DELPHI, Ind. (WRTV) — Indiana State Police arrested and charged Richard Matthew Allen with two counts of murder in connection to the high-profile killings of teenagers Abby Williams and Libby German.
The girls went missing on a hiking trip in Dephi, Indiana in 2017.
According to ISP, Allen was taken into custody last week by the Delphi Double Homicide Task Force.
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.
Allen has reportedly lived in the Delphi area for 16 years. He has a limited criminal history and worked as a pharmacy technician in the state of Indiana.
All court documents pertaining 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.
"While I know you are expecting final details ... today is not that day," said Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter. "Please understand our system of due process ... and remember that all persons arrested are presumed innocent."
Allen's arrest comes more than five years after the two girls were found dead.
Abby, 13, and Libby, 14, were dropped off at the Monon High Bridge on Feb. 13, 2017, and their bodies were discovered the next day.
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.
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 WRTV 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.
READ | A look at the property where two missing teen girls were found dead
No details surrounding how the girls were found or their cause of death has ever been released.
“I can’t say there’s not a threat to the community,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Kim Riley told WRTV 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 remained minimal.
The key evidence in the case was 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 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.
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 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, was 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.
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.
"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.”
This story was originally reported on wrtv.com.