Why The Court Documents In The Delphi Case Are Sealed

For nearly six years the investigation into the murders of two Indiana teens languished, until recently, when police arrested a 50-year-old man and booked him into the Carrol County Jail. For days after that, the Indiana State Police, Carroll County Sheriff's Office, and Carrol County Prosecutor's Office, had been so tight-lipped about the case that it came down to media speculation and digging to determine that someone had even been tied to the killings. On Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, investigators held a press conference and revealed that Richard M. Allen of Delphi, Indiana, had indeed been arrested on two charges of murder related to the Feb. 13, 2017 disappearance and killings of Liberty German, 14, and her 13-year-old best friend, Abigail Williams, per ABC News.

But if the press and public thought they would learn any details about how police tied Allen to the murders or any other pertinent information on the case, they were sorely mistaken. Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter made it clear that investigators wouldn't be providing any details, and to prevent the press from revealing anything about the case, a judge sealed all documents related to Allen's arrest for at least 30 days, according to WTHR.

Two murders, different police sketches, not a lot of information 

On the afternoon of Feb. 13, 2017, Abigail Williams (known as Abby), and Liberty "Libby" German, went for a hike on their day off from school. As they walked along the Monon High Bridge Trail, they posted pictures on social media before suddenly going silent, per Indy Star. They never returned from their hike. Police found their bodies the next afternoon on Valentine's Day, about a half mile from where German last posted a picture.

The investigators later released two very different police sketches of the suspect, one with a mustache and goatee and the other clean shaven. Details of the case were few but what the police revealed indicated that the two victims had lost a lot of blood, that the killer had moved and staged the bodies, and took a souvenir from the crime scene, according to Law & Crime. The mugshot investigators released of Richard Allen only vaguely resembles the police sketches. Allen's face is wider and his goatee is shaggier, hanging down nearly to his chest.

The judge takes an unusual step 

Typically, arrest information — including the probable cause report which briefly lays out the investigators' case against a suspect — is a public record available to anyone willing to go to a county courthouse and ask to see the paperwork. In certain instances, a judge will order these documents sealed. Indiana law falls on the side of keeping these records public, but a judge can order them sealed for a limited number of reasons, per the Indiana Court Times, including, as in this case, if revealing the information could harm an ongoing investigation.

"This investigation is far from complete, and we will not jeopardize its integrity by releasing or discussing documents or information before the appropriate time," Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said during the press conference, according to Fox 59. He added that "today is not the day" the public would learn the "final details" of the case. Allen has pleaded not guilty to both counts of murder at his initial hearing, is now being held at the White County Jail without bond, and will be back in court in January, per ABC News.