Indiana man allegedly tries to rape and murder 9-year-old neighbor girl, now police investigating possible ties to Delphi Murders: Report

An Indiana man arrested earlier this month on attempted murder and related charges has landed on the radar of authorities who’re working on solving the infamous Delphi murder case.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Lafayette authorities received a report about a missing child on April 19, near Park Avenue. The child’s parents called for help after their 9-year-old had been missing for around 30 minutes, after 7 p.m.

While questioning neighbors, several of them told officers that the child’s next-door neighbor, James Brian Chadwell II, said he saw the girl after she disappeared. When the officers arrived at Chadwell’s house, he denied knowing the victim’s whereabouts but said she’d been by his home earlier and left.

Police Handout/James Chadwell


Chadwell gave the officers permission to search his home. According to the Journal & Courier, authorities searched throughout the home, including the basement, which had a chain lock on the door. Officers got the door open and heard a child crying from the bottom of the basement stairs.

A little girl, locked up at the bottom of the stairs, told the officers that Chadwell tried to kill her. She reportedly had bruises all over her body, strangulation marks on her neck, and dog bites on her leg.

According to court documents, Chadwell lured the little girl inside his home by offering to let her pet his dogs. During his hearing on Monday, Chadwell asked who he could speak to about a mental evaluation.

The Journal & Courier reports that Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby confirmed that authorities are looking into Chadwell as a possible connection to the Delphi murders, but he has not been named a suspect or person of interest in the case.

“The information has obviously been shared with us, and our investigators are looking into him,” Leazenby said.

Delphi Murders

On February 14, 2017, approximately 20 miles from Lafayette, Indiana, in Delphi, two girls were found murdered near the Monon High Bridge. Libby German, 14, and Abby Williams, 13, took a hiking trip at the abandoned bridge the previous day; the outing was only meant to be for a few hours.

The girls took photos while strolling across the bridge, but as time passed and their family didn’t hear from them, they became worried and called authorities for assistance.

Police found the girls’ lifeless bodies a short distance from the bridge.

After their deaths, the incident was nicknamed the “Snapchat Murders” after Abby took a photo of Libby at around 2:17 p.m. and put it on social media. Detectives said that after the photo was taken, a man approached the girls and apparently told them to “go down the hill.”

Delphi killer composite sketch
First composite sketch of the suspect who murdered two Delphi teens. [Photo: Indiana State Police]
One of the girls, likely sensing danger, recorded the man’s voice on her cellphone. She also managed to take a photo and record a small clip of the suspect. Although his face isn’t clear in the picture, it was enough to give authorities a general description. Since then, they’ve been poring through thousands of tips.

Delphi sketch
Second composite sketch [Photo via Indiana State Police]
Anyone with information about the Delphi murders should call the Delphi Homicide Investigation Tip Line at 844-459-5786; the Indiana State Police at 800-382-7537; or the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department at 765-564-2413. 

Attempted Murder

On Monday, prosecutors charged Chadwell with attempted murder, along with charges of:

  • Child molesting
  • Attempted child molesting
  • Battery resulting in serious bodily injury
  • Criminal confinement
  • Strangulation

Prosecutors filed a sentence-enhancing charge of the suspect being a habitual offender, which could add up to 20 years to Chadwell’s sentence if he’s convicted.

The story continues to develop. Check back for updates.

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[Feature Photo: Police Handout]