Richard Allen charged with murder of two teenage girls who died hiking in Indiana

A man has been charged with the murder of two teenage girls in Indiana five years ago, US police have said.

Richard Allen, 50, was arrested last Wednesday over the killings of Liberty German, 14, and Abigail Williams, 13, who died while hiking during a day off school.

On 13 February 2017, a relative of one of the girls dropped them off at a trail near the Monon High Bridge just outside their hometown of Delphi, about 60 miles (97km) northwest of Indianapolis.

They were reported missing that evening after they failed to appear at a predetermined meeting place.

The following day the youngsters' bodies were found in a rugged area near the trail.

Their deaths were ruled a double homicide, but more than five years after the killings, police have not disclosed how the girls died or described what evidence they had in the case.

Allen, from Delphi, was formally charged with two counts of murder on Friday.

He is being held without bond at the White County Jail.

Carroll County prosecutor Nicholas McLeland said of Allen: "It's concerning that he's a local guy."

Allen entered a not-guilty plea at his initial hearing on Friday.

"We haven't closed the door on the investigation," Mr McLeland said when asked if authorities were investigating other people.

"We're not presuming anything at this point."

Within days of the killings, investigators released two grainy photos of a suspect walking on the abandoned railroad bridge the girls had visited, and an audio recording of a man, believed to be the suspect, saying "down the hill".

Authorities later released two sketches of the suspected killer, including one in April 2019 based on video from Liberty's mobile phone that is believed to be more accurate than a sketch released in July 2017.

Police also released footage in April 2019 that showed the man suspected of killing the teens walking on the abandoned railroad bridge the girls had visited.