Lafayette, Indiana: On April 19, at approximately 7 pm, the parents of a 9-year-old girl reported that she had been missing for about 30 minutes.
Officers reported that they were told a resident had seen the girl during the time that she was reported missing, but that she had since departed from his residence. A short time later, officers spoke with 42-year- old James Brian Caldwell II and requested permission to search his residence. A short time later, officers found her inside a locked basement room.
She was found with bruises and what appeared to be a dog bite on one of her legs. When taken to the hospital for treatment, she allegedly told investigators that Caldwell had lured her into his home by offering to let her pet his dogs, but then attacked her, strangling her to the point that she lost consciousness. She said that when she came to she was missing most of her clothing.
Caldwell has been charged with attempted murder, child molestation, attempted child molestation, kidnapping, criminal confinement, battery resulting in serious bodily injury and strangulations. He remains in custody at the Tippecanoe County Jail.
Investigators though, are looking into whether or not Caldwell may be the suspect that they have been seeking for four years in an unsolved murder case involving two 8th graders.
On February 13, 2017 Abigail Joyce Williams, 13, and Liberty Rose Lynn German, 14, were walking dropped off at 1:35 pm by German's legal guardian to along Deer Creek near the Monon High Bridge in Delphi, Indiana. They were to meet back up with him at 3:15 pm at the parking lot.
They never made it to that meeting.
By 5 pm that evening the families were out searching and by 6 pm they had been joined by much of the town of 3,000. It was not until the following day at about noon that their bodies were found approximately half a mile off of the trail, down a steep embankment.
Investigators state that the investigation is ongoing, but have been careful to not release details related to the deaths of the girls.
Carroll County Sheriff Tobe Leazenby told local reporters that Chadwell had caught their attention and they were "looking into" him further for possible ties to the 2017 murders.
"The information [regarding Caldwell] has been shared with us and our investigators are looking into him," he said.
Liberty's sister though, is advising caution for those that may be new to the case. “Our family sees every single person that’s put out there, and they’re sent to us every day, and that’s just another person we think could be him, and we find out he’s not and are just heartbroken again,” Kelsi German said to WISH TV.
“It’s happened many, many other times, too, and, unfortunately, sometimes when people see that they say, ‘This guy’s been caught,’ ‘It has to be that person,’ and that’s just not the case. It can’t be that way with every single person that has committed a crime,” she said.
Anyone with information related to the case of Abby and Liberty are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (844) 459-5786.
Caldwell has had numerous brushes with the law in the past, many of the instances related to criminal trespass, intoxication, and battery resulting in serious bodily injury. His court records date back to 1998 when he was charged with illegal possession of alcohol.
A pretrial conference has been scheduled for July 16, 2021 with his jury trial scheduled to begin on August 10, 2021.