named in the press releases.  Obviously, if one were to expand out to a wider time frame, or to include other jurisdictions than just one in Indiana, the scope of the horror would increase significantly. 

One would hope that eliminating this type of predatory behavior would be a top priority of these social media companies.  But here we are, five years removed from the murders of Abigail Williams and Liberty German, and Snapchat and Facebook continue to be platforms where predators go to victimize children.  We may one day learn that Liberty’s Snapchat activity played no role in the Delphi homicides, but the Kegan Kline interview illustrates in disturbing clarity how vulnerable children are to abuse on these platforms.  While the NCMEC is to be commended for their efforts to monitor these platforms and expose child predators, why aren’t the tech companies themselves doing more to clean up these spaces?

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.

Another layer of darkness descends over Delphi case

Anyone who has paid much attention to the Delphi case the last five years knows the darkness runs pretty deep in parts of rural Indiana.  Every now and then some act of unspeakable depravity is brought into the light, causing Delphi investigation onlookers to speculate whether the latest perpetrator could be the one who murdered 13-year-old Abigail Williams and 14-year-old Liberty German on February 13, 2017.       

In April of last year, James Brian Chadwell lured a young girl into his home in Lafayette, brutalized her and almost certainly would have killed her if not for the swift action of family and law enforcement to locate the girl and save her from the vicious assault.  Chadwell was sentenced to 90 years in prison for child molesting and attempted murder of the nine-year-old girl.

At the time, Chadwell seemed like a pretty solid suspect for the Delphi murders.  After all, how many child murderers could there be living within a 20 mile radius of Delphi?  Perhaps more than one, as it seems Chadwell is probably not responsible for the Delphi killings.

Then, last December, another potential child predator was revealed by Indiana State Police.  Investigators issued a press release seeking any information regarding the online profile anthony_shots.  Within hours it was discovered that this profile belonged to a man named Kegan Anthony Kline of Peru, Indiana, another town near Delphi.  

The news again ignited speculation that this individual might have some involvement with the Delphi homicides.  Kline was questioned by investigators in the weeks following the murders and admitted to collecting pornograpic images of underage girls using the anthony_shots profile.  Arrested in 2020, Kline is currently sitting in jail awaiting trial on multiple counts of child exploitation, possession of child pornography, child soliscitation and obstruction of justice. 

Last week, the true crime podcast, The Murder Sheet, made available the transcript of a 2020 police interrogation of Kegan Anthony Kline.  While illuminating previously unknown facts and circumstances surrounding the crime, revelations from the interrogation simultaneously cast another layer of dread and darkness over a case that was already quite dark to begin with.  

The Kline police interview reveals an individual obsessed with obtaining and disseminating sexually explicit images of underrage victims.  Under the guise of anthony_shots, an often shirtless young male with model good looks, Kline was able to insert himself into the lives of Liberty German and some of her peers.  In one instance, Kline as anthony_shots is exchanging messages with Liberty German while she is attending a slumber party.  Ensconced in the confines of his disgusting hovel, Kline is virtually in the room with these middle school girls who believe him to be a cute boy with a Lamborghini. 

In another instance, anthony_shots was in communication with a girl whose family was acquainted with the Kline family.  This girl made arrangements to meet up with anthony_shots at her house after school before her parents arrived home from work.  On the appointed day, when the girl arrived home from school, she discovered a man in a ski mask peering inside her bedroom window.       

In one of the most damning revelations of the interrogation, investigators discovered that anthony_shots was in communication with Liberty German on the morning of the murders.  Later, the profile communicated with Liberty’s friend, saying that he was supposed to meet Liberty the day of the murders.  

Throughout the interview, investigators make it clear that they believe Kegan Kline is not the only individual with access to the anthony_shots profile.  They confront Kline with a lot of evidence showing that his father, Tony Kline, may have been accessing the account as well.  In fact, whether it was just an interrogation technique or detectives really believe it, interviewers admit to Kegan Kline that they don’t think he killed the two girls and seem to be pressing him to give up his dad. 

Tony Kline, as we learn in subsequent Murder Sheet podcasts, is an unpredictable and extremely sadistic character capable of extreme violence at the most benign trigger.  His own step-children relate stories of Tony brutalizing the family over innocent transgressions.  It is easy to see why investigators seem to be focusing on him, and who knows what other evidence they have that may point to the elder Kline.         

Still, though, Tony Kline has not been arrested, and you have to wonder if there are others who may have had access to the anthony_shots social media account.  Investigators have said that the arrest of Kegan Kline has led to the largest child porography investigation in the state’s history.  There is mention by interviewers that Kline had a Dropbox account that may have been accessible by some of his other deviant acquaintances on the internet.  Could there be others in this twisted milieu who had access to the images and messages obtained by the anthony_shots profile?  No doubt, investigators are exploring all these angles, and hopefully there will soon be an arrest.

In the meantime, it just seems like social media apps like Instagram and Snapchat are perfectly fitted for those strangers your parents warned you never to talk to.  These apps readily connect the innocent, trusting and unsuspecting to wolves hiding behind an attractive smiling face and a cool car, who then can invade a private space like a sleepover or a family home in a way that never could have been previously imagined.  And once the wolf is let inside, the damage is only limited by its appetite for depravity.