We’re approaching a month since a connection was first suggested between drifter and sex offender Daniel Nations and the unsolved double murder of Liberty German and Abigail Williams.
Following his arrest in Colorado on a number of hatchet-related incidents in late September, law enforcement in both Colorado and Indiana received was tips noting Nations’s resemblance to an ISP composite sketch released in July (he is also being investigated for the September murder of Colorado cyclist Tim Watkins) may have been involved in Delphi murders.
While Indiana authorities investigating the Delphi case have yet to find evidence to either include or exclude Nations as a suspect in the Delphi homicide, new information has come to light about the hatchet-man’s tumultuous, sometimes tragic and often violent past.
The following timeline gives a rough rundown of Nations’s life from his birth in 1985 to his appearance in a Colorado Court next week. Clearly, I’ll be revisiting this, or I guess both of these cases, so be on the look out for more information coming soon.
But, please let me stress a few things first:
- All of the information presented in this post was available publicly either in court documents or news reports.
- Daniel Nations has not been named a suspect in the Delphi murders, but rather a person of interest.
- Even more importantly, there has been absolutely nothing to connect Daniel Nations’s wife to the crimes. Katelyn Nations is not considered a person of interest or a suspect. There is no reason to
- Daniel and Katelyn Nations have young children: please respect their privacy and their right to childhood.
According to the North Carolina Birth Index, in 1985 Nations was born in Rutherfordton Township to Rebecca Ann Leach. His mother’s name was listed as Rebecca Ann Lane as 26 July 26, 1989, and as Becky Ann Smith at an unspecified later date.
On November 23, 2002, Daniel Nations’s mother is murdered by her half-brother. Rebecca Ann Smith—who lived with her 17-year-old son and boyfriend of eight years in Polk County, North Carolina—was beaten and stabbed to death by James Junior Cummings, who then dragged Smith’s body about 80 feet into the woods and covered it with leaves.
According to a 2003 article in the Henderson Times-News, Cummings claimed self-defense and alleged Smith was addicted to crack and acted violently as a result. Investigators found no drugs at the residence, but an autopsy report found a small amount of crack cocaine in Smith’s system. At the time of her death, Smith was awaiting charges after assaulting her long-time boyfriend, Alvin Warren, two weeks prior. Warren said the couple had recently been having problems related to her substance abuse problem.
Daniel Nations was convicted of indecent exposure in Spartansburg, South Carolina. Records show Nations exposed himself to a bystander in a WalMart parking lot and asked her, “You want to get on this? It’ll be fun.”
On June 26, 2007, Nations is convicted of another sexual offense in Port Royal, South Carolina. Court documents show that Nations–who was still on parole for the Spartanburg offense and was supposedly in the marines at the time–pled guilty to another charge of public indecency in Beaufort County, and was given a two-year suspended sentence and three years of probation.
According to a contemporaneous WTOC News report, Nations exposed himself from his car in a parking lot, and later exposed himself in a Port Royal neighborhood to a mother and child on bicycles. At that time, Port Royal police stated Nations had been arrested four times for the same offense while stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Official documents relating to any North Carolina charges were not immediately available.
On December 1, 2010, Nations’s lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender in Indiana begins, according to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.
On October 22, 2011, Nations is arrested in Spartansburg, SC for a first-offense DUI. He was released the following day on a $652 bond. He is listed at the time as living in Chesnee, SC.
In August 2012, Daniel Nations moves to Florida, where he is required to register as a sex offender. It’s unknown for how long Nations and his family resided in Florida.
In late October 2013, the first child of Katelyn and Daniel Nations is born.
At an unspecified date in 2015, a Morgan County family rented space on their farm to Nations, his wife, and child. A member of that family told Fox 59 that Nations, “…started out decent but when he didn’t get his way he became violent and damaged property.”
On March 21, 2015, Nations is arrested in Greenwood, Indiana on suspicion of marijuana possession, driving with improper headlights, and driving with a suspended license. According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, he enters pretrial diversion program and attends all related compliance hearings until June 14, 2017, when he misses his hearing and the court orders a warrant for his arrest.
On July 24, 2015, Nations is arrested at a Rickers gas station in Bartholomew County, Indiana, after he was reportedly caught peeping and masturbating in a women’s bathroom stall.
On November 19, 2015, Nations failed to appear in court related to the July charge, and a warrant is issued for his arrest.
On December 9, 2015, Nations is arrested on suspicion of domestic battery in the presence of a child after punching his wife Katelyn Nations in the face and breaking her nose.
On December 14, 2015, charges of domestic battery are filed in Morgan County Superior Court.
On December 15, 2015, a protection order is filed to prevent Daniel Nations from contacting Kateyln Nations, according to Morgan County court documents.
On December 23, 2015, charges for invasion of privacy were filed in Morgan County after Nations violated a no-contact order.
On January 15, 2016, Nations pleads guilty to the Bartholomew County charge. According to The Republic, Nations agreeing to plead guilty to the misdemeanor public indecency charge in exchange for a one-year suspended sentence in the Bartholomew County Jail and a $183 fine for court costs,. He was also 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 on charges of domestic battery.
On February 23, 2016, Katelyn Nations requests that the Morgan County Court not require her to be in the courtroom as the same time as her Daniel Nations, according to Morgan County court documents.
In April 2016, Nations is arrested in Greenwood, Indiana for driving on a suspended license and having marijuana in his vehicle.
On April 1, 2016, Nations accepts an agreement to plead guilty to domestic battery committed in presence of child in Morgan County in exchange for a sentence of 270 days in jail, with credit for 180 days served.
On April 3, 2016, Katelyn Nations files a petition to establish child support, according to Morgan County court documents. However, neither party could successfully be contacted, and the petition was vacated in December 2016.
On August 3, 2016, Nations is caught driving with a suspended license in Hendricks County, Indiana. He pleads guilty and is fined $235, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.
On November 16, 2016, Nations is pulled over in Marion County, Indiana for a lane-change violation. ISP arrest him on suspicion of marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession and for driving without a license. He attends all related court hearings until May 18, 2017.
At some point in early 2017, Nations is been confirmed to have been homeless, living in the area of State Road 67 under the bridges, according to Fox 59. Because of his homelessness and his sex offender status, Nations was required to check in weekly with law enforcement. He was confirmed to be living under bridges at the time of the Delphi double homicide.
On January 9, 2017, a hearing to discuss revoking Nations’s probation in relation to his July 2014 sex offense conviction in Bartholomew County.
On January 10, 2017, Nations’s only brother, Edward Lyles (39), was murdered in Colorado Springs
On January 31, 2017, Nations checks in with Indiana law enforcement, as is required of transient sex offenders in the state.
On February 7, 2017, Nations checks in with Indiana law enforcement, as is required of transient sex offenders in the state.
On February 13, 2017, Indiana teens Liberty German and Abigail Williams go missing near Deer Creek on the Delphi Historic Trail. They were likely murdered the same day. Nations’s whereabouts at the time of the murder are unknown, but his wife believes he accompanied her to an ultrasound appointment.
On February 14, 2017, German and Williams’s bodies are discovered in a wooded area roughly a half-mile upstream from the bridge at which they were last seen. That same day, Nations checks in with Indiana law enforcement, per his lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender.
On February 15, 2017, Indiana authorities release two low-quality photographs of a person seen on the Delphi Historic Trail around the same time as German and Williams.
On February 21, 2017, Nations checks in with Indiana law enforcement, as is required of transient sex offenders in the state.
On February 22, 2017, ISP release an audio clip of the suspect taken from German’s phone the day she and Williams were murdered. In the snippet, a man says, “down the hill” on loop.
On February 24, 2017, Nations is incarcerated for contempt of court in Morgan County—roughly two hours from Delphi–following his failure to appear in court for an eviction resolution case.
On February 28, 2017, Nations is released from Morgan County jail.
On March 7, 2017, Nations checks in with Indiana law enforcement, as is required of transient sex offenders in the state.
On March 14, 2017, Nations checks in with Indiana law enforcement, as is required of transient sex offenders in the state.
On March 21, 2017, Nations checks in with Indiana law enforcement, as is required of transient sex offenders in the state.
On April 4, 2017, Nations checks in with Indiana law enforcement, as is required of transient sex offenders in the state.
On April 12, 2017, Nations registers a Greenwood, IN motel as his new address.
In mid-April 2017, Katelyn Nations separates from her husband and files another petition to establish child support, according to Morgan County court documents.
On April 25, 2017, Nations is arrested in Greenwood on suspicion of marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession and for driving without a license.
Very late in April 2017, the second child of Daniel and Katelyn Nations is born.
On May 12, 2017, Nations checks out of the Greenwood motel where he’d been living.
On May 18, 2017, Nations fails to appear in court related to drug and driving charges in Marion County, and a warrant is issued for his arrest. Nations attended all related court hearings up until this point, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.
At some point in May, Nations learned that his brother had been murdered in January. According to Katelyn Nations, Edward Lyles was the only biological family Daniel had left, save for his grandmother—to whom he hadn’t spoken in years—and his two children. Neither knew that Matthew Stroker had already plead guilty to kicking in Lyles’s head with steel-toed boots, and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
According to an interview Katelyn Nations gave with The Gazette, the Nations family arrived in Colorado Springs sometimes in June, because Daniel Nations was searching for answers in his brother’s murder. Katelyn stated that Daniel picked up the family and drove them west less than two weeks after learning his brother had been murdered.
On July 17, 2017, ISP release the composite sketch of a suspect in the Delphi homicides that would eventually lead to Nations’s inclusion as a person of interest.
On July 19, 2017, Nations fails to appear in court relating to his April arrest in Greenwood. Investigation begins into Daniel Nations’ whereabouts after it’s discovered he failed to register a new address after checking out of the Greenwood motel, as is required by his sex offender status. A warrant is issued for his arrest.
On August 14, 2017, ISP Sergeant Holman—the lead detective in the Delphi case—confirms police have more audio obtained from the cell phone belonging to German that was found at the crime scene:
“It does not appear to be anything more than some discussion between the girls. We have only released a portion of it. There are some others we think could help us but again protecting the integrity of the investigation is key so we cannot release everything because there are certain people that know the details and if we release it all then we get into false confessions.”
Holman told Fox 59 that law enforcement also is working on identifying all of the DNA they’ve collected.
On August 24-25, 2017, authorities in El Paso County, Colorado receive complaints about a man with a hatchet threatening bicyclists in the Mount Herman area. Witnesses say the man was driving a compact, red Chevy sedan with Indiana plates.
On September 17, 2017, the body of well-known local cyclist Timothy Watkins was found in the Monument area of El Paso County, Colorado. According to the El Paso County Sheriff, the beloved 61-year-old–who was last seen on September 14 at 10 AM–was gunned down on his mountain bike by an unidentified offender wielding a .22-caliber weapon.
On September 25, 2017, Nations is arrested in Teller County, Colorado on a weapons violation after being pulled over. Woodland Park police say Nations’s car had a broken taillight and matched the description of the red Chevy involved in the menacing in August. Police found a hatchet and .22 caliber rifle in the car; both to law enforcement and in a later interview, Katelyn Nations would say she bought the gun for protection while she and her family was homeless. She stated she wasn’t sure if her husband ever had access to the weapon for more than 15 minutes.
On September 26, 2017, Nations is accused of failure to register as a sex offender in Johnson County, Indiana, where the motel in which he was last known to live is located.
On September 28, 2017, The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office announces arrest charges against Nations on suspicion of felony menacing and reckless endangerment stemming from an event related to the hatchet threats. Explaining documents are sealed.
On September 29, 2017, ISP receive a tip about Daniel Nations’ resemblance to the composite sketch of a man wanted in the Delphi murders, and send detectives to El Paso County to interview him.
On October 2, 2017, ISP investigators return from their trip to Colorado to interview Nations.
On October 3, 2017, ISP say they cannot “specifically include or exclude Daniel Nations as a suspect in the Delphi homicides.”
On October 10, 2017, The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office announces arrest charges against Nations for failing to register as a sex offender.
On October 11, 2017, Katelyn Nations speaks exclusively to Fox 59 in Indiana, saying she does agree her husband resembles the ISP composite sketch, but doesn’t think he matches the released photos. Katelyn also states she’s unsure if Nations accompanied her to her ultrasound appointment on the day of the murders, but that he did not have access to their car. Katelyn claims Nations knew about the Delphi murders because they watched news coverage of the killings together.
On October 16, 2017, Nations first appears in Teller County court, where he is charged with seven offenses and is given bonds totaling $15,000.
Is there a link?
While ISP investigators did, in fact, travel to Colorado to interview Nations in a Teller County jail, apparently no definitive evidence to either has yet been made. Upon concluding their Colorado visit on October 2, the ISP made the following statement in an October 3 press release (emphasis added):
Thus far, the Indiana State Police, with assistance from the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI and many other police agencies have followed up on thousands of tips related to the murders Abigail Williams and Liberty German. Of these tips well over a hundred have included references to specific persons, some of which included photos. Each and every tip has been – and will continue to be – thoroughly investigated to determine any connection to the Delphi murder investigation.
Of the many tips being actively investigated, one tip was referred to the Indiana State Police about a person arrested in El Paso County, Colorado. This person, identified as Daniel Nations, was initially arrested by Colorado law enforcement on Sept. 25th and was later referred to ISP on Sept. 29th for follow-up as a potential suspect in the Delphi double murder investigation.
The Indiana State Police can share, that thus far, there has been no information developed to specifically include or exclude Daniel Nations as a suspect in the Delphi homicides. Both state police detectives returned to Indiana late afternoon of October 2nd and will continue to review information gathered over the course of their visit to El Paso County, Colorado. Mr. Nation does continue to be in custody of Colorado law enforcement personnel for local charges totally unrelated to the Delphi investigation.
An official with the El Paso County Sheriff’s office told WDBJ 7 that, while there are “many similarities” in the cases, police in Indiana have requested no further information be publicly released.
Nations is scheduled for advisement in El Paso County on October 24, 2017, and is expected to make his first court appearance there on the 25th, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.