A bullet found near the bodies of two teenage girls who were killed in Delphi, Indiana, has been linked to a gun belonging to the suspect in their 2017 deaths, newly unsealed court documents revealed.
An analysis performed on a .40-caliber pistol owned by Richard M. Allen, 50, determined that a .40-caliber unspent round found by the bodies of the victims — Abigail “Abby” Williams, 13, and Liberty “Libby” German, 14 — was allegedly fired from the weapon, according to a probable cause affidavit released Tuesday.
On Feb. 13, 2017, investigators believe, Abby and Libby were dropped off at around 1:49 p.m. near an entrance to the Delphi Historic Trail. Video found on one of the victim’s phones shows that they encountered a man on the southeast part of Monon High Bridge at 2:13 p.m., the document says.
In the video, investigators saw the man wearing a dark jacket and jeans walking behind one of the victims.
“As the male subject approaches Victim 1 and Victim 2, one of the victims mentions ‘gun,’” according to the document. “Near the end of the video a male is seen and heard telling the girls, ‘Guys, down the hill.’ The girls then begin to proceed down the hill and the video ends.”
It is believed the man forced the victims down the hill to the location where they were killed, the affidavit says.
The girls were found in woods near the trail on Feb. 14, 2017, with a .40-caliber unspent round between their bodies feet from each of them, the document says. Clothes belonging to the victims were also discovered found in Deer Creek, just south of where they were found.
Investigators believe that Allen is the man in the victim’s video, according to the affidavit, and that he was seen in the area by at least three other witnesses they interviewed who described a man dressed similarly to the one in the video.
Allen said during an interview that he was on the trails on Feb. 13 from around 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and that he saw three young girls before he went onto Monon High Bridge to watch the fish, the document says. He later walked back to the trail and sat on a bench before he left.
Investigators believe Allen was not seen on the trail past 2:13 p.m. because he was in the woods with the victims, the affidavit says. They also believe witnesses saw him walking back to his car, a black 2016 Ford Focus, with “clothes that were muddy and bloody.”
Last month, authorities searched Allen’s home in Delphi and found a Sig Sauer Model P226 .40-caliber pistol. Analysis of the weapon by the Indiana State Police laboratory determined that the .40-caliber unspent round found near the girls’ bodies was fired from Allen’s pistol, according to the document.
Investigators determined that Allen bought the firearm in 2001, and he said it was never used or borrowed by anyone else, the affidavit said. Allen was not able to explain why the unspent round was found by the victims’ bodies, and while he admitted having been on the trail, he denied any involvement in their murders.
NBC News has asked Allen’s attorney for comment.
Police arrested Allen on Oct. 31. He is being held without bond in the White County Jail.
Abby and Libby vanished in 2017 as they were hiking in their hometown of Delphi, about 60 miles northwest of Indianapolis. Their disappearances puzzled the community and online crime sleuths for years.
“Today is not a day to celebrate,” Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said at the time of the arrest, adding that it arrest is “a major step in leading to a conclusion in this long-term and complex investigation.”
State police have revealed incremental details since investigations began after the February 2017 killings. Requests from the public and the media for additional information were granted Tuesday by Allen County Judge Fran Gull’s order, which released the redacted affidavit in Allen’s arrest.
In her ruling, Gull wrote that “the public interest is not served by prohibiting access” to the documents and that witnesses’ safety and Allen’s personal information could be protected by redacting some parts of the records.