When it comes to the case of the Delphi murders, authorities have been tight-lipped from the start. Since the Feb. 2017 slayings of friends Abigail Williams, 13, and Liberty German, 14, on a hiking trail in Delphi, Indiana, authorities have revealed little about the investigation, not even how the victims were killed. During the nearly six-year search for a suspect, they did release a recording captured by one of the girls on her cell phone that they believed showed the murderer: a man in jeans and a blue jacket ordering the young teens, “Guys, down the hill.” The eerie video, taken as the girls encountered the man on a railroad trestle called Monon High Bridge, captured national attention and helped bring in tips. But in late October, when authorities arrested Richard Allen and charged him with two counts of murder, they revealed nothing about what had led them to Allen as a suspect. At the time, County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland said the integrity of the case relied upon keeping the files sealed. “I want to have an opportunity to explain the evidence, and not have that be tarnished or tainted,” he said during a press conference. On Tuesday, a judge unsealed a probable cause affidavit which reveals to the public for the first time how investigators homed in on Allen — and why they believe he was the man the girls recorded on the bridge, who they claim ultimately killed them both. On Wednesday, the county prosecutor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the unsealing of the affidavit or its contents. Here are the biggest takeaways:
Prosecutors say Allen’s unused bullet was found at the scene
The victims’ bodies were found on Feb. 14, 2017, less than a quarter mile from the Monon High Bridge, the railway bridge where the girls captured their alleged murderer on video. Between the victims’ bodies, the affidavit revealed, investigators found strong physical evidence: an unused bullet. “The round was unspent and had extraction marks on it,” the affidavit said. The filing also revealed that investigators found clothes belonging to the victims in the creek, south of where their bodies were discovered. In October, the document stated, investigators searched Allen’s home. Among the things they found were knives and firearms, including a Sig Sauer, Model P226, .40-caliber pistol with serial number U 625 627. The state police laboratory performed forensic analysis on Allen’s pistol and determined the unspent bullet had been cycled through Allen’s pistol.
Investigators believe multiple people saw Allen near the scene of the crime, at one point covered in blood
Multiple witnesses saw a man in the area of the crime who matched Allens’ description, and that of the man in the “Down the hill” recording. One juvenile witness told police she’d seen a “kind of creepy” man on the trail in a blue jacket and jeans walking toward the railroad bridge. Another said she’d said “hi” to him, but he’d just glared at her as he passed, his hands in his pockets. At one point, roughly two hours after Libby recorded the suspect on her phone ordering her and Abby “down the hill,” a hiker saw Allen covered in blood. Authorities redacted the name of the witness they interviewed who said she saw a man walking away from the railroad bridge at around 4:00 p.m. The witness, the affidavit said, “advised that the male subject was wearing a blue colored jacket and blue jeans and was muddy and bloody. She further stated that it appeared he had gotten into a fight.”
Police had their eye on Allen from the beginning
Investigators first interviewed Allen in 2017, the affidavit reveals. During that conversation, he admitted to walking the trail around the time the girls encountered the man on the bridge. He also said he saw three girls during his walk, but claimed he didn’t speak with them. In October 2022, as investigators were closing in on Allen, they spoke with him again. He again admitted to walking on the Delphi Historic Trails the day of the girls’ murders. He said he’d walked out onto the Monon High Bridge to watch the fish before reversing directions, sitting on a bench and then leaving the area. He told investigators he was wearing blue jeans and a blue or black Carhartt jacket that day, and that he owned firearms. Police also interviewed his wife, Kathy, who confirmed he still owned a blue Carhatt jacket and that he had guns and knives in their home. (Kathy could not immediately be reached by Rolling Stone for comment.) The affidavit says Allen voluntarily came to the State Police on Oct. 26, the day he was arrested. He told investigators he’d never allowed someone to borrow his Sig Sauer pistol. He claimed he did not know why the unspent bullet had been found by Libby’s and Abby’s bodies, and denied having anything to do with their murders. Allen has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His defense attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.