Created on Wednesday, 11 May 2011 10:10
A nine-year-old Souderton girl is dead and a neighbor is accused of beating her to death. Skyler Kauffman was abducted after playing with friends Monday afternoon in a parking lot outside the Souderton Garden Apartments where she lived, at Second and Chestnut Streets near the Hillside Cemetery. Her body was found late at night in a nearby trash bin. Souderton Police Chief James Leary says they saw signs of a struggle in a basement laundry and storage area at the apartment complex and recovered bloody clothing and other evidence linking the victim to her killer. 24-year-old James Lee Troutman, an unemployed man who lives in the apartments, is charged with first and second degree murder, kidnapping and rape of a child. He told police he choked the victim and hit her head against a concrete floor. He is being held without bail at Montgomery County Prison.
Skyler Kauffman lived with her mother, Heather Gebhard, and her grandmother, Pamela Gebhard, and she was a third-grader at EM Crouthamel Elementary School. Souderton Area Superintendent of Schools Frederick Johnson said they have enlisted counselors from other elementary schools to make sure their services are available to all students who need them.