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More than five years after teen friends Abigail "Abby" Williams, 13, and Liberty "Libby" German, 14, were found slain along a hiking trail in Indiana, investigators have announced an arrest in the case dubbed the Delphi murders.
Local resident Richard Allen, 50, has been taken into custody and charged with two counts of murder in the teens' 2017 deaths; however, authorities provided few details about what linked him to the crime at a press conference Monday morning.
“Eventually you will be able to see what let us to this day, but today is not that day,” Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas Carter said, citing the desire to protect the integrity of the case.
Carter, who at times appeared emotional as he discussed the new development, thanked the victims’ families, investigators—some of whom he said have delayed retirements and given up time with their families in the pursuit of justice—along with the media for sharing the teens’ story.
“We’re not done,” he said. “I think what we all have experienced proves that together there is nothing we cannot do, but more importantly, giving of ourselves, all of us, all of us, giving of ourselves matters more than we could ever receive.”
Carter, who called the arrest a “major step” in the investigation, also credited Abby and Libby for the powerful impact they've had on investigators, the Delphi community and those across the country.
“Abby and Libby, though in death, have had a profound effect on so many of us, on how we live and as importantly, who we all should be,” he said.
Williams and German disappeared on Monday Feb. 13, 2017 after being dropped off around 1 p.m. near an abandoned rail bridge to hike and hang out, according to Indiana State Police. They were enjoying a day off from school and were supposed to be picked up later that afternoon, but they never arrived at the meeting spot.
The next day, around 12:15 p.m., their bodies were found in a wooded area near the Delphi Historic Trail, about a half-mile from where they had been dropped off.
Investigators released a video of a man, dressed in blue jeans, a blue coat or jacket and a hoodie, walking along the trail that had been taken from German’s cell phone. A recording had also been captured on the teen’s phone of a male voice saying “down the hill.”
Yet, for years, the double homicide would remain a mystery and baffle the small community of Delphi, which is home to about 3,000 people.
According to investigators, that changed Wednesday when the Delphi Double Homicide Task Force took Allen into custody, according to a statement from authorities released shortly after the press conference.
Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland said he was formally charged with the murders on Friday after a judge “did find probable cause” to link him to the murders. Allen has pleaded not guilty to the charges, McLeland said.
For now, however, McLeland said the probable cause statement has been sealed, a move he admitted was unusual for Carroll County.
“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,” he said.
He declined to discuss any evidence or timeline in the case.
“Everybody wants to know more information. I understand it’s frustrating, but my goal is to maintain the integrity of this case,” he said.
McLeland said the investigation remains ongoing.
When asked whether authorities had ruled out the possibility of other suspects being involved in the murders, McLeland said investigators “haven’t closed the door on the investigation” and are not “presuming anything at this point.”
He said authorities will continue to operate a tip line and encourage the public to reach out if they have any information about Allen or anyone else who could be involved.
Kelsi German, Libby's sister who has been an outspoken advocate for the two teens, tweeted her satisfaction at the news Monday.
In the years after the murders, Allen had been a regular fixture in the Delphi community, where he reportedly worked at a local pharmacy and often dined with his wife at the Brick & Mortar Pub, WXIN-TV reports
“One of my servers was telling me that he wouldn’t speak much; his wife would order the food and that they would split it,” general manager Chandler Underhill told the news outlet. “He didn’t really speak.”
Over the years other possible suspects have come into the spotlight.
Kegan Kline, a man now facing 30 counts of child pornography, child solicitation and obstruction of justice, was drawn into the investigation after it was revealed that he had been communicating with German the night before the murders on social media and had been planning to meet with her the day she disappeared.
Kline has been accused of using a male model’s photo on an anthony_shots account he ran to misrepresent himself to German, according to the Journal & Courier.
On Monday, Carter said he hoped the arrest had finally brought “a bit of peace in this complicated world.”
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