Tennessee sheriff clarifies Delphi suspect has not been seen there

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - The Delphi murder investigation took an abrupt and, as it turns out, wrong turn Monday morning.

Attention was brought to southeastern Tennessee Monday after the Bledsoe County Sheriff's Office posted the suspect photo and sketch on their Facebook page, and the message, "FBI has extended the search into south eastern Tennessee counties including Bledsoe."

The department later corrected their post to clarify the suspect had not actually been seen in Bledsoe County or anywhere in Tennessee; they were just trying to remind people about the nationwide search.

"As part of the families’ efforts to develop investigative leads, information has been shared with numerous police agencies across the nation," Indiana State Police said in a written statement later on Monday. "One agency in Tennessee shared the information on their Facebook Site and added verbiage that stated 'FBI has extended the search into south eastern Tennessee counties including Bledsoe.' In fact, this is a NATION WIDE search for the person or persons wanted for the murders of Abby and Libby....The timing of the original Bledsoe County Sheriff’s Department Facebook post and the live airing on the Megyn Kelly TODAY show resulted in misinformation being shared on the show and the purpose of this release is to correct the inadvertent misinformation."

"I'm tracking what is happening in Tennessee and I don't want to be singularly focused on any one place right now," ISP Superintendent Doug Carter said on Megyn Kelly TODAY.

Off-camera, investigators immediately denied having any specific lead in Tennessee and blamed the surprise announcement on an overeager sheriff.

Libby German, 14, and Abigail Williams, 13, went missing on February 13, 2017 after they were hiking on the Delphi Historic Trail near the Monon High Bridge just east of Delphi in Carroll County. Their bodies were found in the woods the next day.

The investigation has continued non-stop ever since, thanks to tireless efforts from a task force including Indiana State Police and the Carroll County Sheriff's Department. It's also gotten national attention on nationwide television programs including Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil and Monday morning's episode of Megyn Kelly TODAY.

"It’s definitely not a cold case," Libby German's Grandfather said on Megan Kelly TODAY. "We continue to get tips in."

In fact, the task force has investigated more than 26,000 tips to date.

"I think they were alone at that particular time, that short span and somebody and took them," Libby’s grandmother Becky Patty told the Megyn Kelly audience.

If you have any information that can help in this case, call the toll free number tip line at (844) 459-5786 or email your tip to abbyandlibbytip@cacoshrf.com. Callers to the tip line may remain anonymous. A reward fund of $240,000 is available for information leading to the identification, apprehension and conviction of the suspect.