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Bullet found near bodies of 2 Indiana teens in Delphi killings linked to suspect’s gun, officials say

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 male on the southeast portion of Monon High Bridge at 2:13 p.m., the document says.

Liberty German and Abigail Williams.via NBC Chicago

In the video, investigators saw the male 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’s believed that the victims were forced down the hill by the man to the location where they were killed, the affidavit says.

The girls were found in a wooded area near the trail on Feb. 14, 2017 with a .40 caliber unspent round between their bodies, located feet away from each other, the document says. Clothes belonging to the victims were also found in Deer Creek, just south of where they were located.

Investigators believe Allen is allegedly 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 similarly dressed to the one in the video.

During an interview, Allen said he was on the trails on Feb. 13 from around 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. where he saw three young girls before going onto Monon High Bridge to watch the fish, the document says. He later walked back to the trail and sat on a bench before leaving.

Investigators believe Allen was not seen on the trail past 2:13 p.m. because he was allegedly in the woods with the victims, the affidavit says. They also believe he was allegedly seen by witnesses walking back to his car, a 2016 black Ford Focus, with “clothes that were muddy and bloody.”

Last month, authorities executed a search of Allen’s home in Delphi and found a Sig Sauer Model P226 .40 caliber pistol. Analysis performed by the Indiana State Police laboratory of the weapon determined that the .40 caliber unspent round found near the girls’ bodies was allegedly fired from Allen’s pistol, according to the document.

Investigators determined that the firearm was purchased by Allen in 2001, and of his own admission, was allegedly never used or borrowed to anyone else, the affidavit said. Allen was not able to explain why the unspent round was found by the victims’ bodies, and while he admits having been on the trail, denies any involvement in their murders.

NBC News has reached out to Allen’s attorney for comment.

Bullet found near bodies of 2 Indiana teens in Delphi killings linked to suspect’s gun, officials say

Police arrested Allen on Oct. 31 in connection to the 2017 murders of Abby and Libby, who vanished as they were hiking in their hometown of Delphi, about 60 miles northwest of Indianapolis.

The case of their disappearance had 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, adding that the arrest is “a major step in leading to a conclusion in this long-term and complex investigation.”

Allen is being held without bond in the White County Jail. 

State police have revealed incremental details since investigations began after the February 2017 killings. Calls 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.

Marin Scott and The Associated Press contributed.

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AUTHOR : Mirna Alsharif and Marin Scott and The Associated Press

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