Delphi 'Snapchat' Murders: 5 years and 16,000 tips later killer of Abigail Williams and Liberty German 'found'

Delphi 'Snapchat' Murders: 5 years and 16,000 tips later killer of Abigail Williams and Liberty German 'found'
In an update to the Delphi murder, in which two girls, Abigail Williams and Liberty German werekilled, suspect Richard Allen is in police custody (FBI, Indiana State Police)

DELPHI, INDIANA : Almost a day after he was detained in connection with the horrific killings of two teenage girls in Delphi in 2017, Richard Allen, 50, was taken into custody in Indiana after midnight on Friday, October 29, however it is yet unknown exactly what charges he will face. A 2017 police drawing of the alleged killer, which also showed a bearded, ostensibly middle-aged man, has some resemblance to the photograph of a pale-faced, bearded Allen staring straight ahead with a creepily blank expression on his face.

According to the Daily Mail, the bodies of Abigail Williams and Liberty German were found close to the Monon High Bridge Trail on February 14, 2017, after the young girls had vanished from the same trail the day before. The trail is a part of the Delphi Historic Trails in Delphi, Indiana, in the United States. Due to the discovery of a video and audio recording of the person thought to be the girls' killer on German's smartphone, the murders have gotten extensive media coverage over the years. 

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"Abby" Williams, 13, and "Libby" German, 14, were dropped off by German's older sister, Kelsi, on County Road 300 North, east of the Hoosier Heartland Highway, around 1.35 pm on Monday, February 13. In the isolated Deer Creek Township, the girls were trekking on the Monon High Bridge across Deer Creek. Abby was last seen on the bridge at 2.07 pm, when Libby shared a picture of her crossing it. After failing to show up for the meeting with Liberty's father at 3.15 pm, they were reported missing at 5.30 pm. Before contacting the police, the families looked for the girls on their own. Authorities did not at first suspect foul play in the disappearance despite their swift search of the region. This changed though, when the girls' bodies were discovered the following day at noon, roughly 0.5 miles east of the demolished Monon High Bridge, on the north bank of Deer Creek.

The manner of the girls' murders has not been disclosed by the police. A photo of a person reportedly seen on the Monon High Bridge Trail close to where the two friends were killed was first made public by Indiana State Police on February 15, 2017. The grainy image appears to show a Caucasian male walking toward the girls on the rail bridge with his hands in his pockets. The person in the picture was identified as the main suspect in the double homicide a few days later.

The phrase "down the hill" may be heard on an audio recording that was made public on February 22 by police, despite the suspect's voice being muffled. At a press conference, officials claimed that the audio and visual evidence came from German's smartphone and hailed her as a hero for having the foresight and courage to covertly film the conversation. Police claimed to have obtained other evidence from the phone, but they withheld further information so as to "not damage any future trial." By this time, $41,000 had been set as a reward in the case.

Homeowners in central Indiana for long have hung orange lights on their front porches in response to German's mother's request, both to remember the girls and to show that the killer was still at large.

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In order to "honor and commemorate the lives of Libby German and Abby Williams by building a space for the appreciation of nature, art, play, and athletics for generations to come," theL &A Park Foundation was established as a non-profit in August 2017. A location was found a mile north of Delphi, and construction on Abby and Libby Memorial Park has progressed in the years since the girls' death. The NBA All-Star 2021 Legacy Grant was awarded in 2020 to the L&A Park foundation.

Indiana police had interrogated several suspects over the four years since the murders. In the first two months police received more than 16,000 tips and interviewed over 500 people from those tips, but they still had no suspects in the girls’ murders, according to a WRTV report. In April of 2019, police announced that they would be taking a “new direction” in the case with the release of more case materials. The materials included a video in which the suspect was seen walking along the rail line. Further on July 23, 2019, Paul Etter, another person of interest, who was wanted for the kidnapping of a 26-year old woman, was surrounded by police in what was a five-hour-stand-off. Etter died by suicide.  

The police shifted their focus to Daniel J Nations, a registered sex offender from Indiana. He was arrested in Woodland Palk in Colorado in September and was charged with threatening strangers. Nations had expired Indiana plates on the car he was driving which further fanned public speculation. On January 5, 2018, Nations was sentenced to three years of probation for his crime in Colorado but was not released due to an active warrant against him in Indiana. In 2018, authorities clarified that Nations was no longer an active suspect in the Delphi Murders.

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Authorities' 2021 revelation that German had connected with "anthony shots" on social media had given the case, which had drawn widespread attention, new urgency. Police were able to link that profile to a person named Kegan Kline, who was under investigation in relation to a case of child exploitation. Nevertheless, he has never been accused of a crime or mentioned as a suspect in relation to the Delphi murders.

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According to sources, Allen, the current suspect, is in jail and was in court on Friday morning. Allen was transferred to a state prison for his protection and more details about the case will come to light on Monday, October 31.

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