James Troutman: Neighbor charged in Skyler Kauffman’s death

A 24-year-old man is behind bars now after authorities charged him yesterday with the gruesome murder and sexual assault Monday night of a 9-year-old girl in Souderton.

Montgomery County officials allege that James Troutman, 25, confessed to strangling Skyler Kauffman in a basement of the apartment complex where they both resided and dumping her body in a Dumpster.

Police found the girl’s body wrapped in a blanket, hours after her family reported her missing.

Two weeks ago, authorities said, Troutman let Skyler and another girl into his apartment to use the bathroom. When the girls tried to leave the door had been locked, but they eventually got free and police were called, although no charges were filed.

“It’s one of those situations where everyone did what they were supposed to do and unfortunately we couldn’t prevent the death of a child,” Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.

Disgusted neighbors shouted obscenities at Troutman as he entered the courthouse. Souderton resident Emily Hanson said she knew Troutman through a friend and had hung out with him a few times.

“He was kind of an odd one. It surprises me because of how young she was but it doesn’t surprise me what he did,” she said.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 19.


Here’s an account from Troutman’s fiancee, Heather Clemens, according to arresting documents:

» Troutman left the apartment shortly after 5 p.m. Monday and said he was going outside to play video games on his cell phone.

» About 45 minutes later, Clemens heard a female voice “wailing” and screaming “No.” That was followed by “crashing sounds” that sounded “like someone was being thrown to the ground.”

» Clemens called Troutman, who didn’t answer but called back about five minutes later and said he was exercising at Indian Crest School.

» Shortly after 6 p.m., Troutman returned home “dirty and sweaty” with “caked-on mud” on his shirt, shorts, knees, shins and socks. He put his clothes in the hamper, took a shower and they ate dinner.

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