Lafayette man charged with attempted murder and child molestation

A Lafayette man was charged Monday after a search for a missing child led to his arrest.

Posted: Apr 26, 2021 3:06 PM
Updated: Apr 26, 2021 9:06 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A Lafayette man was charged Monday after a search for a missing child led to his arrest. James Chadwell was taken into custody on April 19 after police, searching for a 9-year-old girl, found her at his residence. Prosecutors say the basement was locked with a chain when police searched Chadwell's house. The girl was found naked, with her clothing on the floor beside her.
She told police that Chadwell tried to kill her. She'd gone to Chadwell's to pet his dog but once she was inside, he attacked her and hit her in the head several times because she was fighting back.
She told police that Chadwell was choking her and putting her into a headlock before she passed out. 
When she regained consciousness, she says Chadwell took her into the basement, where she said Chadwell tried to rape her, before sexually assaulting her another way. Chadwell got dressed at some point, to answer the door for the police.

Prosecutors also say the victim had lateral strangulation marks across her neck, she had broken blood vessels with black eyes, bruising to her head, arms, and legs, and bite marks.

James has been charged with the following:

  • Attempted murder - level 1 felony
  • Child molestation - level 1 felony
  • Attempted child molestation - level 1 felony
  • Kidnapping  - level 5 felony
  • Criminal confinement resulting in serious bodily injury- level 3 felony
  • Battery resulting in serious bodily injury- level 5 felony
  • Strangulation- level 6 felony
  • Being a habitual offender

The Probable Cause Affidavit shows that Chadwell was convicted on January 4, 2000, of Criminal Recklessness with a deadly weapon in Miami County. Criminal history records further show Chadwell was convicted on December 4, 2000, in Pennington County, South Dakota of aggravated assault with intent.  Chadwell was convicted in the U.S. District Court of South Dakota for possession of a firearm on September 17, 2001. Criminal history records further show Chadwell was convicted in Minnehaha County, South Dakota, of aggravated assault with Intent on January 14, 2003. Along with that court records show Chadwell was convicted in Cass County, Indiana for receiving stolen property on June 9, 2016.  Chadwell was also convicted of OWI with a prior and resisting law Enforcement on February 18, 2020 in Miami County.  In addition, on October 13, 2020 Chadwell was convicted of criminal trespass and criminal mischief and would still be on probation in that cause. He was wanted on warrants in those causes after failing to appear. 

As we previously reported, Lafayette Police received a call of a missing child near Park Avenue on April 19. In the probable cause affidavit filed on April 21, Lafayette Police were told that a 9-year-old girl had left her home around 6:30 p.m. It said that police were searching for her in the neighborhood when they went to James Chadwell's home where they found her in his basement.

Chadwell indicated he was recently laid off from Wabash National and was appointed a public defender.
He also asked for a psychiatric evaluation. The magistrate judge said he would have to go through his public defender to schedule it.
He is set to have a pre-trial hearing on July 16th. His bond is set for $500,000 Surety and $50,000 Cash.

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