An Indiana man who killed himself in a standoff with police after being accused of raping and kidnapping a woman is now having his life examined to see if he could have had anything to do with the infamous unsolved murder of two teenagers in the state.
Paul Etter, 55, killed himself on June 27 after being surrounded by police officers who wanted to bring him in and charge him for abducting a 26-year-old woman and sexually assaulting her while keeping her captive on his family's farm, the IndyStar reported late last month.
He shot himself twice in the standoff and died.
Since his death, his name has been linked with another crime: the unsolved murders of Liberty German, 14, and Abigail Williams, 13. The two girls were found dead on Valentine’s Day 2017. They vanished the previous day from the Delphi Historic Trails, where they'd been out hiking on a day off from school. Their bodies were found about a half mile away from the hiking trail. Police have not disclosed how they were killed. Their unsolved murders have been dubbed the “Delphi Murders.”
Law enforcement has hinted that they are now eyeing Etter in connection with the girls’ slayings.
"His name has come up through the process," Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby told the Journal & Courier in Lafayette, Indiana.
However, he did note that law enforcement has looked into every suspect possible and that looking into Etter is no different from those other probes.
However, investigators have remained tight-lipped about key elements of the case. Although police have released some video of the suspect, recorded on German’s phone, they haven’t released the full footage.
Paul Holes, retired detective whose work on the Golden State Killer case helped lead to an arrest and who now works as a consultant, said there is probably good reason for that.
“Anytime you’re dealing with an investigation, you’re always assessing what can be released to the public and what you have to hold back,” he told Oxygen Digital Correspondent Stephanie Gomulka at CrimeCon 2019.
As for the self-inflicted death of Etter, law enforcement said they tried to avoid that ending.
“We did everything we could to save his life and mitigate the life of our safety personnel who were out there today," Boone County Sheriff Mike Neilsen told the IndyStar that day, adding "we’ve used a lot of restraint today to end this situation. Unfortunately, it didn’t end as we wanted it to end."
Earlier this year, Kelsi German, sister of Liberty German told Oxygen.com that she is just as hopeful as ever that her sister’s killer will be found. "They [law enforcement] are just advancing on different things.”
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