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Lafayette man sentenced to 90 years in attempted murder, kidnapping of 9-year-old girl

James Chadwell II was charged after police rescued a missing 9-year-old girl from his home.

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — James Chadwell II will likely spend the rest of his life in prison after getting a 90-year prison sentence Thursday. Chadwell, 42, pleaded guilty in October to charges including attempted murder, child molesting, kidnapping, criminal confinement, strangulation and battery after a missing 9-year-old girl was rescued from his home.

He will not be eligible for parole until the year 2091 under current Indiana law.

"As I told the mother, what this means today to her and her family, they can go home and tell the child involved in this case that she can rest tonight, knowing she's safe," said Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Patrick Harrington when Chadwell pleaded guilty. "This man will never be in a position to get out of prison or to hurt her again."

Credit: Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office
James Brian Chadwell

According to court documents, the 9-year-old girl had gone into Chadwell's home April 19 to pet his dogs. That's when he attacked and strangled her. The court documents said he then forced the girl into the basement, where he assaulted her. The girl told officers that Chadwell had made threats to kill her if she screamed or told anyone what had happened.

The girl's mother reported her missing around 7 p.m. from their home in the 2400 block of Main Street, which is just west of Sagamore Parkway.

The girl's mother told police her daughter had been missing for about 30 minutes before she called the police. 

Credit: WTHR
A police vehicle sits outside the home of James Chadwell II, where a missing 9-year-old girl was found April 19, 2021.

Police were told that Chadwell had made comments about seeing the child after she was reported missing.

Officers went to Chadwell's home in the 700 block of Park Avenue, which is one minute away from the girl's home. According to court documents, Chadwell told officers the girl had been at his home earlier, but she had left.

Officers continued to search for the girl and returned to Chadwell's home and asked to search it. Lafayette police said officers found the girl in the basement of the home with bruising on her body and a dog bite on her leg.

“The victim fought the defendant, and is a true survivor of this unimageable attack. The family thanked the Lafayette Police Officers for their outstanding effort to quickly locate the victim, and save her from any further harm,” Harrington said.

The prosecutor said back in October that he was glad the guilty plea meant sparing a jury and courtroom from seeing the officers' bodycam video.

"It's so graphic that most people who observed it have sought mental health treatment," Harrington said. "It's disturbing. It's disturbing that a human being could ever treat another person in this matter."

Shay Hughes, Chadwell's public defender, said his client takes responsibility for what happened.

"He owns it," Hughes said. "Our hearts go out to the victim and the victim's family."