It’s been more than six years since best friends Libby German, 14, and Abby Williams, 13, set off on a walk in their hometown of Delphi, Indiana – never to be seen alive again.
Since then, several local men fell under suspicion for their murders.
But no arrests were made, no suspects formally named and one promising lead after the next went cold. Until now.
In October 2022, a local man was finally arrested and charged with the teenagers’ 2017 murders.
Richard Allen was a 51-year-old married Delphi man, married father and local CVS store worker, who had admitted to investigators that he was on the trail on the day the victims disappeared. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Here’s what we know about the case:
What happened to Libby German and Abby Williams?
Libby and Abby went missing on 13 February 2017 after they set off on a hike along the Monon High Bridge Trail in Delphi, Indiana.
During the walk, Libby had posted photos on Snapchat of them walking along the trail.
The happy image of the two best friends is believed to be the last photo of them before they died.
Their bodies were discovered the next day in a wooded area around half a mile off the trail.
In a move that propelled the investigation forward, Libby also captured a grainy video on her phone of a man dressed in blue jeans, a blue jacket and a cap walking along the abandoned railroad bridge.
Investigators released a grainy image from the video and a chilling audio of the man telling the two girls: “Go down the hill.”
Investigators have long suspected that this man is the girls’ killer and have praised the girls for documenting the video as evidence.
Police gave the description of the man as a white male aged between 16 and 40 years old, between 5’ 6” and 5’ 10” in height and weighing between 180 and 200 pounds.
Two police sketches were circulated of a man matching the description of the man in the footage – one in 2017 which was later discounted and replaced with a different version in 2019.
How were the Delphi victims murdered?
For years, police have refused to say how the girls died and have revealed few details about the crime scene.
However, a trove of court documents released in June 2023 revealed new details about the murders for the first time.
Both Libby and Abby are believed to have been killed with a knife, suffering wounds caused “by a sharp object,” the filings state. A gun is also believed to have been used in the crime, after an unspent bullet was found by the victim’s bodies.
Some items of the girls’ clothing was also missing and Libby’s iPhone – containing the infamous video of “Bridge Guy” – was found underneath her body at the scene. “Articles of clothing from the girls were missing from the scene, including a pair of underwear and a sock,” documents state.
Court documents filed by Mr Allen’s attorneys in September revealed more graphic details that the teenage best friends both had their necks slashed.
The documents – in which Mr Allen’s legal team claimed his innocence and that the victims were instead murdered by a white nationalist cult – state that Libby was found at the base of a tree with “four tree branches of varying sizes intentionally placed in a very specific and arranged pattern on her naked body” and blood spots and drippings all over her body.
Abby meanwhile was fully clothed, including in Libby’s sweatshirt and jeans, the documents state.
There was no blood on her clothing, indicating that she was likely murdered while naked and then dressed after she was killed. Tree branches and sticks had also been arranged on her body, the documents state.
Both victims appeared to have been moved and positioned after they were murdered.
Who is Richard Allen?
Before his sudden arrest, Mr Allen’s name was never publicly linked to the case.
At the time of the murders, he would have been 44 years old.
He has no prior criminal record though jail records list him as also going by the alias of Craigh Ross Rentfrow.
The 51-year-old is a local resident of Delphi, the small, close-knit town of around 3,000 people.
His family home is less than a five-minute drive away from where the bodies of Libby and Abby were found, residing in a neighborhood southwest of the Monon High Bridge.
According to online records, Mr Allen has lived in Delphi there since at least 2006, and in Indiana his whole adult life.
Married to his wife Kathy with whom he shares an adult daughter, Mr Allen is a trained pharmacy technician, receiving his most recent pharmaceutical licence in February 2018 – one year on from the murders.
At the time of his arrest he was working at the local CVS store – coming into contact with members of the community as part of his job.
Following his arrest, Libby’s grandparents Mike and Becky Patty said that they recalled Mr Allen processing photos for them at the store.
Local residents also reacted with shock when news broke of his arrest, saying that he seemed “like a normal guy”.
“When I will go into CVS as a customer myself, he would say ‘do you need any help?’ I would be like ‘no’,” Chandler Underhill, the manager of the local Brick & Mortar Pub, where he said Mr Allen was a regular, told Fox59 in October 2022.
“Just like a normal guy that I’ve seen for the last couple years, not really thinking anything.”
Mr Underhill said that Mr Allen always seemed “normal” when he would come into the pub where he works.
“I would talk; he wouldn’t say much. He seems like a normal guy,” he said.“One of my servers was telling me that he wouldn’t speak much.”
It has also emerged that the accused killer brazenly posed for a smiling selfie in front of one of the police sketches of the murder suspect.
In a chilling photo, posted by Mr Allen’s wife Kathy on Facebook in December 2021, Mr Allen is seen smiling alongside his wife in a local bar in Delphi. On the wall behind him is the 2019 police sketch. Mr Allen bears some likeness to the drawing.
The selfie was posted on social media the same month investigators issued a fresh appeal urging members of the public to come forward with information about an online catfishing account thought to be tied to the murders.
What evidence ties Richard Allen to the murders?
In an affidavit released on 29 November 2022, prosecutors revealed that they had tied Mr Allen to a bullet found at the scene of the murder.
The document states that ballistics confirmed that an unspent .40 caliber round found close to the bodies of the teenage victims had come from a Sig Sauer Model P226, belonging to Mr Allen.
The Sig Sauer Model P226, which the suspect owned since 2001, was found during a search of Mr Allen’s home last month.
Both the 50-year-old local man and his wife Kathy allegedly confirmed that he was the only person with access to the firearm.
The affidavit also revealed that Mr Allen spoke with investigators at least twice, including in 2017 – confirming that he was on police radar at the time of the murders.
In the 2017 interview, Mr Allen had confessed to being on the Monon High Bridge Trail on the afternoon of 13 February – placing him on the scene at the same day and time that the victims went on their fateful walk.
At the time, he denied any involvement in the murders and insisted he had never seen the two girls that day.
In another interview on 13 October 2022, Mr Allen had “no explanation” as to how the spent bullet ended up in between the bodies of the two teenage victims, the affidavit states.
The accused killer said he had “not been on the property where the unspent round was found, that he did not know the property owner, and that he had no explanation as to why a round cycled through his firearm would be at that location,” it says. The property owner – Ron Logan – was also previously tied to the case. He died in 2020.
Investigators now believe Mr Allen to be the “Bridge Guy”.
What has Richard Allen said?
A trove of 118 court documents was unsealed on 28 June 2023, revealing that Mr Allen had confessed to the murders to his wife Kathy Allen while behind bars at the Westville Correctional Facility.
In the 3 April phone call, Mr Allen allegedly admitted “several times” that he carried out the brutal murders.
“Investigators had the phone call transcribed and the transcription confirms that Richard M. Allen admits that he committed the murders of Abigail Williams and Liberty German,” the documents read.
Mr Allen’s wife abruptly ended the phone call following her husband’s confession, the documents state.
The suspect – who was on police radar back in 2017 but slipped through the net for more than five years due to a clerical error – also confessed in jailhouse calls to his mother, the documents state. In total, court documents state that he confessed at least five times.
Following the bombshell 3 April call with his wife, Mr Allen broke the tablet he used to call and text people and has not communicated with people in months, the documents state.
In a dramatic court hearing earlier in June, both the prosecution and the defence revealed that Mr Allen had made “incriminating admissions” about the murders in the seven months since his arrest – but the nature of those confessions was not previously known.
Mr Allen’s defence attorneys have argued that Mr Allen’s confessions can’t be trusted due to his current mental state as they seek to have him moved to a county jail.
Who else has been tied to the case?
While Mr Allen’s name has never cropped up in connection to the murders before now, over the years, authorities have honed in on several other men.
A 27-year-old Indiana man fell under the spotlight last year when the online account he used to groom underage girls online was tied to the teenage victims. His home had been searched on suspicion of child porn charges just two weeks after the 2017 murders.
In December 2021, Indiana State Police announced that officials had “uncovered” a fake online profile called anthony_shots.
The profile was used from 2016 to 2017 on platforms including Snapchat and Instagram and used photos of a known male model, portraying him as being extremely wealthy and owning numerous sports cars.
Investigators said the person behind the account was Kegan Anthony Kline, 27-year-old man with addresses in Kokomo and Peru, close to Delphi.
According to an affidavit, Kline posed as the model in order to groom underage girls and get them to send nude photos and their addresses and try to get them to meet him. The male model whose photos were used had no connection to the case.
Kline was arrested on charges of child sexual abuse images and child exploitation tied to the account in 2020.
He allegedly admitted to investigators that he groomed underage girls online.
The affidavit said that Indiana State Police and the FBI carried out a search warrant on 25 February 2017 - less than two weeks after Abby and Libby were murdered - at Kline’s home in Peru after tracking down the user of the anthony_shots profile to the property.
Kline allegedly told investigators he would use social media accounts to talk to underage girls and had exchanged messages with and received about 100 sexual photos and about 20 sexually explicit videos from around 15 underage girls.
However, he denied any knowledge or involvement in the two teenagers’ deaths.
Kline was charged with 30 felonies in 2020 over the case. After five charges were dropped, Kline pleaded guilty to 25 counts and was sentenced to four decades in prison.
The documents, filed in 2020 and heavily redacted, do not mention the murders of Libby and Abby and he was not accused of involvement in their deaths.
Libby’s grandmother Becky Patty told The Independent in December 2021 that the teenager had never mentioned speaking to anyone online prior to her death and that there had never been any indication that the two girls had arranged to meet anyone online the day they were killed.
“Up until last night we were all under the impression that there was no indication and even now, as far as I’m aware, there is no indication that the girls had any plans to meet anyone out there [on the trail],” she said.
Ms Patty, who raised Libby from the age of three along with her husband Mike Patty, also said she had never heard of Kline before investigators released the information about the social media profile to the public.
However, after so many leads had gone cold she said she was not going to get her “hopes up” that it was the breakthrough the families had been waiting for.
Investigators urged anyone who had communicated with, met, or attempted to meet the individual posing as anthony_shots to come forward with information.
Prior to this, Logan had previously been on police radar, according to the 2017 search warrant application.
Logan owned the land on which Libby and Abby’s bodies were found and his home was just 1,400 feet from the crime scene.
The warrant application cites multiple complaints that he was violent towards women and that he owned multiple weapons, including handguns and knives.
Logan also allegedly lied about where he was at the time that the teenagers disappeared.
He told investigators that he was picked up by a friend around 2pm on 13 February and driven to an aquarium store, returning hours later at around 5pm, the document states.
The friend confirmed the alibi – before admitting two days later that Logan had made up the story and asked him to lie.
Instead, cellphone location data placed Mr Logan in the area around the trail at the time Abby and Libby disappeared.
The document also says that his voice was “not inconsistent” with the man captured in the video by Libby.
Logan was never charged and he died in 2020, before the case was solved.
It is not clear if Mr Allen has any connection to Logan or Kline.
In another twist in the case, attorneys for Mr Allen made the bombshell claim that Libby and Abby in September 2023 that the teenagers were killed as part of a “ritualistic sacrifice” at the hands of a white nationalist cult.
In sensational court documents, filed in September 2023, attorneys for the 50-year-old accused killer claim that the brutal 2017 murders were carried out by members of a pagan Norse religion and white nationalist group called Odinists.
“Members of a pagan Norse religion, called Odinism, hijacked by white nationalists,ritualistically sacrificed Abigail Williams and Liberty German,” state the documents, seen by The Independent.
The nature of the crime scene pointed to the work of a cult from the get-go, according to the bombshell 135-page document.
Libby and Abby’s bodies had both been staged with tree branches and sticks across their bodies in the shape of pagan symbols, the documents state – which “resembled possible Odinism signatures left behind at the crime scene”.
While his defence attorneys claim Mr Allen has no connection to any pagan cult, the bombshell documents take the extraordinary step of naming four apparent Odinites as potential suspects in the killings. The Independent is not naming these individuals – none of whom have ever been named by law enforcement as suspects or persons of interest in the case.
When is Richard Allen’s trial?
Mr Allen’s trial was slated to begin on 24 January 2024.
It has now been pushed back until 15 October 2024, after Mr Allen’s attorneys dramatically quit the case in October 2023 amid a scandal over the leak of graphic crime scene photos.
The graphic images began circulating online earlier in the month and, in a bombshell twist, it emerged that the leak originated from a man close to the defence team representing Mr Allen.
The man was a close friend of one of Mr Allen’s attorneys and previously worked as an employee at his law firm.
However, he had never worked on the Delphi case and left the firm years ago. The individual died by suicide after a police investigation into the leak was launched.
At the start of a court hearing to address the leak, attorneys Andrew Baldwin and Bradley Rozzi told the court that they were quitting the case.
While the two attorneys voluntarily withdrew from the case, they have since claimed that Judge Fran Gull “coerced” them to quit in a what they described as a “pre-meditated ambush”.
They asked to remain on the case representing Mr Allen pro bono – a request which was denied by the judge.
Now, the attorneys have filed a motion calling for the judge to be removed from the case.
New civil attorneys for Mr Allen are also calling on the Indiana Supreme Court to intervene in the high-profile case and demanding that a trove of more than 100 documents be unsealed.