The family of one of the Delphi victims has revealed that they had a chilling encounter with the man accused of her murder as they learned that he had been “hiding in plain sight” the whole time.
Mike and Becky Patty, the grandparents of victim Libby German, told reporters after Monday’s press conference that they remembered suspected killer Richard Allen serving them one time in the local CVS where he worked.
The family was printing photos of Libby and her friend Abby Williams for their funerals at the store when Mr Allen, a trained pharmaceutical technician who worked in the store in the heart of the small town of Delphi, assisted them in processing the photos. He didn’t charge them for the images when they went in to collect them.
Aside from that, the family members said they didn’t know Mr Allen but – in a close-knit town of just 3,000 people – had likely encountered him on other occasions over the last five years.
“As [Indiana State Police Supt] Doug Carter said that earlier, if you recall. He said he’s hiding in plain sight,” said Mr Patty.
“And that’s the case. Didn’t know, I don’t know the gentleman personally at all. I’ve probably seen him. It’s a small county. But definitely I don’t know him.”
When asked if he had anything to say to the man now believed to have murdered his granddaughter, Mr Patty said: “No, I’ll save that for when I see him face to face.”
In a press conference on Monday, Indiana State Police announced that Mr Allen, a local Delphi man and married father to an adult daughter, had been charged with the 2017 murders Libby, 14, and her best friend Abby Williams, 13.
Mr Allen was taken into custody on Wednesday before being formally charged with two counts of murder on Friday.
The 50-year-old has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is being held without bond. A pre-trial hearing has been preliminarily scheduled for January with a trial date set for March.
Libby’s grandmother said that the families learned about the arrest on Wednesday, explaining that she expected to feel differently about a breakthrough in the case after having no answers or justice for over five years.
“We were called in on Wednesday to tell us they had detained somebody, so we’ve had a couple more days to process this,” said Ms Patty.
“I don’t feel like I thought I would. I’ve always said that I would be screaming on the rooftop. We’re not. It’s sad.
“While there’s somebody that’s been arrested, our lives for five and a half years have been in a search mode and that’s what we’ve done. We’re not doing that anymore.”
She added that they are trying to determine how to navigate what to do now.
“So we’re all just kind feeling our way and figuring out what our purpose is now. What do we do next. How do we help,” she said.
Mr Patty added that news of the arrest was “somewhat bittersweet... knowing it allows us to move to the next turn, the next chapter.
“We’ve still got, now we’ve got a big mountain ahead of us. And we’re going to stay after it. We have never given up. And you guys have not given up on us. We’re going to keep pushing all the way,” he said.
The couple, who raised Libby for many years, said they wanted the media to keep attention on the case as the state moves forward with the charges against Mr Allen.
They echoed law enforcement officials in urging members of the public to continue to submit tips – not only about Mr Allen but about any other information regarding the case.
This comes as officials would not rule out the possibility that other individuals were also involved in the teenagers’ brutal murders.
On 13 February 2017, Libby, 14, and Abby, 13, set off on a hike along the Monon High Bridge Trail in their hometown of Delphi.
During the walk, Libby posted a photo of her best friend walking along the Monon High Bridge. It was the last known photo of Abby before she was killed.
Later that day, the teenagers were reported missing when they failed to return to a spot where a family member was picking them up.
The next day – Valentine’s Day 2017 – their bodies were discovered in a wooded area around half a mile off the trail.
Their cause of death has never been released.
Investigators have long been searching for a man captured on Libby’s cellphone before she died.
A grainy video shows a man dressed in blue jeans, a blue jacket and a cap walking along the abandoned railroad bridge.
Investigators released a still image from the video and a chilling audio of the man telling the two girls: “Go down the hill.”
Two police sketches have also been released over the years – one in 2017 and one in 2019.
The images bear a likeness to Mr Allen.
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.
The disturbing December 2017 selfie of Mr Allen had been posted the same month that 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.
In what was one of the biggest updates in the case to date, Indiana State Police announced that officials had “uncovered” a fake online profile called @anthony_shots which had been used to communicate with at least one of the victims around the time of their deaths.
The profile was used from 2016 to 2017 on platforms including Snapchat and Instagram and used photos of a known young male model – who has no ties to the account or the case.
Investigators said the person behind the account was Kegan Anthony Kline, 27-year-old man with addresses in Kokomo and Peru, close to Delphi.
Kline admitted to authorities that he used the account to groom underage girls online and get them to send nude photos and their addresses and try to get them to meet him. He allegedly admitted to receiving about 100 sexual photos and about 20 sexually explicit videos from around 15 underage girls.
Kline was arrested on 30 felony charges including child sexual abuse images and child exploitation in 2020.
According to an affidavit, Indiana State Police and the FBI had executed a search warrant at his home in Peru on 25 February 2017 - less than two weeks after Abby and Libby were murdered.
Kline denied any knowledge or involvement in the two teenagers’ deaths and he has not been charged in the case.
However, the account remained of interest to investigators who 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, police had zeroed in on local man Ronald Logan, according to a search warrant application filed in 2017 before being obtained by podcast The Murder Sheet and shared with The Independent this May.
The partly redacted document reveals law enforcement wanted to search Mr Logan’s home which was just 1,400 feet from where the girls’ bodies were found.
Mr Logan had allegedly lied about where he was at the time that the teenagers disappeared, claiming he was out of the area with a friend when cellphone location data actually placed him in the area around the trail.
Mr Logan was never charged and he died in 2020.