DELPHI, Ind. -- As the investigation into the murders of Abigail Williams and Liberty German nears eight months, another possible suspect has gained national attention – but is there anything to the speculation that Daniel Nations is connected to the Delphi, Indiana murders?
Nations was arrested Monday after police in Colorado Springs said the car he and his wife were driving matched one belonging to a man who threatened several hikers with a hatchet near the same trail where a man was murdered two weeks ago. He has not been charged with the man's murder.
According to his arrest affidavit, Nations had a hatchet in his car, but when officers asked if he had threatened anyone with it, he told them, "We're not that kind of people."
The couple also had a rifle, which Nations claims his wife had purchased "for protection."
Late Thursday evening, the El Paso County Sheriff's Department in Colorado filed new charges against Nations. He's now facing a felony menacing and reckless endangerment charge.
According to the release sent out Thursday evening, The El Paso County Sheriff's Department expects more charges to be filed in the coming days.
Indiana State Police Sergeant Kim Riley said they were made aware of Nations’ arrest Thursday night by a sheriff’s department in Colorado and they immediately started exchanging notes.
State police are calling Nations a “person of interest” in the case, but it’s a title they say has been used many times over the past several months and has yet to lead to an arrest.
Sgt. Riley said Nations is just one of dozens of “suspects” they have checked out as part of their investigation into the girls’ murders.
“This is not something that is just done this one time, it’s been done over and over,” said Sgt. Riley. “We’ve had some Kokomo incidents, we’ve had some Logansport incidents, Lafayette Police Department. We’ve had out of state departments contact us.”
So why is Nations’ arrest getting so much national attention?
Besides the similarities in his appearance to the sketch Indiana State Police released in July, Nations is a registered sex offender, has Indiana ties and appears to have committed his latest crimes on a hiking trail – coincidence?
Nations appeared in court on Thursday for a child custody hearing. When asked if he had anything to do with the murders in Indiana, Nations just shook his head and looked down.
The first question we need to answer is was Nations even in Indiana on February 13, 2017?
The answer: Probably.
Based on court records, we can say he was definitely in Indiana throughout much of the year and even the two years prior.
According to the Morgan County Jail, Nations was incarcerated from February 24 – 28 of this year. That’s 10 days after Libby and Abby were murdered.
He appeared in court on March 6 and again on May 29.
Nations registered as a sex offender in Johnson County on April 10 with an address at the InTown Suites in Greenwood. He then went MIA.
According to court records, the 31-year-old has been on the run in Indiana since July of this year when he skipped a court appearance in Greenwood, two days after police released a sketch of the suspected Delphi killer.
So now that question is out of the way, let's dig a little deeper into Nations' criminal charges to see why state police want to know more about him.
Nations has been on the sex offender registry since 2007 when court records show he was convicted of exposing and pleasuring himself in a WalMart parking lot in Spartanburg County, South Carolina the previous year.
Per court documents from that incident, the witness told police that Nations exposed himself and then asked her, “You want to get on this? It’ll be fun.”
In Indiana, Nations has a long list of arrests and a history of skipping court appearances.
Since 2014, he’s been arrested in Bartholomew, Hendricks, Johnson and Marion counties.
Let's take a look at some of the other specific charges against Nations.
- July: Nations was arrested after deputies say he hid in the stall of a women’s restroom at a Rickers gas station on U.S. 31 and was caught peeping and pleasuring himself. Court documents show he made bail for those charges but skipped his court appearance. A warrant was issued for his arrest.
- December: Nations was sentenced to several weeks in jail on a domestic violence charge in Morgan County. He served his sentence from December 15, 2015, through January 27, 2016.
- April: Nations was arrested in Greenwood for driving on a suspended license. Court documents show police also found what appeared to be marijuana inside his vehicle. Again, he skipped town.
- August: Nations was arrested again for driving on a suspended license in Hendricks County.
- November: Nations was charged with possession of marijuana.
- December: Nations’ landlord filed an eviction petition in Wayne Township small claims court.
The Murders of Libby & Abby
Libby and Abby went missing while hiking near the Monon High Bridge on February 13. Their bodies were found the next morning in a wooded area, less than a mile from where they were last seen alive.
State and local police along with the FBI have been searching for their killer ever since.
Investigators released two photos and an audio clip taken from Libby's cell phone on the day that she died of the person they are calling the main suspect in the girls' deaths.
The reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for Libby and Abby's death is now over $230,000.
Police have received over 24,000 tips in the case and interviewed over 500 people, but so far no arrests have been made.