Friday, May 13, 2011
Skyler Kauffman case on Jane Velez-Mitchell (transcript, video)
She was reported missing at 7:11 pm and was last seen at 5:00 pm. Her shoe (an UGG clog) was later found in the apartment complex’ basement near a large pool of blood. During an extensive search for Skyler, a detective noticed a young man who lived in the complex who had blood on his sneaker. The alert detective spoke to the man and requested that he be allowed to search through his apartment. The man was 24-years-old, James Lee Troutman and he lived in Apartment #33 of the same complex. Troutman agreed and the detective entered his apartment.
Detectives discovered blood stained clothing in a hamper and saw that Troutman had been in the apartment with his fiancée, Heather Clemens. Meanwhile, detectives traced the trail of blood from the apartment complex’ basement to a comforter buried under trash in a nearby dumpster. The comforter contained the gruesome discovery of Skyler Kauffman’s dead body.
During the investigation and through questioning of Troutman’s fiancée it was discovered that Kauffman allegedly abducted, raped and murdered the innocent 9-year-old girl in approximately 15 minutes. James Lee Troutman confessed to authorities during interrogation and described the horrific crime by saying he snapped. By Tuesday, May 10, 2011, James Troutman would be charged with sexual assault, kidnapping and first degree murder.
Jane Velez-Mitchell covered the murder of Skyler Kauffman on Thursday’s episode of “Issues with Jane-Velez Mitchell.” You may read the transcript from her show below.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A trail of blood led police from an apartment basement to a Dumpster. Inside, they found Skyler`s body wrapped in a comforter. Investigators say 24-year-old Troutman confessed to raping and choking Skyler and repeatedly slamming her head on the floor. Cops found his blood-soaked clothes in a hamper in his apartment.
After throwing her body in the Dumpster, police say the sicko took a shower and sat down for dinner with his fiancee. That`s right, I said fiancee. This fiancee says she heard screams coming from the basement Monday night but never imagined it had anything to do with her boyfriend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My first concern is for the family that had to experience this horrible tragedy at the hands of the person that I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Police were called to Troutman`s apartment three weeks ago after little Skyler and another girl got locked inside his bathroom. Hello! If that`s not a red flag, what is?
Straight out to criminologist Casey Jordan. What do you make of this sicko who cops say has confessed to doing this, and then took a shower and had dinner with his fiancee?
JORDAN: Yes. Clearly, extremely emotionally disturbed. Listen, this guy fits in his behavioral issues and what we`ve learned from his fiancee, really, the profile of what you would call a fixator or preferential child molester. They talked how he was extremely socially awkward. The girlfriend said he has Asperger`s Syndrome.
But really, when you stop and look at her -- I think she`s 20 or 21 years old -- doesn`t she look like a young teenager? And just that we know that he had Victoria`s Secret pictures taped up on his wall in the bathroom in which he allegedly locked these girls three weeks ago. So much of what we`re hearing is really just kind of a trail that leads you back this guy.
The signs were there. And I`m sure the police are going back over that incident three weeks ago and wondering if it could have been prevented.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, they are saying they did nothing wrong. I`m going to get to that in a second.
But first, I want to bring in one of my heroes, Diena Thompson. Skyler`s murder has some striking parallels, tragically to your daughter, Somer. Seven-year-old Somer went missing in October 2009. Two days later, her body was found in a landfill.
Police say neighbor -- yes, a neighbor -- Jarred Harrell kidnapped Somer as she walked home from school. He allegedly sexually assaulted the child before killing her.
Two months before Somer`s death, Jarred`s roommates found a slew of child porn on his computer. They turned it over to police, and they begged cops to do something about it. All cops needed to do was to turn the damn thing on and, bam, there would be your evidence.
Diena, I`m so glad you`re on our show tonight. And every time I see you, I think of your courage in trying to use your horrible tragedy as a force for good. Do you see the same very, very disturbing parallels with your case?
DIENA THOMPSON, DAUGHTER MURDERED: I do. It was a Monday. No reason, no cause, you know, and to rape and murder her and then throw her in a Dumpster, that`s Somer`s story all over again. And Jarred Harrell was 24 when he committed his crime, and my daughter should be 9 right now. So there`s a lot of striking similarities. And I want to say thank you for having me on, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`m always honored to have you on, because we can`t just be victims. We have to get proactive, and we have to learn to spot the signs of somebody like this. These guys even look the same.
And yet, cops believed this guy`s story instead of the two little girls who became traumatized and frightened when they were locked inside his apartment. Why? On the other side of the break, we`re going to analyze that. More details on this horrifying murder in a moment.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Also later, has Casey Anthony`s defense revealed this brand-new secret strategy they hope will get Casey off?
But first, cops say a man admits to killing a little girl. Were the signs ignored by cops?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They locked the door on the inside for themselves. The girls came running out screaming and we are struggling to open our front door, even though he said that was unlocked as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is the fiancee of an accused killer who had a run-in with the child he is now accused of killing about three weeks ago when the child, 9-year-old Skyler Kauffman, and another little friend ended up in his apartment, and the door was locked and they were screaming.
The cops showed up, and they didn`t arrest the guy, because they believed his story that, "Oh, they accidentally locked the door."
Here`s my big issue. This is another case of reactive justice. Why didn`t cops believe Skyler and her friend`s story that he, Troutman, had locked them in the bathroom? Here is the district attorney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is nothing that is of significance that would have led anyone to suspect that this sort of act was a possibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nothing of significance? How about the kids` story that they found themselves locked and they were creeped out because there were semi-naked photos that they saw, that he lured them in because they wanted to use the bathroom?
Are we going to always wait until a precious child is murdered before acting proactively on a sicko in the neighborhood who`s sending off alarm bells, that he is behaving bizarrely? Did the blase attitude of the officers who arrived to scene embolden the suspect go further earth next time around?
Casey Jordan, why couldn`t they have take than guy in and given him a polygraph to see if his story, the girls locked the door accidental, was true? Had they done so, this little girl might be alive today.
JORDAN: I don`t know that the level of detail rose to the probable cause to actually them could have certainly asked him and he might have gone voluntarily.
I don`t know they even asked him to come voluntarily. But neighbors said he was always creepy. I mean, did, they have that sense? It`s unusual. When little girls are playing, for a grown man to say "Would you like to use the bathroom in my apartment."
He offered to show them his bird. He had a birdcage, but I haven`t read anything that says he actually owned a pet bird. All of these details should have made the police really look at him, scrutinize him very carefully. So often, these predatory child molesters do have girlfriends or fiances or wives, because it throws people off and it doesn`t seem to fit what others would expect, but if they trusted the word of these little girls, maybe she would be alive today.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Betty, Ohio -- Betty Ohio, question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER (voiceover) : Yes, thank you, Jane, for taking my call. Did the policeman check now to see if is a predator?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that is an excellent question. Diena Thompson, again my hero, who has turned her horror into something good, cops need to now find out if this guy is responsible for molesting other girls?
THOMPSON: Yes, they do. They do. You know, I think about that often, like how many other children will come out of the woodworks when something like this happens, because I don`t think this is probably not his first encounter in doing something like this, because I don`t think you go from zero to 60 like that. These creeps need to realize that mommas like me are coming after them, and we`re not going to stop until they stop.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, thank God for you, and we want to be there when you go after them, as you always do. Thank you, fabulous panel.