Crime

Fiancee of Skyler's suspected killer speaks

Wednesday, May 11, 2011
21-year-old Heather Clemens told Action News it chills her to now realize she had been engaged to marry James Troutman. To turn around and here that he did such a horrible thing, I felt like I was living with a stranger, a monster, maybe, even a demon, the former fiancee said.

Action News sat down with the now former fiancée of James Troutman, the man charged with the death of 9-year-old Skyler Kauffman.

21-year-old Heather Clemens says it chills her to now realize she had been engaged to marry a "monster."

"Every time his face comes through my mind all I can see is just evil," Clemens said.

Heather Clemens dreamed of a bright future with the 24-year-old Troutman.

She says there was never a hint, until Monday, that he was capable of harming anyone.

"I couldn't believe it; I just couldn't believe it because that wasn't the person he was to me," Clemens said.

Heather started dating Troutman a year and a half ago and they lived at the Souderton Gardens apartment complex.

RELATED: View the entire interview with Heather Clemens

Police say Troutman took Skyler down two short sets of stairs to the basement where he raped the 9-year-old and killed her.

Heather was in the apartment above and heard screams, thinking they were coming from the apartment above hers.

"It's not unusual to hear screaming, laughter, on the occasion if a child is throwing a tantrum, telling their parents 'no,'" Clemens said.

Clemens says a while later, Troutman returned home and said he had been exercising at the track.

"He was very sweaty and he was covered in what looked like mud to me, dried mud, on his clothing from his chest down to his shoes," Clemens said.

She now knows it was blood, not mud.

The police told her yesterday morning that the man she loved had been charged with murder and rape.

"To turn around and here that he did such a horrible thing, I felt like I was living with a stranger, a monster, maybe, even a demon," the former fiancée said.

Clemens says she believed Troutman when he told her nothing happened when the police came to investigate an incident three weeks ago.

That's when Skyler and a friend told their parents that Troutman had locked them in his apartment and talked dirty to them.

The police investigated and never filed charges.

Heather says she has no words now for Troutman.

"The only thing I want to know is why, but I know, no matter what, there is no right answer; there's no words, I have nothing to say to him," Clemens said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Montgomery County coroner released the official cause of death for Skyler Kauffman.

According to Coroner Walter Hofman, Skyler died of asphyxia and multiple blunt force injuries, ruling her death as a homicide.

Skyler was last seen at 5:30 p.m. Monday playing in the parking lot of the Souderton Gardens apartment complex. Police say her parents became concerned when she didn't show up for dinner.

An Amber Alert was issued but, around midnight, authorities discovered her body wrapped in a blanket and buried in the dumpster.

Court documents say Troutman has admitted to choking the girl and repeatedly hitting her head against the floor.

Those same documents say police found bloody clothes in Troutman's apartment and he claimed he killed the girl "because once he took her down to the basement, he knew she could get him in trouble."

Troutman, wearing a bulletproof vest, covered his face as he entered the courthouse Tuesday afternoon.

Police had to tape off the area outside the courthouse, a street away from the apartment complex, for security reasons due to angry residents.

Heather Clemens says she is most distraught about what happened to Skyler and her family.

She wants everyone to know that if she had the slightest hint that Troutman could harm a child, she would have warned her neighbors and the police.

(Copyright ©2014 WPVI-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
pennsylvania, missing children, montgomery county, child luring, child death, kidnapping, homicide, crime
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