A man accused of sexually assaulting a girl could be linked to murders

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Authorities are investigating whether an Indiana man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl could be linked to the 2017 murders 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 he disappeared, the Journal & Courier reported.

Prosecutors claim that Chadwell lured her into his house with the promise that she could pet his dog – and then beat her, strangled her, and sexually assaulted her.

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

File photo dated April 22, 2019 of Indiana State Police superintendent Doug Carter speaks during a press conference regarding an update to the investigation into the Delphi murders in Delphi, Ind.
Four years after two teenage girls were killed during a winter hike in northern Indiana. Authorities say they are still “diligently” investigating the unsolved murders and seeking further advice.
Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier via AP file

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

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

No arrests or suspects have been made in the past four years, and details of how the girls died and how they were injured have never been released to the public.

Carroll County’s Sheriff Tobe Leazenby told ABC News Wednesday that there are “multiple factors” causing authorities to look for possible links between the two cases – but without revealing details.

Leazenby said investigators are “investigating” Chadwell to see if there is a connection.

“The information has apparently been shared with us and our investigators are investigating it,” he told the local WRTV outlet.

Chadwell is not the first suspected kidnapper to be investigated as a person of interest in the Delphi murders. None of the others became an official suspect.

He has been charged with attempted murder, child abuse, attempted child abuse, kidnapping, criminal imprisonment, and aggravated assault and strangulation.

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

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