Man accused of sexually assaulting girl, 9, could be linked to 2017 murders

 Man accused of sexually assaulting girl, 9, could be linked to 2017 murders

Authorities are looking into whether an Indiana man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl might be connected to the 2017 killings of two teenagers in the state, according to reports on Wednesday.

James Chadwell II, 42, was arrested in Lafayette on April 19, after police found the child locked in his basement, about an hour after she went missing, the Journal & Courier reported.

Prosecutors allege Chadwell lured her into his home with the promise that she could pet his dog — and then beat, strangled and sexually assaulted her.

The incident took place about 20 miles from Delphi, where 13-year-old Abigail “Abby” Williams and 14-year-old Liberty “Libby” German were murdered on Feb. 13, 2017.

April 22, 2019 file photo, Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter speaks during a news conference on an update on the Delphi murders investigation, in Delphi, Ind.
Four years after two teenage girls were killed in northern Indiana during a winter hiking trip. Authorities say they are still “diligently” investigating the unsolved slayings and seeking more tips.
Nikos Frazier/Journal & Courier via AP File

Investigators believe the eight-graders were abducted by their killer while walking on a local hiking trail. Their bodies were discovered the next day in woods not far from the trail.

Delphi homicide suspect
No arrests have been made in the four years since the murders of Abigail “Abby” Williams and Liberty “Libby” German.
Indiana State Police

No arrests have been made or suspects named in the four years since, and details of how the girls died and their injuries have never been released to the public.

Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby told ABC News on Wednesday that there are “several factors” leading authorities to look for possible links between the two cases — but wouldn’t divulge any details.

Leazenby said investigators are “looking into” Chadwell to see if their might be a connection.

“The information has obviously been shared with us and our investigators are looking into him,” he told local outlet WRTV.

Chadwell isn’t the first alleged kidnapper who has been probed as a person of interest in the Delphi murders. None of the others became official suspects.

He has been charged with with attempted murder, child molesting, attempted child molesting, kidnapping, criminal confinement, battery resulting in serious bodily injury and strangulation.

Capt. David Bursten of the Indiana State Police is joined by law enforcement officials from numerous departments to provide the latest details of the investigation into the murders of Liberty German and Abigail Williams Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017
Capt. David Bursten of the Indiana State Police is joined by law enforcement officials from numerous departments to provide the latest details of the investigation into the murders of Liberty German and Abigail Williams on Feb. 22, 2017.
John Terhune/Journal & Courier via AP