Who was Paul Etter? Delphi Snapchat murders suspect was wanted for rape before killing himself in stand-off

Who was Paul Etter? Delphi Snapchat murders suspect was wanted for rape before killing himself in stand-off
Paul Etter (Carroll County Sherrif's Department)

DELPHI, INDIANA: On Valentine's Day in 2017, the bodies of two teenage girls -- 13-year-old Abigail Williams and 14-year-old Liberty German -- were discovered near the Monon High Bridge Trail, in Delphi. Last month, 42-year-old James Chadwell II was arrested after police found a nine-year-old child locked in his basement an hour after she went missing. Authorities are now looking if he could be connected to the 2017 killings of the two teenagers.

But there have, of course, been other suspects of the gruesome crime now dubbed as the “Delphi Snapchat murders”. One of them was Paul Etter. On July 23, 2019, Etter was wanted for the kidnapping and rape of a 26-year-old woman in Tippecanoe County. He was also being investigated as a possible suspect in the kidnapping and murders of Williams and German. 


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Abigail Williams and Liberty German. (Wikimedia Commons)

How did Paul Etter die?

On June 27, 2019, Etter was surrounded by police. According to investigators, Lebanon police (the county seat of Boone County, Indiana, not the country) spotted Etter in Boone County and tried to pull him over. That led to a chase. 

Etter, 55, shot and killed himself after a five-hour standoff. Carroll County's sheriff said at the time that investigators were already looking at Etter because his name had been called in to the tip line set up for the case.

After his suicide, investigators asked for Etter's autopsy and DNA results as a way to either make him a suspect or rule him out. "Let's let our investigators do their job and play this out and follow it out as far as we can and see where it takes us," said Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby then, adding there was no definitive timeline of when they'd have answers regarding Etter.

James Chadwell III (L) might be the suspect in the grainy photo (R) walking on the bridge near where victims of Delphi double murder were last seen alive (Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Dept/Indiana State Police)

Etter was wanted in the alleged kidnapping and sexual assault of a 26-year-old woman who pulled into his driveway on June 22, 2019, after she got a flat tire. Etter, as per the police, asked if she needed help. Feeling unsafe, the woman declined and drove down the road. Etter then allegedly followed her until she pulled into a friend’s driveway, where he abducted her. He then allegedly took her back to his family’s home, where he held her and sexually assaulted her before taking her back to her car.

Recently, Leazenby told ABC News in an interview that there were "several factors" in the murders of Williams and German that led them to Chadwell. The 42-year-old Lafayette man allegedly got a minor into his home with the lure of petting his dogs on April 19. He subsequently forbade the child from leaving and went on to strangle and molest her in his basement for an hour before authorities managed to rescue her. The child told police that she was bitten, bruised, sexually assaulted, and even blacked out at one point. Chadwell is now facing attempted murder, child molestation, and kidnapping charges. He has entered a plea of not guilty and is due back in court on June 10.

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