Updated: Aug 16, 2022
Sidne-Nichole Buchanan was 27 years old the day of her disappearance, July 27, 2019. She had gone to the Wiz Khalifa Concert in Tinley Park, Illinois. She was last seen at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre at 19100 Ridgeland Ave, Tinley Park, Illinois and was reported missing 2 days later, July 29.
Authorities immediately involved the FBI in Merrillville, Indiana and believed she had been kidnapped and in danger. They began their search and offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to her return. Evidence showed that Sidne-Nichole had returned to Indiana after the concert against her will. Her mother had spoken to her on a video chat from the concert that night and at that time, she seemed fine.
Sidne-Nichole was a dance instructor at Gary's Beach Front Dance School in Gary Indiana teaching dance. She had a large and close family and had children.
She was described as 5 feet 1 inch tall and weighs 135 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a purple tank top dress, denim jacket and clear wedge shoes.
James McGhee, 38, of Gary was charged with First Degree Murder and held without bond. A friend of his turned witness was given immunity in exchange for his cooperation. The witness said that James and Nichole went to the concert. The day after the concert McGhee called him and said 'I beat her up bad'. James wanted the witness to help him clean up the apartment in Gary, Indiana. When the witness entered the apartment the place was in disarray with furniture tossed across the apartment, there was blood on mattresses in both bedrooms and then saw what was a body concealed in black plastic bags. The witness refused to help clean the apartment and stayed outside as McGhee took the body out in a suitcase, The witness assisted in dumping the body. They were driving on the Interstate 80/94 and excited the 394's Danville exit as McGhee looked for a place to hide the body. They hid her body in the Thornton Lansing Road Nature Preserve at 440 Thornton Lansing Rd, Thornton, IL . The witness later took the investigators and showed Detectives where the body was.
James McGhee was arrested August 12, 2019 for her murder.
Authorities believe James McGhee took Sidne-Nichole back to his apartment on the 1900 block of Burr Street in Gary, Indiana after the concert where he beat her to death sometime before sunrise.
It didn't start there for James. In 2017 he only received three years probation in a plea deal after kicking and punching his girlfriend who was pregnant at the time with quadruplets, causing her to lose three of those babies. Police later found her and her 6 year old son in the bathroom of a fireworks stand where James worked. Initially he was charged with kidnapping the pregnant woman, and that charge was later dropped.
October 19, 2020 the judge released James to home confinement with an ankle monitor because the state took too long to bring him to trial. Indiana’s Criminal Rule 4 requires defendants to be released from jail if a trial is pushed back more than 180 countable days, or six months, unless it’s due to the defendant’s delays or a backed-up court calendar. He had requested a speedy trial.
VIDEO OF THAT NIGHT
Sidne Nichole Buchanan March 5 1992 - July 28 2019
Sidne's services were held for family on December 7, 2019 at 11:00 at Christ Baptist Church, 4700 E. 7th Avenue in Gary.
Our deepest sympathies for all of Sidne's family, friends and loved ones. We continue to pray for swift justice in Sidne's untimely death.
James Edward McGhee
Lake Superior, Indiana Court
10/18/2021 @ 8:30AM Jury Selection
10/25/2021 @ 8:30AM Jury Trial
Trial continues this week. We are sharing the update in the courtroom thanks to the Chicago Tribune reporter MEREDITH COLIAS-PETE
'A witness told jurors Wednesday that he unwittingly got into the car of a friend who eventually took a woman’s body to an Illinois forest preserve, then faced the choice of how he could safely report it.'
There is a star witness who was there when McGhee transported Sidne's body.
'In court documents, police wrote Thomas was “overwhelmed” when he realized McGhee allegedly wanted to take the body out of the apartment. McGhee stuffed her in a suitcase and put her into his trunk, according to an affidavit.
They rode to the Thornton-Lansing Road Nature Preserve near Lansing, Illinois, where McGhee already had a spot picked, Thomas said. McGhee left with the suitcase, then returned less than a minute later, he testified. He didn’t see the body at the forest or actively participate, he said.
McGhee mentioned he lost a pair of Apple AirPods in the woods and asked Thomas if he thought his DNA could transfer, because he was “sweaty.” McGhee then dropped him back off at a relative’s house, Thomas said.
From there, it became an evolving question on how he would tell what he knew, he said.'
Tuesday, November 2, 2021, after awaiting approximately 27 months for truth, justice, and a slight hope of peace, McGhee was found guilty by a panel of his peers.
December 2, 2021 at 8:30 a.m. at the Lake Superior, Indiana courthouse he was sentenced to 80 years in prison. His earliest Parole is set for 12/10/2080.
Hopefully, that will be where he takes his last breath. His sentencing was enhanced because of his history battering other women and other criminal felonies. McGhee has never been out of criminal trouble other than when he was behind bars. He was on probation (again) at the time he took Sidne-Nichole's life.
We pray that her family and all those who know and love Sidne-Nicole can find some sort of peace in the Guilty finding and in the upcoming sentencing. No one should ever suffer the hands of a killer, the loss of their own child, their mother, sister or daughter.
Rest in peace Sidne-Nicole.
Sidne Nichole Buchanan
Mar 5, 1992 – Jul 28, 2019