BY AARON KELLER
Liberty ‘Libby’ German and Abigail ‘Abby’ Williams. (Images via the FBI).
Update, Monday, Oct. 31: Richard Allen pictured for first time in jail orange.
As television news crews predictably swarmed Delphi, Indiana for details and clues about the man who was reportedly booked into custody in connection with the murders of two young teenage girls, one local television station on Saturday published a picture that it says depicts the man currently behind bars.
Liberty “Libby” German, 14, and her best friend Abigail “Abby” Williams, 13, vanished while walking the Monon High Bridge Trail near Delphi, Indiana, on Feb. 13, 2017. The trail traverses an abandoned stretch of the old Monon Railroad and is named accordingly.
A screengrab from WTHR-TV and YouTube shows the Monon High Bridge and a small memorial for the two young teens killed nearby.
The precise details of the case have remained thin for more than five years. The authorities have indicated that the girls likely lost a considerable amount of blood, that the girls’ bodies were “moved and staged” where they were found, and that the killer or killers took a souvenir from the scene.
The Indiana State Police on Friday said that a Monday press conference would reveal an important development in the small-town mystery that has attracted national attention. However, neither the state police nor the local constabulary would officially vouchsafe the identity of any suspect or suspects currently in custody or the precise nature of the promised update.
The official recalcitrance to provide details was penetrated, however, by Friday television reports from Indianapolis FOX affiliate WXIN and from NBC affiliate WTHR. Those two competitors each independently reported that Richard Allen had been jailed in some connection with the Delphi murders. The reports were sourced to unnamed individuals within the state police.
BREAKING: A government source confirms this is a state issued photo of Richard Allen arrested in connection to the 2017 murders of Libby German and Abby Williams in Delphi. Allen booked into the Carroll County Jail then moved to another facility. News conference Monday at 10. pic.twitter.com/fNvD2BYsNc
— Angela Ganote (@angelaganote) October 29, 2022
Late Saturday afternoon, WXIN published what it called “a state-issued photo” of Allen (embedded above) and said that a “government source” reportedly confirmed was authentic. The image may have been a driver’s license photo, but WXIN wasn’t clear.
Jail records reviewed by Law&Crime multiple times on Friday and again on Saturday indicate that one Richard Matthew Allen, 50, was listed as “in custody” at the Carroll County Jail in Delphi, Indiana, as of early Friday afternoon. Later on Friday, he was listed as being in the custody of the White County Sheriff’s Department in nearby Monticello, Indiana, which is about 20 minutes from Delphi. On Saturday, both records remained the same, and several local news reports suggested that Allen was transferred out of Carroll County for safety reasons.
A screenshot from the website VineLink contains two sparsely populated entries for Richard Matthew Allen.
The precise charges Allen faces have not been revealed and are not contained in the available jail listings. A state court system website contains no relevant entries; the case is reportedly sealed. Officials in neither Carroll nor White County would answer questions when contacted by Law&Crime with the exception of one person in White County would would confirm only that Allen was in custody.
The lack of official detail has created an information vacuum largely being populated online by the sharing and re-sharing of social media posts that purport to depict the man in question. And, naturally, the television stations who injected Allen’s name into the ether have been pounding the beat in Delphi by asking anyone in the city of less than 3,000 people who knew him and what he is like.
Courtney Spinelli, a reporter for the FOX affiliate, spoke to one of Allen’s neighbors. That man, Joe Seurynck, indicated that he saw “a couple of police cars” at Allen’s property last week but didn’t think “much of it.” Spinelli also said neighbors saw officers digging up a “fire pit” in Allen’s yard.
A WXIN screengrab shows what reporters described as a “fire pit” behind Richard Allen’s house. The pit was searched by the police, neighbors reportedly told the TV station.
WXIN, who also assigned reporter Max Lewis to talk to the locals, said that most residents felt a sense of “relief” that an arrest had been made.
Many denizens of Delphi praised the German and Williams families for their strength over the years. Several said they were glad to offer their friendship and support in the face of extreme grief. Some said the arrest meant the beginning of putting the ordeal behind the small community. Others suggested that the killings themselves portended the end of an innocence that could never be fully recovered.
Chandler Underhill, the manager of the Brick & Mortar Pub, told WXIN that Allen was somewhat of a regular at his establishment. (The TV station used the phrase “fairly frequent customer.”)
“I would talk; he wouldn’t say much,” Underhill reportedly said of Allen. “He seems like a normal guy.”
“One of my servers was telling me that he wouldn’t speak much, Underhill added to WXIN.
Underhill also underscored the fears of many in the community: that a local person, not a stranger from somewhere else, was reportedly under some form of suspicion in the double murder.
Several police sketches of possible suspects in the Delphi Murders have been promulgated over the years. One, via a WTHR-TV/YouTube screengrab, is pictured here.
“It’s scary that it really could be someone that you did know,” Underhill continued. “Like they always say, it could be your neighbor or it could be someone that you know, but then you’re like — ‘no’ — and when you find out it’s true, it’s kind of scary.”According to WXIN, the barkeep indicated Allen worked in town — presumably at a CVS, where Underhill said he would go “as a customer” and where Allen “would say, ‘do you need any help?’”
“Just like a normal guy that I’ve seen for the last couple years, not really thinking anything,” Underhill added.
A reporter for WTHR knocked on the door of the home Allen is said to own; no response was received.
That NBC affiliate recalled in its extensive Friday night coverage what the superintendent of the Indiana State Police said at a briefing years ago.
“To the killer — who may be in this room: we believe you are hiding in plain sight,” Superintendent Doug Carter said in 2018.
WTHR’s team station’s coverage is below.