DELPHI, Ind. - Indiana State Police announced murder charges Monday morning in the 2017 slaying of two young girls in Delphi, Indiana.
Richard Allen, 50, of Delphi, has been charged with two counts of murder in the killings of 14-year-old Liberty "Libby" German and 13-year-old Abigail "Abby" Williams, police said.
Allen was arrested Friday after police secured a warrant for probable cause. Charging information and the probable cause affadavit has been sealed by the court as the investigation is "active and ongoing," police said.
The investigation is "far from complete," State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said at a news conference on Monday. He encouraged the community to come forward with more information, and said if any other people "had any involvement in these murders in any way, that person or persons will be held accountable."
Left to right: Abigail Williams, Richard Allen, Libby German
Allen has entered a not guilty plea and is scheduled for a preliminary trial on Jan. 13, 2023, according to police.
Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland described Allen’s arrest as "a step in the right direction."
"It’s concerning that he’s a local guy," McLeland said.
The evidence against Allen, a licensed pharmacy technician who worked at a local CVS store, has been temporarily sealed to jeopardizing the "integrity" of their investigation, authorities said. "While I know you were all expecting final details today concerning this arrest, today is not that day," Carter said.
Sheriff Bill Brooks in adjacent White County, where Allen is being held without bond, said Monday he did not know whether Allen has an attorney. No murder case was listed Monday afternoon under his name in Indiana’s online court system.
Police followed thousands of leads in the investigation with their biggest clue coming from one of the girl's cellphones, a grainy picture of a man and a recorded voice.
Libby and Abby were missing after going on a hike in 2017. Their bodies were found in a rugged area near a hiking trail on Feb. 14, one day after they vanished while walking on that trail near the Monon High Bridge. That bridge is just outside their hometown of Delphi, about 60 miles northwest of Indianapolis.
The murders shook the small town of Delphi, causing distrust and anxiety. Residents are now eager to hear the latest update from police.
"First of all, this town is tiny and everyone knows everyone and it terrifies me to death," one Delphi resident told FOX 32. "We've been on that trail thousands of times and I mean we've heard multiple stories of who we thought they had but we just hope today's the day, today's the day and we're really hoping today is the day."
The Delphi Double Homicide Task Force – which includes the Indiana State Police, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, United States Marshals Service, and the Carroll County Prosecutors Office – were all present at the news conference.
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 cooperate 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.
Libby's grandmother expressed her relief Saturday morning on Facebook.
"I guess I am kind of at a loss. Every morning I get up - get my coffee - and start looking for which photo will be the today is the day post. Now I sit here not needing to do it because at long last we have a face to go with our monster. I sit here wondering - now what. Where do we go from here? I realize our lives have again made a big change - we have a very difficult path to start down. It is a path we will gladly face as we know each step taken is one step closer to our monster being convicted. Knowing that makes that walk so much easier. I want to thank everyone who has supported and prayed for our girls daily for 51/2 years - who never gave up! Who grew to love them. I know they are smiling down on the world today knowing it is now a little bit safer. Thank you"
FEBRUARY 13, 2017: Abigail "Abby" Williams, 13, and Liberty "Libby" German, 14, go on a hike, since they have the day off from school. They do not come home.
FEBRUARY 14, 2017: The bodies of Abby Williams and Libby German are found in a rugged area near a hiking trail.
FEBRUARY 20, 2017: Indiana State Police say a man photographed walking along a trail system around the time two teenage girls later found slain were dropped off by a relative is now considered "the main suspect" in their killings.
FEBRUARY 22, 2017: Police said one of the girls used her cellphone beforehand to capture video of a man police now consider the main suspect and recorded a male voice saying "down the hill," authorities said Wednesday.
JULY 2017: Indiana State Police released a composite sketch of a man who they say is linked to the deaths of two girls who were found dead in the wood in February.
APRIL 2019: Police released video which shows the man suspected of killing the teens walking on the abandoned railroad bridge the girls had visited.
APRIL 2021: Reward in the Delphi murders is up to $325,000.
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. They said at that time that investigators probing German and Williams’ deaths had uncovered a fictitious online profile named "anthony_shots" that was used from 2016 to 2017 on Snapchat, Instagram and other social media platforms.
AUGUST 2022: Podcasters doing a story on the Delphi murders say they have photos of Indiana police searching the Wabash River.
OCTOBER 2022: Kegan Kline goes to trial on child pornography charges. He is believed to have communicated with German through a fake social media account shortly before the girls were killed.
OCTOBER 29, 2022: Kelsi German, Liberty's sister, tweets: "Today is the day."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.