Police to Facebook users: Stop 'armchair sleuthing' on Delphi murders

DELPHI, Ind. (Indy Star) -- Stop it, Facebook.

Indiana State Police are urging Facebook users to stop posting pictures of men alongside the composite sketch of the Delphi murder suspect.

"Those are of no value and take up investigative time," said Capt. Dave Bursten, ISP's chief public information officer.

Investigators have received more than 500 new tips since they released the composite sketch of the man they believe killed 14-year-old Liberty German and 13-year-old Abigail Williams.

The girls disappeared on Feb. 13 while hiking near Monon High Bridge in a wooded, remote area east of Delphi. Their bodies were found the next day about a half-mile from the bridge.

There has been a growing problem with "armchair sleuthing" by people who have combed websites to find mugshots of random men who resemble the sketch, Bursten said. Some post their dubious detective work on Facebook.

"A person that does that may open themselves up to some civil liability," Bursten said. "They will have to suffer the consequences of their own stupidity."

Tips, legitimate tips that is, on the murders should go to the hotline, 844-459-5786, or abbyandlibbytip@cacoshrf.com, Bursten said.

"People can say what they want on social media. We're not the police of social media," Bursten said.

But if you post something on social media, you might find yourself on the wrong end of a defamation or libel lawsuit, he said.

"They are placing themselves in legal jeopardy and they are doing absolutely nothing to help the investigation," Bursten said.

Call IndyStar reporter Vic Ryckaert at (317) 444-2701. Follow him on Twitter: @vicryc.

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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