The man now linked as a possible suspect in the horrific murder of two young girls in Delphi, Indiana in 2017, shoved his wife so hard that a permanent impression of her body was left in the wall of his house, DailyMail.com has learned.
Lifelong criminal James Brian Chadwell II, has a history of drinking and violent fights that started when his mother told him her husband was not his biological father, his brother exclusively told DailyMail.com.
Chadwell – who uses the name Brian to distinguish himself from James Brian Chadwell Sr, the man who raised him – is awaiting trial, after a nine-year-old girl was found naked and covered in dog bites in his basement in Lafayette, Indiana, last month.
The girl, who had gone missing from a block party near Chadwell’s home, told police he had hit her several times on the head and then tried to rape and strangle her, and he had forced her to give him oral sex.
Investigators say they are ‘looking into’ James Brian Chadwell II (pictured right in his booking photo) in relation to the murders of two young girls in Delphi, Indiana in 2017. Chadwell was arrested and charged last month after a missing girl was found alive in his basement
Libby German (left) and Abby Williams (right) went missing while walking on the Monon High Bridge Trail near their hometown of Delphi, Indiana, on the afternoon of February 13, 2017. Their bodies were located half-a-mile from the bridge the following day
He has been charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, strangulation and child molestation.
‘He is pure evil,’ Ashley Chadwell, 40, told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview. ‘That is the only way to say it.
‘He calls himself ‘Outlaw’, and he thinks he is this outlaw, always wanting to be Bobby Badass to whoever he can and fight them.
‘But it’s not just a little roughness and then you settle, he’s always been out to hurt people. He wants to break bones and knock teeth out.’
Chadwell’s brother, Ashley Chadwell, 40, told DailyMail.com his sibling has ‘always been out to hurt people’
Investigators are looking to see whether Chadwell could be the man they have been seeking for four years for the murders of Abby Williams, 13, and Libby German, 14, on a trail outside Delphi, Indiana, 20 miles from his home.
He bears an uncanny resemblance to a police sketch of the man they believe is the killer.
Chadwell is currently locked up in the Tippecanoe County Jail in Lafayette. He received minor facial injuries in a fight with a newly incarcerated inmate on Wednesday last week, county officials say.
Carroll County sheriff Tobe Leazenby told ABC News there are ‘several factors’ leading investigators to believe there might be a tie between the two cases.
But he cautioned against doing a side-by-side comparison between Chadwell’s mugshot and the composite sketch.
‘Someone looks like somebody, that obviously does not mean that is the person,’ Leazenby said.
Relatives of the murdered girls are being cautious about the arrest.
Mike Patty, Libby’s grandfather, who raised her, told DailyMail.com: ‘It’s another tip that needs to be followed up.
‘While this guy certainly could be, may be, possibly be, I’ve had 50,000 of those could be, may be, possiblys.
‘We need to continue to convey to people that until an arrest is made, the guy who committed a double murder is still walking around a free man.’
But Ashley Chadwell said that, even if his brother is not the man who killed Abby and Libby, he is still a danger to everyone he meets.
‘He should never see the light of day again – and if he is responsible for killing the two girls in Delphi, he should be put down,’ said his brother.
Four years on, very little is known about Libby and Abby’s murder and no one has been arrested
Libby German posted this photo of Abby Williams on Snapchat as they walked along an abandoned railroad bridge hours before they vanished
The case has long focused on a man captured on camera on Libby German’s phone walking along the abandoned railroad bridge on the day they went missing (pictured above)
‘If they have the proof, he should be executed. I have no problem in saying that about my own brother.
‘I know he is capable of doing it. He has been abusive to people his whole life. He just doesn’t like people. I am sure that if the police didn’t turn up when they did, that little girl in Lafayette would be dead now.
‘He has completely destroyed that girl’s life for no reason,’ Ashley said at his home in Peru, Indiana. ‘There is no excuse ever that would make what he did OK.
‘When I heard she had been bitten by his dogs, it made me almost puke.’
A judge in Lafayette appointed public defender Shay Hughes to represent Chadwell. Hughes told DailyMail.com he did not want to comment on the case.
Chadwell, 42, was born in Kokomo, Indiana, to a mother who was only 15 at the time.
The following year she married James Chadwell, and they went on to have two more boys and a girl.
But when Brian was 12 or 13, he flat out asked his mom, Laura, why he had dark hair and dark eyes while the other three children were blue-eyed blonds.
‘My mother told him the truth,’ said Ashley. ‘And from that day he started rebelling and acting out and running around with the wrong crowd, stealing stuff, fighting. But when he fought it was always to hurt the other person not just to win the fight.’
Chadwell has been charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, strangulation and child molestation
This is the Lafayette home where James Chadwell is alleged to have molested a nine-year-old girl in the basement after luring her over to pet his dog last month
Graeme Goss, 22, a Purdue University senior whose house sits behind Chadwell’s, told DailyMail.com he and his roommates ‘hated’ their neighbor, who he claims always came over to pet their dog without permission
As a teen, he spent time in juvenile detention before being sent off to a boys’ home in Knoxville, Tennessee.
‘I don’t remember exactly how long he was there, but it was a long time,’ Ashley added.
Police listed his lengthy rap sheet on an affidavit of probable cause in the Lafayette case – January 2000 criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon; December 2000 aggravated assault with intent; September 2001 felony possession of a firearm; January 2003 aggravated assault with intent; June 2016 receiving stolen property; February 2020 DWI and resisting arrest; October 2020 criminal trespass.
But his brother said each time he received a ‘slap on the hand’ and was released back to commit more crimes.
‘He has spent more of his adult life in jail or prison than he has on the outside,’ he said.
It was during one of Chadwell’s prison spells that his mother died.
‘She was heartbroken,’ said Ashley. ‘She was waiting for him to get out but she passed away before he came out. That set him off even further.’
At one time he moved to South Dakota, to try to build a new life. Ashley followed him in the hope that he could help him straighten out.
‘He had intended to go to California, but he only got as far as Sioux Falls,’ he said.
A memorial park is now being constructed for Abby and Libby on the outskirts of Delphi
The 21-acre park will have three baseball fields, an amphitheater, concession stand, restrooms, playground and a walking trail
Libby’s grandfather, who raised her, spends his weekends building the park, which he hopes will be completed in time for summer
‘We thought if there was someone who was family with him, we could try to keep him out of trouble. So, I took it upon myself to move there and try to be a brother to see if I could keep him out of prison.
‘But after five months, he was locked back up. While I was there, he wanted me to take my truck and trailer over to his job and load it up with a whole bunch of aluminum and go try to scrap it.
‘Why would I do something like that and put myself in prison because of him?
‘I never wanted to be like that.’
It was in South Dakota that Caldwell shoved his wife Sarah into the wall, leaving the whole-body imprint. DailyMail.com’s attempts to reach her were unsuccessful.
He injured one boy by driving around a campsite at high speed while drunk, his brother said. He was going so fast the boy bounced out of the bed of the truck.
Back in Peru he had four young children in his Mustang when he slammed into a telephone pole. He caved in the whole quarter panel and shoved the axle over two inches because he had been drinking.
Ashley said much of his brother’s problems have been caused by alcohol and other drugs.
In 2019, police revealed a new sketch and video of suspect on the bridge. However, no arrests have ever been made
‘Back in the day he was doing acid and shrooms. He was always trying to find the maximum adrenaline rush.’
But he could have been so much more, Ashley said.
‘Brian had the potential to be anyone he wanted to be, He is a hell of an artist, a hell of a fabricator, builds some of the best sound systems you could ever hear for an automobile. He could have been way better than what he was but after my mom died, it set him over the edge.
‘But that is no excuse. We are all born into freedom of choice and he chose to do what he did, there is no way around that.’
Ashley said his brother was living in Kokomo in 2017 when the Delphi girls were murdered.
He said he was bringing up his three children and didn’t have time to watch much television so never really saw the famous phone video that Libby had taken of a man saying, ‘Guys. Down the hill.’
Even today he says the tape is so short and blurry that he cannot positively identify the suspected killer as his brother.
‘But I know he is capable of doing that,’ he said.
Ashley said he last saw his brother around the turn of the year when his father had to have him evicted from his home.
‘He was causing him so much stress and my father is a six-time heart attack survivor so that’s the last thing he needs.
TIMELINE OF THE DELPHI MURDERS:
February 13, 2017
1pm: Liberty and Abigail are dropped off near Monon High Bridge in Delphi to go hiking on a day off school.
5.30pm: Girls are reported missing after failing to show up at a pre-arranged pickup location. Search teams scour the area for hours but are forced to stop due to limited light.
12am: Authorities say there is no reason to suspect foul play and they are mainly concerned about exposure to the elements.
February 14, 2017:
Search resumes for missing girls, including dive teams and K-9 units.
12pm: The bodies of Liberty and Abigail are located half-a-mile from the bridge.
February 15, 2017:
Police release the grainy image of a man walking on the same bridge Liberty and Abigail were on.
February 19, 2017:
Police say the man in the grainy image is officially a suspect in the murders.
February 22, 2017:
Officials release audio taking from Liberty’s phone of man saying: ‘Down the hill’.
July 17, 2017:
Police release sketch of suspect after witnesses report seeing him Delphi.
April 22, 2019:
Police reveal new sketch and video of suspect on the bridge. They say the killer likely lives or works in the Delphi area.
April 19, 2021:
Nine-year-old missing girl is found alive in the basement of James Brian Chadwell II, 42, in Lafayette, Indiana.
April 28, 2021: Carroll County Sheriff’s Office confirms it is ‘looking into’ Chadwell in relation to Libby and Abby’s murders.
‘I seriously think he was trying to stress him out to the point he had another heart attack. He kept trying to talk my dad into drinking and he isn’t allowed to have alcohol around him.’
After he was evicted, Brian Chadwell moved to a small single-story home in Lafayette – with an elementary, a middle and a high school all within a mile.
It was there that the nine-year-old was discovered in his basement, lured in by the promise she could pet one of his dogs.
In his new town, he still raised eyebrows.
Graeme Goss, 22, a Purdue University senior whose house sits behind Chadwell’s, told DailyMail.com: ‘My roommates and I kind of hated him.
‘He had two dogs and my dog, Xena, gets set off by other dogs, but he kept coming in our yard to pet her. I had to tell him he had to stop.’
But he kept coming, one time displaying his tattoo of a pit bull. ‘He lifted up his shirt to show me – it was very awkward,’ said Goss.
‘He mentioned how he had had such a rough life and that was why he liked pit bulls, it was very strange.
‘Eventually I had to send my dog to my parents because we were seriously wondering if he was going to take her.’
The 2017 murders of Libby German and Abby Williams caught the attention of the world due to a short video clip that Libby took on her cellphone of a man saying: ‘Guys. Down the hill,’ shortly before they were killed.
That short video has been played countless times and has led to dozens of leads – but the man caught on camera has never been apprehended.
Now the focus has turned on Brian Chadwell after his arrest in a disturbing incident just 20 miles away in Lafayette, Indiana.
Libby and Abby went walking on the Monon High Bridge Trail near their hometown of Delphi, Indiana, on the afternoon of February 13, 2017.
Libby posted a photo of her friend on the bridge shortly after 2 pm. It was the last thing ever heard from either of them.
They were reported missing at 5:30 but their bodies weren’t found until the next day on the north bank of Deer Creek, the waterway that the abandoned railroad bridge crosses.
Police have never revealed how the girls were killed.
Before she died, Libby managed to snap a picture of a thick set man on the bridge, police also released audio of a man ordering them down the hill.
Five months after the killings, police released a composite sketch of a man they said could be the killer.
The picture, that bears a resemblance to Brian Chadwell, was drawn up from other hikers on the trail that day.
But the video that Libby had taken wasn’t released until April 2019 – more than two years after the killings.
Investigators cautioned that due to the dilapidated state of the bridge and the fact that hikers have to walk on the railroad ties, the man’s gait may not be his natural way of walking.
The entrance to the trail on which Abby and Libby were murdered is now saturated with security cameras so everyone who enters can be identified. They were added in 2019 as part of a $1.2 million restoration.
And a similar sum is being spent on the Abby and Libby Memorial Park on the outskirts of Delphi.
The 21-acre park will have three baseball fields, an amphitheater, concession stand, restrooms, playground and a walking trail.
Its construction has become a labor of love for Mike Patty, Libby’s grandfather, who spends virtually every spare waking moment working on it.
‘Both the girls loved sports and the arts,’ he told DailyMail.com. ‘The community here has been awesome to us so we wanted to give something back.
‘At first I thought let’s just replace the ball diamond that doesn’t flood like the one in town, but then we got a larger piece of property than we ever thought we could, so it has morphed into this.’
Patty hopes the park will be open sometime this summer.