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Five years after double homicide in Delphi, state police announce arrest

 Superintendent of the Indiana State Police Doug Carter offers details on the arrest of Richard Allen (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)
Superintendent of the Indiana State Police Doug Carter offers details on the arrest of Richard Allen (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)

More than five years after a double homicide in Delphi, state police announced at a press conference Monday morning they have made an arrest in the case.

In 2017, Abigail Williams, 13, and Liberty German, 14, were found dead after walking on a trail in Delphi. 

But police have taken the unusual step to seal the probable cause affidavit in the case - a decision for which Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter took responsibility.

“Though you are all expecting final details today concerning this arrest, today is not that day,” he said. “This investigation is far from complete and we will not jeopardize its integrity by discussing documents or information before the appropriate time.”

50-year-old Richard Allen of Delphi was taken into custody last Wednesday and charged Friday with two counts of murder.

Carter quickly reminded reporters that Allen is innocent until proven guilty.

“We in law enforcement cannot – and you should never allow us to – talk about what we think concerning facts,” he said.

Carter also reflected on the length of the investigation, noting that the first briefing in the investigation was held at the same location as Monday’s press conference.

“Driving in today I wasn’t really sure what emotion I would experience, but peace came over me,” he said. “I didn’t expect that to happen.”

Carter told reporters that many of the officers working on the case worked long hours, nights, and weekends - in some cases even foregoing retirement - in order to work on the case.

Carroll County Prosecutor Nick McLeland said the case’s tip line will remain open.

“We cannot talk about the evidence that’s in the probable cause or the evidence that’s in the charging information,” he said. “That will become evident to you at some point and it will be released, but right now is not that day. Today is about Abby and Libby.”

According to McLeland, Allen – who has had a preliminary hearing – pleaded not guilty to the charges.

When asked to justify the decision to keep the probable cause affidavit sealed, McLeland agreed it was unusual.

“We did it in this case because the investigation is still opened,” he said. “While all cases are important, this case has some extra scrutiny with it.”

Police would not answer questions about when Allen became a suspect or whether there were any other individuals involved.

McLeland described “mixed emotions” as the investigation moves forward.

“I’ve been watching the news all weekend as everybody else has. I think a lot of members of the public said it right: it’s bittersweet,” he said. “It’s a step in the right direction, it’s concerning he’s a local guy. It’s different emotions.”

A pretrial is set for Jan. 13 with a trial date scheduled for March 20.