Indiana man charged with beating girlfriend to death, dumping body

Indiana man on probation for beating ex-girlfriend, charged with beating girlfriend to death

GARY, Ind. — An Indiana man on probation for beating an ex-girlfriend is accused of killing his girlfriend and dumping her body in a forest preserve.

James McGhee, 38, is accused of beating 27-year-old Sidne-Nichole Buchanan to death in his Gary apartment. He then dumped her body in a Chicago-area forest preserve, The Chicago Sun-Times reported, citing the Lake County State's Attorney's Office.

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McGhee was arrested Wednesday on a murder charge, WGN-TV reported. He's being held without bail at the Lake County jail.

Buchanan was last seen alive with McGhee at a concert in Tinley Park, Illinois on July 27. Later that evening, McGhee allegedly saw that Buchanan, who he had been dating for three months, received a phone call from an "on-again, off-again" boyfriend. The man called back and allegedly spoke with McGhee, and said he heard Buchanan's "slurred" voice in the background, according to court documents.

McGhee then went through Buchanan's phone and found sexually explicit pictures of her with another man, court documents said.

Authorities believe McGhee beat Buchanan unconscious later that night and killed her, per court documents.

The morning of July 28, McGhee allegedly called a friend and asked for a ride to the forest preserve in Cook County, Illinois. Court documents state McGhee had put Buchanan's body in a suitcase and dumped it at the preserve.

McGhee allegedly showed the friend a picture of Buchanan and said, "I beat her up bad. This is when she was living."

Police found Buchanan’s body in a small hole along a row of trees near a clearing, the documents state.

McGhee told police he dropped Buchanan off at her Gary home after the concert, and that she was highly intoxicated.

He was on his way to turn himself in when he was arrested, said McGhee's attorney, Jamise Perkins.

"He's always maintained his innocence," Perkins said. "I think he's just looking forward to his day in court."

McGhee is currently on probation for beating a 25-year-old pregnant woman in 2017, causing her to lose three of the four fetuses she was carrying, The Times of Northwest Indiana reported.

He was accused of kidnapping that woman a few months later and holding her and her young son against their will, despite a no-contact order, according to the Times. He pleaded guilty to felony intimidation in 2018 and was sentenced to three years of probation. In a plea deal, prosecutors dropped all remaining charges in both cases.