PERU, Ind. — Indiana State Police still aren’t saying anything about ongoing searches of the Wabash River near the home of a man who has been tied to the Delphi Murder Investigation.
For three weeks now, Indiana State Police have been searching the river but won’t say what they’re looking for or why they’re there.
On Thursday, WTWO’s sister station FOX59 witnessed them once again wading through the shallow waters and using metal detectors to search the riverbed.
“The metal detector guy will send alerts to some and a couple guys will kind of move over there and start examining that spot,” said Dave Noonan, who walks by the search area every day. “If they don’t find it then he goes over to that same spot and pinpoints it a little bit closer.”
State Police have shifted the search area slightly downstream since reporters last witnessed the search. Witnesses said the search has focused mostly on the north side of the river.
Crews were also clearing debris along the river bank on both sides of the river on Thursday.
“The fact is they’ve been out there for three weeks which is a lot of manpower a lot of time,” former FBI special agent Paul Keenan said. “You would suspect that they’re looking for something very important.”
The search area is just two miles from the former home of Kegan Kline. Kline’s name first surfaced when, according to court documents, investigators allege he was communicating via social media with Libby the night before the girls disappeared and made plans to meet the 14-year-old on the bridge during a day off from school.
Court filings reveal that state police temporarily took Kline out of jail last month, where he’s awaiting trial on unrelated charges. Shortly after, the searches began and Keenan says that’s no coincidence.
“There’s got to be a reason that you have to take them out of jail, you don’t just interview somebody you can interview them in jail,” Keenan said. “So more than likely he needed to be out to show them something that he couldn’t describe from prison.”
Keenan said the teams are likely doing grid searches and expanding the area as they come up empty-handed. He said whatever they’re looking for, it’s likely important to the case.
“You don’t know what they found at the crime scene so sometimes let’s say it’s a knife and that knife is used to cut something at the crime scene,” Keenan explained. “You can match the knife to those articles that were found at the crime scene so it could link all the way back to that scene.”
Keenan said he hopes investigators are able to find what they need, but he says it won’t be easy.
“It’s difficult after five years to find something in a river with a current that’s pushing it for five years, Keenan said.
Kline has not been charged in the murders of Liberty German and Abby Williams. Indiana State Police would only confirm that they have a dive team in the area, but wouldn’t confirm there was an ongoing search.