Life cost 27-year-old Sidne-Nichole Buchanan an extreme price as she was murdered by her boyfriend and buried.
Before the tragedy occurred, the mother of two posted a video on social media of herself and the boyfriend, James E. McGhee, 38, attending a Wiz Khalifa concert in Tinley Park on July 27, court records state. Then on July 28, at his apartment, McGhee beat her to death and dismembered her body.
A friend of McGhee told police that McGhee called him that day, took him along to find a location in the forest preserve off Ill. 394 in unincorporated Cook County and asked him to help clean up McGhee’s apartment.
The friend said McGhee told him he “lost it” found out Buchanan was having sex with another man.
Days after the incident, the friend decided to contact the police to reveal the truth. He led a detective to a row of trees and brush that ran parallel to the front road on Aug. 13 in the preserve .
There, the detective smelled the odor of death and discovered human remains in a small void along the tree line. The remains were in an advanced state of decomposition, and a cause and manner of death have not yet been determined, Lake Criminal Court records state.
The man said McGhee’s apartment was in disarray, and he saw blood on mattresses in both bedrooms. He saw what appeared to be a body concealed in black bags near the foot of a bed, became overwhelmed and went outside, according to court documents.
The man told police McGhee showed him a picture of a woman believed to be Buchanan, saying, “I beat her up bad. This is when she was living,” records allege.
The man said he refused to help McGhee clean his apartment at the Concord Commons in the 1900 block of Burr Street in Gary.
Previously, on Aug. 1, when police conducted a search warrant at the apartment, they found no one inside but smelled a strong odor of cleaning products.
Further investigation revealed the carpets in two bedrooms had been cleaned recently. When authorities removed the carpets, they found dark stains under both of them. Tests detected urine in one bedroom, and blood in another bedroom, court records allege.
McGhee was taken into custody late Wednesday in Lake County by the FBI and Indiana State Police, said Chris Bavender, FBI public affairs specialist and McGhee is being held without bail.
It’s not the first time McGhee has been accused of abusing a girlfriend. He is currently on probation for beating a pregnant girlfriend so badly in 2016 that she lost three of the four fetuses she was carrying and kidnapping her and her child several months after the attack.
McGhee had been in contact with detectives at the FBI’s Gang Response Investigative Task Force and Buchanan’s family, according to his attorney, Jamise Perkins.
He was on his way to turn himself in Wednesday night when he was arrested, she said.
“He’s always maintained his innocence,” she said. “I think he’s just looking forward to his day in court.”
McGhee’s initial appearance is scheduled for Friday, Perkins said.