Delphi, Indiana murders: pharmacy worker held over deaths of teen girls in 2017

The girls were killed in woods outside their home town nearly six years ago

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A pharmacy worker has been arrested in connection with the unsolved murders of two teenage girls in 2017, authorities said on Monday.

Richard Matthew Allen, 50, had been living in the Indiana community of Delphi, where their bodies were found after they went on a hike about six years ago.

He was arrested Friday on suspicion of murdering Liberty German, 14, and Abigail Williams, 13, in a case that has haunted the US city of about 3,000 people.

The investigation is “far from complete,” State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said at a news conference on Monday.

He encouraged members of the public to come forward with relevant information, and said if any other people “had any involvement in these murders in any way, that person or persons will be held accountable”.

Carroll County prosecutor Nicholas McLeland described Mr Allen’s arrest as “a step in the right direction.”

The evidence against Mr Allen, a licensed pharmacy technician who worked at a CVS store, has been temporarily sealed to avoid jeopardising the “integrity” of the investigation, authorities said.

“While I know you were all expecting final details today concerning this arrest, today is not that day,” Mr Carter said.

Mike Patty, grandfather of Libby German speaks with the media following a news conference in Delphi, Indiana, on Monday, when the arrest of Richard Allen was announced for the murders of two teenage girls. AP

The deaths of German and Williams were ruled to be a double homicide, but police have not disclosed how they died or described what evidence was gathered.

A relative had dropped them off at a hiking trail near the Monon High Bridge outside of Delphi, about 97 kilometres north-west of Indianapolis.

Their bodies were found the next day, on February 14, 2017, in a rugged, heavily wooded area near the trail.

German’s grandmother, Becky Patty, told reporters that Mr Allen once processed photos for the family at the CVS store in Delphi. He did not charge them, she said.

The families always knew that the suspect could have been “living right among us, hiding in plain sight”, said German's grandfather, Mike Patty. “That's why we never stopped searching anywhere, because we didn't know where he was.”

The Pattys wore grey shirts that read “Today is the Day … Justice will be served for Abby and Libby” to Monday’s news conference.

A judge found probable cause to arrest Mr Allen, who entered a not-guilty plea at an initial hearing on Friday, authorities said.

“All persons arrested are presumed innocent,” Mr Carter said.

Sheriff Bill Brooks in adjacent White County, where Mr Allen is being held without bail, said he did not know if Mr Allen has a lawyer. No murder case was listed on Monday afternoon under his name in Indiana’s online court system.

“We haven’t closed the door on the investigation,” Mr McLeland said when asked if authorities were investigating others. “We’re not presuming anything at this point.”

No one answered the door on Monday at Mr Allen’s house, on a street of single-family homes where some put Keep Out signs in their yards.

Flowers are placed at the Monon High Bridge Trial in Delphi, Indiana, on Monday, near where Liberty German and Abigail Williams were last seen and where the bodies were discovered. AP

Within days of the killings, investigators released two grainy photos of a suspect walking on the abandoned railway bridge the girls had visited, and an audio recording of a man believed to be the suspect saying “down the hill.”

Authorities released a sketch of a suspect in July 2017, and then another in April 2019 based on video released in April 2019 showing a suspect walking on the abandoned railway bridge the girls had visited.

The images and audio of the suspect came from German's mobile phone. Authorities hailed her as a hero for recording what may have been crucial evidence before she was killed.

In December 2021, state police announced they were seeking information from people who had contact with someone who used a fictitious online profile to communicate with young girls.

State Police said investigators determined the profile “anthony shots” was used from 2016 to 2017 on Snapchat, Instagram and other social media platforms.

A statement from CVS said the company is “shocked and saddened to learn that one of our store employees was arrested as a suspect in these crimes. We stand ready to co-operate with the police investigation in any way we can.”

“We remain devastated by these murders and our hearts go out to the German and Williams families,” the statement said.

Updated: November 01, 2022, 6:12 AM
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