DELPHI, Ind. — The news of an arrest made in connection with the murders of Abby Williams and Libby German spread around the small town like wildfire.
“I literally just found out like five minutes ago,” Lisa Bridwell said. “It’s about time.”
Many residents told FOX59 hearing of an arrest brought forth a mix of emotions, but mostly a sweeping sense of relief.
“We’ve spent time with both of the families and love them both very dearly. So, to see this hopefully come to a close for them, it’s just an amazing thing,” said Audrey Wardrip. “It is a small community, and you know these families and you love these families and whether you’re their best friends or not, there’s still a part of you and you feel that sadness and that hurt for them.”
The community has rallied to support the families of Abby and Libby for nearly six years, but Wardrip said it was the girls’ families, who have been the true pillar of strength through it all.
“Despite their grief, and maybe they found that in their grief, to never give up and never quit. I mean they have built softball fields to bring awareness to their children and it’s just a beautiful thing that they are just so strong,” said Wardrip.
On Friday, people called and texted everyone they knew and told whoever they could. Garry Williams got an urgent message from his wife as he pulled into town to get lunch.
“It makes you realize it can happen anywhere,” said Garry Williams. “It can happen to anyone.”
For so many, what they felt when they heard these little girls might get justice was palpable.
“Chills all over my body, like ecstatic,” said Brandi Crist. “Finally, some closure for the families.”
“I hope that gives them closure and I hope that it is the person that gives them closure,” said Brick & Mortar Pub manager, Chandler Underhill.
Laura Greene owns the Urban Chique boutique in town and said it’s all her customers were talking about.
“We are very happy. We are very happy as a community,” Greene said. “We can all put this behind us and I’m very happy for the family.”
The murders have consumed this small town for nearly six years.
“It was shocking that it could happen in a place like this,” Williams said.
Underhill added, “Any time anyone new came by they’d ask about it.”
Greene said the community hasn’t been the same since the murders and she doesn’t know if it ever will be.
“It’s had a big effect,” Greene said. “I mean in the beginning we didn’t trust people we were always looking behind our back.”
For many we spoke to, the worst revelation today was that the suspect was one of their own.
“For those of us who came in contact with this suspect it’s kind of eerie,” Greene said.
“When do you hear of where they worked and how close they were it’s kind of like whoa, right here at our back door,” said Wardrip. “Kind of a terrifying feeling.”
“It’s scary that it really could be someone that you did know. Like they always say, it could be your neighbor or it could be someone that you know, but then you’re like no and when you find out it’s true, it’s kind of scary,” said Underhill.
Underhill said he recognized Allen as a fairly frequent customer of the pub he manages.
“I would talk; he wouldn’t say much. He seems like a normal guy,” said Underhill. “One of my servers was telling me that he wouldn’t speak much.”
Underhill also shared that Allen worked locally and interacted with community members frequently.
“When I will go into CVS as a customer myself, he would say do you need any help? I would be like no,” said Underhill. “Just like a normal guy that I’ve seen for the last couple years, not really thinking anything.”
Residents said they hope that this will be the start of being able to move forward for the community.
“It’s like a weight has been lifted off of everybody,” Bridwell said. “I think everybody’s just gonna be really happy.”
However, so many people know, for the families of Abby Williams and Libby German that closure may never come.
“It doesn’t heal the hurt or, you know, change anything for the families, but maybe this will bring some sort of ease to them,” said Wardrip.
“The people who knew the girls will never be totally over it I’m sure,” Williams said.
Both families are expected to speak at a news conference with Indiana State Police on Monday morning.