DELPHI, Indiana – After an anxious weekend of waiting – and more than five years after their killings – multiple law enforcement agencies on Monday morning announced an arrest in the deaths of Liberty “Libby” German and Abigail “Abby” Williams.
Richard Allen, 50, of Delphi has been charged with two counts of murder in the deaths the two teenagers, Doug Carter, superintendent of the Indiana State Police, announced. Carter said the probable cause affidavit remains sealed.
Allen remains in the Carroll County Jail, according to state police.
The superintendent thanked the families as well as those in law enforcement who sought justice for Liberty and Abigail, including those who delayed retirement in the hopes of solving the case. He added the investigation is ongoing.
“I hope you have found a bit of peace in this complicated world,” Carter said.
Carter said additional information will be released, but “today is not that day. This investigation is far from complete and we will not jeopardize its integrity by releasing information before it’s time.”
What we know about the Delphi homicides:Who killed 2 teenage girls near Delphi, Indiana, in 2017?
Carter addressed the sealed affidavit and the limited details released Monday.
“If you choose to be critical of our silence, be critical of me, not the frontline. These are folks who have devoted their entire lives to a conclusion. In other words, a guilty verdict,” he said.
Liberty and Abigail vanished Feb. 13, 2017, while walking on a hiking trail located close to the Monon High Bridge just outside of Delphi. There was no school that day and Abigail had spent the previous night at Liberty’s home.
A search party found their bodies in a rugged area near the trail the next day.
After nearly six years, the arrest pointed to someone from Delphi, a detail Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland found “bittersweet,” he said.
McLeland was questioned by reporters following the arrest announcement regarding why the affidavit would remain sealed for 30 days.
“It is unusual,” McLeland said. “We did it in this case because the investigation is still open. And while all cases are important, the nature of this case has some extra scrutiny in it. So we, my office, me, felt it was important to seal those records.”
McLeland added that there will be a public hearing on whether those records would remain sealed.
Allen entered a preliminary plea of not guilty and will appear in court Jan. 13 for a pretrial hearing. His trial is tentatively set to begin March 20.
Delphi investigation spanned more than five years
Liberty and Abigail went hiking Feb. 13, 2017, near the Monon High Bridge, which spans Deer Creek. When they did not show up for their ride home, Liberty’s family became concerned and family members started a search that was joined by many in the Delphi community.
The search continued the next day along the trails and the creek. A search party found Liberty and Abigail’s bodies along the Deer Creek, about a quarter of a mile east of the Monon High Bridge.
Days after the killings, police released photos of a sketch of a possible suspect. Two years later, police released a second sketch of a possible suspect. The two sketches were strikingly different.
Police explained that the second sketch was based on additional information and more refined than the initial sketch.
Law enforcement also released a short audio clip of a man believed to be the suspect saying “down the hill” taken from Liberty’s cellphone.
In December 2021, state police announced they had discovered a fictitious online profile that appeared to be a male model often used to solicit nude photos, obtain personal information and arrange in person meetings with young girls. The profile, named “anthony_shots” was used from 2016 to 2017 on Snapchat, Instagram and other social media platforms, police said.
The investigation is ongoing and open, various authorities reiterated during the news conference. State police’s tip line related to the case will remain open.
Contributing: Wyatte Grantham-Philips, USA TODAY; Rachel Fradette, Indianapolis Star
Story Credit: usatoday.com