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

A bullet found near the bodies of two teenage girls who were murdered in Delphi, Indiana, was linked to a gun belonging to the suspect in their 2017 deaths, newly unsealed court documents have revealed.

An analysis conducted on a .40 caliber handgun owned by Richard M. Allen, 50, determined that an unexpended .40 caliber bullet was found among the bodies of the victims: Abigail «Abby» Williams, 13, and Liberty «Libby» German. , 14, was allegedly shot with the gun, according to a probable cause affidavit released Tuesday.

Investigators believe that on February 13, 2017, 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 they encountered a man on the southeast side of the 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 man dressed in a dark jacket and jeans walking behind one of the victims.

“When the male subject approaches Victim 1 and Victim 2, one of the victims mentions ‘weapon,’” according to the document. “Near the end of the video, a man is seen and heard telling the girls, ‘Guys, down the hill.’ The girls then start down the hill and the video ends.»

The man is believed to have forced the victims down the hill to where they were killed, the affidavit says.

The girls were found in a woods near the trail on February 14, 2017, with an unexpended .40 caliber round between their bodies, within a few feet of each of them, the document says. Clothing belonging to the victims was also discovered in Deer Creek, just south of where they were found.

Investigators believe Allen is the man in the victim’s video, according to the affidavit, and that at least three other witnesses they interviewed saw him in the area and described a man dressed similarly to the man in the video.

Allen said during an interview that he was out on the trails on Feb. 13 around 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and saw three girls before going to the Upper Monon Bridge to look at 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 road after 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, wearing «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 unexpended .40 caliber round found near the girls’ bodies was fired from Allen’s pistol, according to the document.

Investigators determined that Allen purchased the firearm in 2001 and said no one else used or borrowed it, according to the affidavit. Allen was unable to explain why the unspent round was found by the victims’ bodies, and although he admitted to 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 October 31. He is being held without bond at the White County Jail.

Abby and Libby disappeared in 2017 while walking in their hometown of Delphi, about 60 miles northwest of Indianapolis. Their disappearances have baffled the community and online crime detectives for years.

“Today is not a day to celebrate,” Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said at the time of the arrest, adding that the arrest is “an important step in reaching a conclusion in this complex and challenging investigation. long term».

State police have released incremental details since investigations began after the February 2017 slayings. Public and media requests for additional information were granted Tuesday by Allen County Judge Fran Gull’s order, which released the affidavit drawn up at Allen’s arrest.

In his ruling, Gull wrote that «the public interest is not served by denying access» to the documents and that the safety of witnesses and Allen’s personal information could be protected by expunging parts of the records.

marin scott Y The Associated Press contributed.