DELPHI — After more than five years of unanswered questions, Indiana State Police has named 50-year-old Richard Matthew Allen as the primary suspect in the 2017 killings of Abby Williams and Libby German.
Allen, who has lived in the Delphi community for at least 16 years, has been charged with two counts of murder, ISP Superintendent Doug Carter said during a multi-agency update on the investigation Monday.
WRTV Investigates discovered that Allen had a limited criminal history and worked as a pharmacy technician in the state of Indiana.
Sources confirmed to WRTV on Friday that an arrest had been made in the case.
According to ISP, Allen was taken into custody Wednesday by the Delphi Double Homicide Task Force and then transported to Carroll County Jail. He was later transported to White County Jail, where he's currently being held.
Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland said that a preliminary plea of not guilty had been entered for Allen and that he is being held without bond ahead of a March 20, 2023 trial.
When asked whether anyone else is presumed to be involved in the murders, McLeland said, "We have not closed the door on this case." He added that the established tip line will be left open, as the case is still ongoing.
In the meantime, all court documents related to the case remain under seal. McLeland said his office made that request because of the "extra scrutiny" associated with the case, and to protect the integrity of the investigation.
Officials said that while members of the public will likely want more information, that won't come until later.
"While I know you are expecting final details ... today is not that day," said Carter. "Please understand our system of due process ... and remember that all persons arrested are presumed innocent."
Carter added, "Today is not a day to celebrate, but the arrest of Richard M. Allen of Delphi on two counts of murder is sure a major step and leading to the conclusion of this long-term and complex investigation."
Carter and other officials thanked everyone who was involved in the investigation and made personal sacrifices to see it through.
"What we all have experienced proves that together, there's nothing we cannot do," Carter said. "Abby and Libby's deaths had a profound effect on so many of us ... on how we live, and most importantly, who we all should be."
He continued, "We are going to continue a very methodical and committed approach to ensure that if any other person had any involvement in these murders in any way, that person or persons will be held accountable."
Allen's arrest comes more than five years after the two girls were found dead.
Abby and Libby were dropped off at the Monon High Bridge on Feb. 13, 2017, and their bodies were discovered the next day.
The Indiana State Police, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, the United States Marshals Service and the Carroll County Prosecutors Office held a press conference to make the official announcement Monday morning.
You can watch the full press conference below.
Finding the Delphi killer has become an international obsession.
Libby and Abby's story has been told across the country on television and podcasts and debated by people around the world in chat rooms and social media groups online.
The girls' stories have been shared on "In Pursuit with John Walsh", "Dr. Oz" and "Nancy Grace," and their families have made appearances at CrimeCon and other conventions to keep the case in the national spotlight. Multiple podcasts - large and small - have also taken interest in the case and pushed it further into the national spotlight.
Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter has made it his mission to find the girls' killer and during an interview earlier in February, he told WRTV's Rafael Sanchez that he believes they will identify the person responsible while he is still superintendent.
"Three years, two years 11 months," Carter said. "It could be today. We continue to move in a positive direction."
The reward for finding Libby and Abby's killer now sits at over $325,000.
Below is a detailed look at everything we know that has been released by investigators so far in the investigation.
Feb. 13, 2017
A family member dropped the girls off at The Monon High Bridge that afternoon with a plan to pick them up a few hours later. When that pickup time arrived, the girls were nowhere to be found.
Calls to Libby’s cell phone went unanswered and eventually straight to voicemail.
First, the family began to search. When they were still missing later that afternoon, family members contacted the sheriff’s department for help.
Sheriff Leazenby told RTV6 that evening that they had no reason to believe the girls were in danger. At the time, crews thought the girls had simply gotten lost on the trails and were unable to find their way back.
Throughout the evening dozens of volunteers joined the search for the girls.
The only real clue of their location was a photo Libby had snapped of Abby walking along the bridge and posted to her social media.
As the sun went down and the temperature dropped the search was officially suspended sometime after midnight, although some family and friends did continue to search into the overnight hours.
Tragedy Near Deer Creek
The search for Libby and Abby resumed on Valentine’s Day morning, Feb. 14, 2017.
Crews widened the scope of their search as soon as the sun came up, wandering further from the abandoned railroad tracks and into wooded areas below the bridge and along Deer Creek.
The official search had barely resumed when one of the search teams made a gruesome discovery.
The bodies of Libby and Abby were found on the back end of a private piece of property less than a mile from where they were dropped off the day before.
No details surrounding how the girls were found or their cause of death have ever been released.
“I can’t say there’s not a threat to the community,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Kim Riley told RTV6 at the time. "We have not caught the person yet. Is the person still in the community? We don’t know.”
The evidence released publicly since Libby and Abby were murdered remains minimal.
The key evidence in the case is a video that was taken by Libby, likely in the moments before her death.
Although the full context of what took place on that video has never been released, Libby German has been heralded a “hero” for having the presence of mind to begin recording.
The full video and audio have never been shared, but investigators say it was taken during "suspected criminal activity."
Investigators have released two grainy images from that video that shows a man we’re to believe was behind the girls on that bridge, a short clip of that man walking, an audio recording of a man — presumably the same one — saying “Guys. Down the hill” and two sketches from possible witnesses in the area the day the girls were murdered.
Another key piece of the puzzle that investigators have released is that they believe the man who murdered Libby and Abby was either from Delphi or was familiar with Delphi either because he works there or has other connections.
“I’ve walked across the high bridge myself. It’s 65-70 feet off the river deck. It hasn’t had a train on it since 1929," Carter said during a press conference on April 22, 2019. "The ties are starting to rot. It sways back and forth and it’s not something you can just jump on and walk straight across if you’ve never done it before. I decided I was going to take the riverbank going back, I didn’t. That wasn’t the first time he’s been on that high bridge, my opinion, again that’s my opinion. I experienced it and I kept a piece of the high bridge and I’ll carry it with me until we find out who this is."
The Two Grainy Photos
Police released the images they say were taken straight from Libby’s cell phone, on Feb. 15, 2017 — the day after the girls’ bodies were found.
Both images, shown below, depict the same white man wearing blue jeans, a blue coat/jacket and a hoodie.
Days after Libby and Abby were found dead, police officially named that man a “person of interest” in their murders.
The context surrounding the images, which were stills from a moving video, has never been given.
The Two Audio Clips
A brief audio clip, which police have always said was just a small clip of what they have from Libby’s phone, was released on Feb. 22, 2017.
The audio of a man’s voice saying “down the hill” was seconds long and was released free of video.
Police have only said that the video it came from captured the man telling the girls to go “down the hill” during possible “criminal activity.” They have never elaborated further on that description.
More than two years later, on April 22, 2019, Indiana State Police released a new piece of audio that is a slightly extended version of the initial clip and includes the word “Guys” followed by “Down the Hill.”
Although the audio may appear to be a different voice, Indiana State Police were clear when they released it that the extended clip was all the same person.
"Please keep in mind that the person talking is one person and is the person on the bridge with the girls" Carter said. "This is not two people speaking. Please listen to it very, very carefully."
Listen to that extended clip below.
The Video Clip
At that same April 22 press conference, Indiana State Police also released never-before-seen video of “bridge guy” that was taken by Libby on the day that she died. The video shows the suspect walking along the bridge behind Libby and Abby.
“When you see the video, watch the person’s mannerisms as they walk,” Carter said when they released it. “Do you recognize the mannerisms as being someone that you might know?”
Carter also said because they know where the man was walking on the bridge his walk is not natural because of the spacing between the ties and the deterioration in that area of the bridge.
Watch the video clip below.
The Two Sketches
Five months into the investigation, Indiana State Police released their first sketch and description of a suspect.
That first composite sketch was created after police said they received information from witnesses who were in the area at the time Libby and Abby went missing.
At the time, the suspect was described as a white man between 5-feet 6-inches tall and 5-feet 10-inches tall, weighing 180 to 220 pounds with reddish-brown hair and an unknown eye color.
In that first sketch, shown below, detectives say the man’s hat was changed to make his facial features more recognizable.
A second sketch was released at the press conference held on April 22, 2019.
That sketch, which appears to be of an entirely different person, is now believed to be the main person of interest in the murders of Libby and Abby.
Along with the new sketch, police also updated their description of the suspect to be a man between 18 and 40 years old, who could appear much younger than he actually is.
"When we decided that, through the information we received, that we were going to release the second sketch I don’t believe the individual knew we were going to do that. So, it was really, really important. I think he was probably there and/or watching, simply because he thought we were on the wrong path," Carter said when the second sketch was released.
The sketches were composed from witness accounts of two separate individuals who were in the area on the day of the murders. Indiana State Police later revealed that the second sketch, released more than two years after the girls were killed, was actually the first sketch they had drawn up.
They also say they now believe that the second sketch is a more accurate depiction of the suspect, although the actual suspect may likely be a mix between both sketches.
"The sketch isn’t a photograph. A sketch is a sketch and that’s really important for everybody to understand," Carter said. "I believe that the individual, when we catch him, it will be a combination of those two.”
During the press conference in April 2019, Indiana State Police also requested the public's help to identify the driver of a vehicle that was parked near the Monon High Bridge on the day Libby and Abby went missing.
Carter says a vehicle was parked at the old CPS/DCS Welfare building in Delphi on the east side of County Road 300 North, next to the Hoosier Heartland Highway between noon and 5 p.m. February 14, 2017. No details about that vehicle were released, including make and model, color or license plate number.
“We believe you are hiding in plain sight,” Carter said. “For more than two years…. We likely have interviewed you or someone close to you. We know that this is about power to you, and you want to know what we know – that one day, you will.”
So far, no additional information has been released and Indiana State Police have still not identified the vehicle or a possible person who may have been driving it.
How You Can Help
Keeping track of those tips is a major undertaking. Investigators say the more information a tipster can give them, the better, because the more information they can enter into the system – the more potential connections can be made and checked.
Investigators have shared insight into what makes a good, solid tip.
That includes things like:
- Suspect Nam
- Date of Birth or Approximate Age
- Physical Description (i.e. height, weight, hair color, eye color)
- Specific Address or Location Last Seen
- Specific Vehicle Descriptions (i.e. license plate, year, make, model, color)
- Specific Reason for Tip (i.e. Why could they be the suspect?
- Motivation for Crime
- Connection to Delphi
Tips can remain anonymous.
The reward for information leading to the arrest of the Delphi killer is over $250,000.
Tip Information Contacts
Tip Line: (844) 459-5786
Indiana State Police: (800) 382-7537