SOUDERTON, PA – Police have identified the neighbor suspected of killing 9-year-old Skylar Kauffman as 24-year-old James Troutman.
The girl was last seen on Monday as she played with friends in the parking lot of the Souderton Garden apartments where she lived with her mother. When she did not come in for dinner, her mom became concerned and called police. When she still had not been heard from or seen by that night, an Amber Alert was issued and the search intensified.
Sadly, a few hours after the alert had been issued, it was cancelled. Skylar’s dead body was found wrapped in a blanket inside a nearby dumpster. As police began interviewing neighbors, they honed in on one in particular, Troutman, deciding to interview him a second time. That’s when they allegedly spotted blood on his shoes.
Troutman had a prior run-in with Skylar a couple of weeks earlier. She and another girl had used Troutman’s bathroom and noticed naked photos of women on the wall. When Troutman asked if they wanted to see “his bird” they tried to leave but found the door was locked. They were able to get the door open where several neighbors witnessed them running from the apartment, screaming and crying. This was confirmed by several officers and the police chief.
Police believe Troutman came upon Skylar playing outside and took her to a shared storage and laundry area in the complex’s basement. There the girl was beaten during a sexual assault in which she fought for her life. ”It was a horrific, physical assault that left a tremendous amount of blood,” Souderton police Chief James Leary explained. “An autopsy was conducted earlier today. We found that Skylar died from asphyxia as well as blunt force trauma,” says Montgomery District Attorney Risa Vetri. “She had significant genital injuries to her body as well.” Here’s another bit of info I found interesting; Troutman’s girlfriend told police that she heard a child screaming “No!” and a loud crash from the basement.
Troutman would later admit to investigators that he killed Skylar, wrapped her in a blanket and tossed her in the dumpster. But even if he tries to wiggle out of that confession for some reason, Skylar’s fight for her life was not completely in vain. The violent struggle left behind an overwhelming amount of physical evidence that police say they will be able to link to Troutman. ”The son of a bitch is in jail,” Leary said, leaving me envisioning “Dirty” Harry Callahan, on charges of murder, kidnapping and rape of a child.