Police probe lead in Delphi murders

Former Indianapolis man arrested in Colorado has local ties, criminal history

An Indiana man with a lengthy criminal history in Johnson County is being investigated by Indiana State Police, which has been working for months to solve the murder of two Delphi teens who were killed earlier this year.

Daniel J. Nations, 31, who lived at a Greenwood motel earlier this year and is wanted and facing charges in Johnson County, was arrested Monday in Woodland Park, Colorado, and booked into the county jail, said Jacqueline Kirby, media relations officer with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. Nations was arrested on a charge of possession of a weapon by a previous offender, Kirby said. Police had been called because the vehicle Nations was driving matched the vehicle listed in complaints from people who reported that a man had been bothering them during an earlier weekend. Police also received reports of a man threatening people with a hatchet.

Police also are investigating the shooting death of a man on the trail where the other complaints were received.

Nations has not been charged with the threats or the death.

But information about his arrest was sent to Indiana State Police, which is investigating the murders of two teenagers in February in Delphi.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Kim Riley said the police agency was given information about Nations on Wednesday, but no connection has yet been made between Nations and the deaths of two Delphi teenagers.

“It’s still early,” Riley said. “We’re aware of him out there.”

Abby Williams, 13, and Libby German, 14, were reported missing Feb. 13. German and Williams were dropped off near the Monon High Bridge Trail near Delphi to go hiking. When a family member came to pick them up, they weren’t there. Search volunteers discovered the girls’ bodies near the Delphi Historic Trail on Feb. 14. Investigators in Indiana released this statement:

“We are aware of the arrest of the person in Colorado and are investigating to see if he could be a suspect in the Delphi double-murder investigation. Please keep in mind the Indiana State Police has received more than a thousand photos of persons alleged to be similar in appearance to the composite sketch of the Delphi person of interest. Each and every one of these tips are investigated for any potential connection to our case. We will give the same attention to the person arrested in Colorado, but right now there is nothing that definitively connects this person to our investigation. If that should change – with this tip, or any other tip – rest assured we would be sharing such news with all media sources.”

Nations has previously lived in Greenwood, Indianapolis and Martinsville and has been homeless. He’s been arrested twice in Johnson County, and earlier this week was charged with failing to register as a sex offender, according to court documents. He’s also wanted for failing to appear in court on an unrelated charge.

Nations was required to register as a sex offender after he was convicted of indecent exposure. Police in South Carolina said he exposed himself and touched himself in front of a woman in a store parking lot in 2007, according to the sex and violent offender registry.

Earlier this year, he registered with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office that he was living in a hotel on Main Street in Greenwood. But in May, Nations moved out of the hotel and didn’t tell the sheriff’s office, and he was charged this week with a felony count of failing to register as a sex offender, according to the court filing.

He also is wanted for not appearing in court in Johnson County, according to the registry.

Nations was arrested on two previous occasions in Johnson County.

In March 2015, Nations was arrested on a charge of possession of marijuana during a traffic stop on Old State Road 37, near State Road 144, according to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office report.

The deputy smelled marijuana, and Nations told him where he would find the drug in his vehicle. The deputy found a small box and a smoking pipe, and arrested Nations, the report said.

Nations entered the pretrial diversion program, where a charge will be dropped if the offender meets certain requirements. But in July, Nations failed to show for a compliance hearing, and a warrant was issued for his arrest, according to court records.

In April, Nations was arrested after a traffic stop in Greenwood.

The officer found a smoking pipe and marijuana in Nations’ pocket, and Nations also had a suspended license, according to the Greenwood Police Department report.

Nations was arrested on a charge of driving while suspended and possession of paraphernalia. That case is still pending. Nations did not show up for an initial hearing in July, court records said.

He also has a criminal record in Bartholomew County. Court records show Nations was arrested in July 2015 on a charge of public indecency, due to an incident at a Taylorsville gas station.

Nations agreed to plead guilty to the misdemeanor public indecency charge and was given a one-year suspended sentence in the Bartholomew County Jail. He also was ordered to pay monthly probation fees and to obtain a mental health evaluation. Court records show he was to start his probation and suspended sentence upon his release from the Morgan County Jail, where he was being held on charges of domestic battery and invasion of privacy, filed in December 2015 in Morgan County.

On Oct. 10, 2016, the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s office filed a petition to revoke Nations’ probation because he had not completed a mental health evaluation, said Grant Tucker, his public defender. He missed court dates in May and June.

Nations also has a warrant out for his arrest in Marion County on drug and vehicle-related charges.

WISH-TV in Indianapolis contributed to this story.