Police probing potential link between kidnapping suspect and unsolved murders of two girls in Indiana

Sheriff urges public to not jump to conclusions

James Crump
Thursday 29 April 2021 18:09
<p>James Chadwell II in custody.</p>

James Chadwell II in custody.

Authorities in Indiana are taking a look at the suspect in an alleged kidnapping to see if there “might” be a connection between him and the unsolved murders of two girls in 2017.

Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby told ABC News on Wednesday that his department is “looking into” James Chadwell II, who was arrested last week on suspicion of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl.

Police found the girl chained inside Mr Chadwell’s basement, as she claimed that he choked and assaulted her, before committing sexual assault, according to court documents.

Mr Chadwell has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, child molestation, kidnapping and strangulation. He is due in court again on 10 June.

The alleged kidnapping took place just 20 miles away from Delphi, Indiana, where 13-year-old Abigail Williams and 14-year-old Liberty German were murdered back in 2017.

The two girls went missing on 13 February 2017 after hiking in Delphi, and were found dead a few days later near to the trail.

Their murders are as of yet unsolved. No arrests have been made and no suspects have been named in connection to their deaths.

The authorities have not publicly disclosed a majority of the details surrounding their deaths or information about the crime scene.

Although Mr Leazenby declined to go into further detail about the probe to ABC News on Wednesday, he revealed that there are “several factors” behind the department looking into Mr Leazenby.

He added to WRTV: “The information has obviously been shared with us and our investigators are looking into him.”

The sheriff also urged the public to not jump to conclusions about the probe into Mr Chadwell, including any perceived similarities between his mugshot and the artist sketch of Abigail and Liberty’s killer.

“Someone looks like somebody, that obviously does not mean that is the person,” Mr Leazenby said, as he confirmed there is not yet any formal connection between the two cases.

Mr Chadwell is also not the first kidnapping suspect to be investigated in connection to the murders, but so far no one has been arrested in the case.

The Independent has contacted the Carroll County Sheriff Department for comment.

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