Affidavit of Probable Cause

On Monday, May 9,2011, at 7:11 PM, members of the Souderton Borough Police Department responded to the Souderton Garden Apartments, located at 203 E. Chestnut Street, Souderton Borough, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, for the report of a missing child. At 7: 15 PM, Souderton Borough Police Officer James Throop arrived and met with the missing child's grandmother, Pamela Gebhard, and the child's mother, Heather Gebhard. Both women stated that Heather's missing child was Skyler Kauffman (age 9) and that she was last seen by family members around 5:00 PM. They looked for Skyler prior to calling police but could not find her. Heather Gebhard stated that Skyler was wearing black pants, a yellow t-shirt, and Ugg clogs.

Officer Throop called for additional police units, and a search of the apartment building and the surrounding area was conducted with negative results. While Officer Throop was on location, he was approached by Waldamar Rios and Elissette Triana. Waldamar Rios relayed that he found blood in the basement and directed Officer Throop to the building where he found the blood. Officer Throop then went into the common basement which serves four (4) apartments. This common basement is located in the east building, and it serves apartment numbers 33 thru 36. When Officer Throop entered this common basement, he immediately observed a large pool of blood on the basement floor and what appeared to be blood spatter on a nearby water heater. Upon further inspection, Officer Throop also observed a grey and tan colored clog, Ugg brand, lying on the basement floor.

The Souderton Borough Police Department and the Montgomery County Detective Bureau initiated a joint investigation into the


disappearance of Skyler Kauffman. Also assisting with this investigation were the Telford Borough Police Department and the Franconia Township Police Department.

Montgomery County Detective Edward Schikel, of the Forensic Services Unit, responded to the Souderton Garden Apartments. While checking the area, he encountered James TROUTMAN, a resident of the apartment complex. Detective Schikel observed what he believed was blood on TROUTMAN's right sneaker.

Detective Schikel and TROUTMAN walked outside where they continued their conversation. TROUTMAN then related a story to Detective Schikel that, about two weeks ago, he allowed two little girls inside his apartment to use his bathroom. When the one little girl accidentally locked herself into his bathroom, she panicked and started yelling and causing a commotion. The police were even called regarding this incident. Detective Schikel advised TROUTMAN he was only interested in what happened tonight and asked if TROUTMAN observed anything tonight. TROUTMAN did not answer this question. However, he then related a story about going to a football field, doing exercises, getting really dirty and muddy and then coming home and showering and changing. Detective Schikel then asked TROUTMAN if he would be willing to assist the police in this investigation, and he agreed.

Detective Schikel then went to TROUTMAN's residence, Apartment 33, and knocked on the door. TROUTMAN's fiance, Heather Clemens, yelled out, "come in." Once inside, Detective Schikel asked Clemens if he could search their apartment for a missing girl, and she voluntarily consented. While looking for Skyler, Detective Schikel observed exercise style clothing which appeared to be extremely saturated with blood


located in the master bedroom closet. Detective Schikel then asked if Clemens would assist the police with this investigation, and she agreed.

Franconia Township Police Detective George Moyer was assigned to search the surrounding area for additional evidence. Detective George Moyer was assisted by Franconia Township Police Officer Kurt DeForrest and Souderton Borough Police Officer Gerald Moyer. At 11 :55 PM, Detective George Moyer searched the dumpster located behind the complex, near 2nd Street. When Detective Moyer looked inside the dumpster, he observed a small pool of blood on the bottom of the dumpster. Detective Moyer attempted to find the source of this blood.

He moved several bags of trash that were located on top of the pile in the dumpster. After Detective Moyer removed these bags of trash, he then observed a multiple colored, plaid striped comforter containing something large. Detective Moyer stated that this comforter appeared to contain a body. He also observed that this comforter was secured by a knot. Detective Moyer utilized a pole to maneuver the comforter in order to see what was contained inside. When Detective Moyer did this, he observed that the comforter contained the dead body of Skyler Kauffman. Furthermore, Detective Moyer observed there was blood on Skyler's body and the comforter.

Montgomery County Detective Lt. Richard Nilsen and Detective Schikel observed the large pool of blood that was located in the common basement which serves apartment numbers 33 thru 36. Additionally, Lt. Nilsen and Detective Schikel observed what appeared to be a blood trail leading from the common basement area to the outside and along a sidewalk heading west towards the dumpster where Skyler's body was found.


On May 10, 2011, at 12:43 AM, Montgomery County Detectives Tedescung Bandy and James Carbo interviewed Heather Clemens, who is the fiance of James TROUTMAN. Clemens stated that she and TROUTMAN live at Apartment 33 in the Souderton Garden Apartments, 203 E. Chestnut Street, Souderton, Pennsylvania. Clemens said that she returned home from work yesterday between 4:45 & 5:00 PM and found TROUTMAN asleep on the sofa. Clemens said TROUTMAN was wearing a sleeveless, red jersey with the words "Nats" on the front, white colored basketball shorts with stripes on the bottom, white socks, and black colored Nike sneakers. Clemens stated that TROUTMAN left their apartment a little after 5:00 PM and he said he was going outside to play games on his cell phone.

Later, Clemens explained that she heard the sound of a female voice screaming loudly, and she described these screams as "wailing." Clemens further stated that this female's voice said, "no" once or twice and that it was, "long and drawn out when she said no, like, nooooooo! while she was still crying." Clemens told detectives that she also heard "crashing sounds" and that it sounded "like someone was being thrown to the ground." Clemens believed these noises lasted about three or four minutes. Clemens estimated that she heard these screams and noises at approximately 5:45 PM. Clemens then called TROUTMAN, but he didn't answer the call, and it went to voicemail. TROUTMAN called back about five minutes later, and he told Clemens he was exercising at the Indian Crest School. At this point, Clemens told TROUTMAN about the screams she heard, and he responded that he hoped "everything's ok." Clemens said that TROUTMAN arrived home about 15 to 20 minutes after she spoke with him by phone. Clemens also explained that, when TROUTMAN returned home, he appeared "dirty and sweaty" and had "caked-on mud" on the front of his body, shirt, shorts, knees, shins, and socks. Clemens said that, when TROUTMAN got home, he was wearing


the same clothes as he had on when he left. She also believed that TROUTMAN may have had a backpack on his back when he got home and describes it as being a thin bag with thin straps, black in color with the letters "DG" in white. TROUTMAN again told Clemens that he was exercising at the track.

Clemens also related that when TROUTMAN returned home, he did change his clothes and put them into a hamper which is in the walk-in closet. He then took a shower, and they ate dinner.

Montgomery County Detective Christopher Kuklentz and Souderton Borough Police Detective Joseph Rudner interviewed James TROUTMAN. TROUTMAN lives at the Souderton Garden Apartments, 203 E. Chestnut Street, Apartment 33, Souderton Borough, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. During this interview, TROUTMAN admitted speaking to Skyler a little after 5:00 PM, but he denied being involved in her murder. TROUTMAN said he spoke to Skyler about the incident that occurred around Easter when Skyler and a friend went into TROUTMAN's apartment to use the bathroom. TROUTMAN stated that there was blood on his clothes but claimed it was from a nosebleed he had suffered earlier.

Later, TROUTMAN admitted that he choked Skyler to death with his hands. He also admitted that Skyler's head hit the floor "a couple times at least." TROUTMAN explained that he walked Skyler into the basement of his building, and, while they were in there, TROUTMAN claimed, "It was like a white out ... " and he "snapped." TROUTMAN stated that, after he murdered Skyler, "I got rid of her. 1 think the dumpster." TROUTMAN also admitted that he wrapped Skyler in a "blanket or something" prior to dumping her body into the dumpster. TROUTMAN also admitted that he lied to Detective Kuklentz about


having a nosebleed. TROUTMAN said that he removed the bloody clothes he wore earlier and put them inside his apartment in a laundry basket in his bedroom. Finally, when directly asked why he killed Skyler, TROUTMAN said he had to "because once [he] took her down the basemen t [he] knew she could get [him] in trouble".

On May 10,2011, an autopsy was performed on Skyler Kauffman's body by Dr. Erica Williams, a forensic pathologist. Dr. Williams opined that the cause of death was asphyxia and blunt force trauma, and that the manner of death was homicide. In addition, Dr. Williams opined that the victim suffered significant vaginal trauma, specifically three significant vaginal lacerations: 1) a 1.25 inch tear of the posterior forchette at the bottom of the vagina; 2) a 1 inch tear of the side of the vaginal orifice; and 3) a 2 inch tear of the other side of the vaginal orifice.

As investigators responded to the report of the victim missing on May 9, 2011 they also reexamined an incident which happened on April 18,2011. On that date, the Souderton Police Department responded to 203 East Chestnut St., Souderton to investigate a suspicious situation. The incident involved TROUTMAN, Skyler Kauffman and a female friend of Skyler's, P.H.

P.H. and Skyler reported they were near TROUTMAN's apartment on April 18, 2011 when they needed to use the bathroom. TROUTMAN invited them to use his bathroom in his apartment, and he led them to it. He told them to ignore the photos posted on his bathroom wall. As the two girls used the bathroom, they noticed photos of naked women posted on the walls. They became nervous by this and hurried out of the bathroom.


Upon exiting the bathroom, TROUTMAN asked the two young girls if they wanted to see his "bird". They declined and ran toward the exit door for TROUTMAN's apartment. They found the door had been locked and struggled to unlock it so they could exit. Once the door was opened the girls ran from TROUTMAN's apartment and contacted their parents.

Based upon the facts and circumstances set forth within this Affidavit, we respectfully request that an Arrest Warrant be issued charging James TROUTMAN with First Degree Murder, Second Degree Murder, Kidnapping, Rape of a Child, Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse, Aggravated Indecent Assault, and other charges as listed on the attached criminal complaint.

Detective Joseph Rudner

Souderton Borough Police Department

Detective Christopher Kuklentz Montgomery County Detective Bureau

Issuing Authority


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful