Pennsylvania Man Dined With Fiancee After Raping, Strangling Skyler Kauffman: Cops

Skyler Kauffman's family called police weeks before girl's murder.

May 11, 2011 — -- After James Troutman allegedly raped and strangled 9-year-old Skyler Kauffman, he took a shower and calmly ate dinner with his fiancee, police claim.

Troutman, 24, confessed to killing the girl Monday night at the Souderton Gardens Apartment Complex in Pennsylvania and tossing her body in a dumpster. He was charged with murder Tuesday.

Troutman's arrest and confession are little comfort to the Skyler's distraught family.

"Last night, while I was having dinner she was being strangled. So where is the justice in that?" Skyler's father, Eric Kauffman, told ABC Affiliate WPVI.

The little girl lived in Troutman's apartment complex along with her mother and grandmother. When Skyler didn't show up for dinner Monday night, her mother and grandmother became alarmed. They called police and an Amber Alert was issued.

Skyler's family had become alarmed by Troutman's behavior as recently as three weeks ago. Police were called to the building after Troutman allegedly locked Skyler and one of her friends in his apartment. The two girls managed to escape.

Heather Gebhard, the girl's mother, told the Associated Press that police "blew her off." Police would not comment on those accusations.

Bloody Trail Led to a Dumpster and Skyler Kauffman's Body

Troutman mentioned the April 18 incident when allegedly confessing to Kauffman's murder, but described the events differently. He claimed that "one little girl accidentally locked herself into his bathroom, she panicked and started yelling and causing a commotion," according to court documents.

Troutman lives with his fiancee, Heather Clemens, at the complex. Clemens came home Monday and found Troutman on the couch, according to court documents. At around 5 p.m. on Monday, Troutman left to play cell phone video games outside, Clemens told investigators.

Clemens said that she heard a female voice wailing and screaming, "no," according to court documents. Clemens also told investigators that she heard "crashing sounds and that it sounded like someone was being thrown to the ground."

Clemens called her fiance and Troutman told her that he was working out at a local track. Souderton Police found a pool of blood in the apartment complex's basement and later found a trail of blood that led from the basement to a dumpster. In the dumpster, wrapped in a plaid comforter, was Skyler.

"That was my sweet pea," said Skyler's maternal grandmother, Pam Gebhard, told WPVI.

When police questioned Troutman, he initially denied his involvement. Police found blood on his right sneaker and a hamper full of bloodied clothes.

Troutman "related a story about going to a football field, doing exercises, getting really dirty and muddy and then coming home and showering and changing," according to court documents.

Eventually, Troutman admitted to strangling Skyler, saying that he "snapped" and it was like a "white out," according to court documents. He admitted that Skyler's head hit the floor "a couple times at least," according to court documents.

Troutman told investigators he killed the girl because once he took her down to the basement, he knew he would get in trouble, according to court documents.

The small town of Souderton is rallying around Skyler's family, holding vigils and creating makeshift memorials.

"What should be done with this guy, you honestly don't want my answer," family friend Seward Foland told WPVI. "She's a gem, you can't condemn her. She's an angel. She's going to be taken care of, that's all I can tell you."