Allen pleaded not guilty in a preliminary hearing, according to Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland. He is being held without bond and has hearing dates scheduled for January and March 2023.
Monday’s update was long-awaited for Liberty’s and Abigail’s families, as well as the community of Delphi, which has kept a close eye on the investigation. The teens lived in the tiny town about 70 miles northwest of Indianapolis.
On Feb. 13, 2017, the two friends had gone for a hike on the Delphi Historic Trails and were reported missing by their families when they did not return home that afternoon. The next day, volunteers from the community in a search party found the girls’ bodies in a wooded area near the trail.
But police did not disclose their cause of death at the time, saying only that the case was a double homicide investigation — and the girls’ autopsies have remained under seal.
Police have released a new clue in the deaths of two girls — a chilling recording of three words
Days after the bodies were found, Indiana State Police released a photo of a man they suspected was involved in the killings. The photo, which was recovered from Liberty’s cellphone, showed a man who authorities said was walking on the Delphi Historic Trails and might have “participated in the murders,” according to a news release.
Another chilling detail recovered from Liberty’s phone emerged about a week after the girls were found — a recording of what might have been the killer’s voice. In the audio, police announced, a male voice appears to say “Down the hill.” Officials offered a download of the audio and asked anyone who recognized the voice to send in a tip.
“This young lady is a hero, there’s no doubt,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum said at the time, referring to Liberty. “To have enough presence of mind to activate that video system on her cellphone, to record what we believe is criminal behavior that’s about to occur.”
In an effort to help the public recognize whom they were looking for, Indiana State Police in July 2017 released a composite sketch of what they believed the killer looked like.
Nearly two years passed before authorities released a second composite sketch in April 2019, this one in stark contrast to the first, which they said “more accurately” depicted the killer, the Indianapolis Star reported.
For years, Becky Patty, Liberty’s grandmother, has posted a photo on Facebook every day in memory of the girls, usually with the words “Today is the day” in the image. Those four words have been used by family and community members to keep attention on the case as it remained unsolved.
“Now I sit here not needing to do it because at long last we have a face to go with our monster,” Patty wrote Saturday in a Facebook post.
The next day, she posted a photo of Liberty near a pool, a towel tied around her like a cape with the caption: “Fitting.”
Sarah Larimer contributed to this report.