DELPHI — An arrest has been made in the high-profile killings of Abby Williams and Libby German, but investigators have declined to release any details connecting the suspect to the actual crimes.
In a press conference Monday, officials released the name and photo of the suspect, Richard M. Allen. The 50-year-old man is a Delphi local who lived less than a mile from the school Libby and Abby attended when they were killed.
The lack of additional details from investigators has led to some scrutiny from the public including one former prosecutor.
"This press conference engendered far more questions than it provided answers," said Jack Crawford, an Indianapolis attorney who served 10 years as the Lake County prosecutor.
"Are they keeping it secret because there is someone else involved?" Crawford asked "If so, is there another child killer loose in Carroll County?
"These are things the public has a right to know."
Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland said in a press conference Monday that he asked a judge to seal the charging information and the probable cause affidavit, both are court documents laying out evidence the state has gathered when they charge a person with a crime.
Typically those documents are public, Crawford said.
"I was prosecutor for 10 years in Gary. I charged probably 1,000 people with murder," Crawford said. "Never once did we prohibit the public from looking at the probable cause affidavit if they were in custody."
Monday's news conference left many unanswered questions.
How do we know they have the right suspect? What evidence links Allen to the killings? Is it DNA? A confession?
Is the evidence against Allen so strong that the state might seek the death penalty; or is the connection so weak the case might crumble under public scrutiny?
"I know people are probably frustrated with the lack of information that's being put out," said Doug Kouns, a former FBI agent who runs a private investigation firm in Carmel. "It could potentially compromise the investigation."
Kouns retired from the FBI in 2018 and was never directly involved in this investigation. He said the investigators in this case have been very careful and they deserve the public's trust.
"They've been able to convince a judge that we have enough evidence to move forward," Kouns said. "I think just the magnitude of this case and the amount of attention that it's gotten, I don't believe they would have moved forward unless (the evidence) was very strong."
McLeland, the Carroll County prosecutor, said the case is still open, investigators are still gathering information and he has not ruled out charging other suspects.
"We encourage everybody to continue to call in tips not only about Richard Allen but about any other person that you may have," McLeland said. "For that reason, and for the nature of this case, the probable cause and the charging information has been sealed by the court."
Allen, 50, has been charged with murder in the deaths of Abby Williams, 13, and Libby German, 14. The girls' bodies were found on Valentine's Day 2017 off a trail near the Monon High Bridge in Delphi.
McLeland said there will be a hearing before a judge who will decide whether the records should remain sealed, but that date had not been set. Allen has a pretrial hearing scheduled for Jan. 13.
"Everybody wants to know more information," McLeland said. "I understand it is frustrating, but my goal is to maintain the integrity of this case."
Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at email@example.com or on Twitter: @vicryc.