ISP Superintendent touts detectives’ work to solve Delphi murders, Washington County suitcase

ISP detectives made arrests in both the Delphi murder case and the Washington County suitcase case just five days apart.
Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 6:14 PM EST
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INDIANAPOLIS, In. (WAVE) - Indiana State Police has made groundbreaking discoveries in two high-profile murder cases.

On October 31, ISP Superintendent Doug Carter had announced detectives had arrested Richard Allen and charged him with the 2017 murders of murders of 13-year-old Abigail Williams and 14-year-old Liberty German in Delphi.

The two teenagers went on a hike on February 13, 2017 and were found dead in the woods the next day.

Five days earlier, ISP Sergeant Carey Huls announced detectives had identified the five-year-old boy who was found dead in April 2022, inside a suitcase in the woods of Washington County.

Huls told reporters the boy’s name was Cairo Jordan.

He also announced police had arrested Dawn Coleman in connection the case and had a warrant out for the arrest of Jordan’s mother, Dejaune Anderson.

This week, WAVE News sat down with Superintendent Carter to gain insight about how ISP was able to make arrests in both cases.

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WAVE News sat down with Superintendent Carter to gain insight about how ISP was able to make arrests in two high-profile murder cases.

“We want to be careful and this isn’t a celebratory time, and I thought it would be quite frankly,” Carter said. “But I didn’t feel that way. I was incredibly proud of the diligence of the commitment of these guys and gals within our agency that, and other agencies as well, that never lost hope.”

Carter said that hope was coupled with good detective work.

He said ISP used every facet of the department to help detectives with their investigations, including laboratory sciences, DNA testing, criminal analysis, technology units and SWAT air units.

Carter said detectives then used human intelligence and civilian tips to fill in the blanks.

“[I saw them do the work] whether it’s a 24-hour all-nighter, 48 hours [and] never go home, 72 hours so tired you can hardly walk,” Carter said. “Oh this happens all the time. Yeah, they happen all the time. So they’re as focused in six months as they were on day one. 2,086 days from the time Libby and Abby were killed to the time we stood in the same place and talked about the arrest. And I’ve been asked many many many times, ‘What did you continue to do to encourage and to keep the wind under those detectives’ sails?’ I said, ‘Nothing. They did it to me.’ They never wavered.”

Carter said detectives stayed focused even as the cases hit dead ends and tips dried up.

He said throughout the process in Delphi, ISP received more than 70,000 tips from across the country and shared resources with police departments across the country, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

ISP also brought in hundreds of detectives from across the state of Indiana.

“I don’t believe in cold cases, because there are still family members alive,” Carter said. “I learned up in Delphi, five years ago, the lead detective Jerry Holeman said to me one day when I asked him, ‘What do you do when you get done with all these tips and there’s nothing else in the file?’ He looked at me and he said, ‘We start all over.’ I’ll never forget it. We start all over.”

Carter said ISP will review the processes from both investigations, conduct a peer review of successes and failures, and use them to help detectives with future cases.

“We can’t just do what people think or what they want us to do,” Carter said. “We just can’t do that, nor should we ever be able to do that. And that’s one of the things I will always remember in both, in Washington County and up in Delphi, the relentless pursuit, just the relentless pursuit. The case became them, it just became them and it was just... gosh, I’m so proud of them.”

Allen pleaded not guilty to murder charges and is currently being held on a $20 million bail in the White County Jail.

Carter said he talked to both Libby and Abby’s family members after Allen’s arrest.

“I did, I did,” Carter said. “It was, frankly, a beautiful conversation and one that I’ll keep to myself. But they weren’t in a celebratory mood either. It was amazing experience to see the human reaction to all this, having seen it from afar, from the cheap seats if you will, and see how they acted and responded. I hope they start to heal.”

As for the case in Washington County, Carter said detectives are still looking for Anderson, but said they will not stop until they find her.

“Oh we will,” Carter said. “We will. Yeah, it’s almost impossible to disappear. It’s almost impossible to do that. So again, that relentless level of pursuit and we’ll find her. It could be in India. It doesn’t matter to me. We’ll send people wherever on the planet. It doesn’t matter.”

WAVE News also asked Carter if he had a message for the Washington County community, many of whom grieved Cairo Jordan’s death when he was first found in April.

“I would tell them that I’m sorry,” Carter said. “We live our lives to protect other people. That’s what we do. And when things like this happen that’s what we’re expected to do, deal with them. But some of these crimes are so unconscionable, and some so deeply rooted in evil, that even we can’t explain why.”

“So, there’s going to be an entire generation that are going to grow up in Washington County and those continuous counties around it specifically that are never going to forget this moment in time,” Carter added. “This wasn’t about a football championship or a basketball championship. It was about a beautiful little boy that was found deceased in a suitcase in rural Indiana in the woods. How disgusting? And I can’t tell them why.”