A man on probation for beating a former lover allegedly beat his current girlfriend to death after he found explicit photos of her with another man, court documents show.
James E. McGhee, 38, is charged with murder in the death of Sidne-Nichole Buchanan, whose body he allegedly took in a suitcase and dumped in a Cook County forest preserve, the Lake County state’s attorney’s office said. She had been missing since July 27 when she was last seen with McGhee at a concert in south suburban Tinley Park.
A judge signed a no bail warrant for McGhee on Tuesday, according to records. He was arrested Wednesday and is being held at Lake County Jail.
Court documents show that McGhee allegedly beat Buchanan to death in his Gary apartment following the concert and tried to conceal the killing by hiding her body and cleaning his home.
Shortly after Buchanan was killed, McGhee allegedly told someone he thought he “messed up” and wanted to kill himself, the documents show.
McGhee, who had been dating Buchanan for three months, had allegedly gone through her phone after the concert and saw a sexually explicit photo of her with someone else, the documents state. McGhee did so after he noticed that Buchanan received a call from an “on again, off again” boyfriend.
McGhee called the other man and told him he was Buchanan’s boyfriend, according to the documents. The other man noted that Buchanan seemed uncharacteristically “weird” and had slurred speech.
Authorities believe McGhee beat her unconscious later that night, killing her at his apartment in the 1900 block of Burr Street in Gary, the documents show.
When a detective initially visited McGhee’s apartment, there was a strong odor of cleaning chemicals, the documents state. McGhee also allegedly tried to replace a bloody mattress.
The morning after Buchanan’s death, McGhee called an acquaintance and had him drive with him to the forest preserve in Cook County, the documents state. They parked in a clearing near a frontage road next to the Danville exit of I-80/94.
McGhee then carried the suitcase containing Buchahan’s body to a remote part of the preserve, past several parked trucks in some weeds, and left the body, the documents state.
McGhee allegedly showed his acquaintance a photo of Buchanan after the beating, according to the documents.
“I beat her up bad,” McGhee allegedly said. “This is when she was living.”
Authorities found Buchanan’s body in a small hole along a row of trees near a clearing, the documents state. A detective noticed an odor and found her decomposing remains on the ground.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified Buchanan’s body from a tattoo on her forearm, the documents show.
During the alleged killing, McGhee was on probation for a 2017 incident in which he beat his pregnant girlfriend, causing her to lose three of the four quadruplets she was carrying, according to Bradley C. Carter, spokesman for the Lake County state’s attorney’s office.