DELPHI, Ind. - As Halloween nears, many parents in Delphi are hesitant to let their kids go out trick-or-treating on their own. The community is still mourning the loss of two teenage girls who were found murdered near the trails earlier this year. Now, veterans are stepping up to help by making families feel more secure.
Jim Snowberger and his wife Kelli thought of the idea to create an event called "Trick-or-Treat with a Veteran" in hopes of giving kids a chance to roam around town and collect candy, while still keeping safety in mind.
"All veterans are trained to protect our nation," said Snowberger, who is a part of the Marine Corps League - Michael Walters Detachment. "So, why not let us protect our counties and our cities?"
Halloween decorations are up in the Delphi square, as are the ribbons honoring the lives of Abby Williams and Libby German. The two friends were found murdered on Feb. 14. Residents in Delphi continue to spread the word about the case and sharing the sketch of the suspect in hopes of one day bringing the killer to justice.
"It's an every day fear," said Jennifer Ramey, a mother of three who lives in Delphi. "You open your eyes in the morning, you think about it. When your kids are riding their bikes, you think about it. You’re more alert to your surroundings and what’s going on."
Ramey said the murder case caused her to change her approach to parenting. She now keeps a much closer eye on her children.
"Now it is 'you do not leave our street without an adult,'" Ramey said.
Other longtime residents have noticed the shift, too.
"People are kind of wary of letting their children be out by themselves." said Ginger McCain.
So, Snowberger contacted the Delphi mayor's office about his plan. He said the mayor and council gave their approval for the Halloween event. Then, he reached out to the local VFW post to get the word out to other veterans. Many shared their support and said they would participate.
"In the last year, we’ve had a lot of bad stuff happen in Delphi and Carroll county itself," said Frank Wolf, from the VFW post #9383. "Hopefully this may help people settle down a little bit and get out a little more."
Snowberger said all kids are welcome to stop by the gazebo outside the courthouse in Delphi to be accompanied by a veteran as they go door-to-door.
"[The case] brought the reality that the world is changing and we need to keep our kids safe," Snowberger said. "We will go anywhere the kids want to go, we’re just there for support. We’ll walk with them until they are done and just be there for a little safety."
The veterans will be meeting at the gazebo at 6 p.m. on Halloween.