Man helped murder suspect James McGee dispose of Gary woman Sidne-Nichole Buchanan's body, court documents say

GARY, Ind. (WLS) -- A Gary man went before a judge Friday morning for the murder of a mother of two who was last seen at a concert in Tinley Park.

James McGhee is charged with murder in connection with the disappearance and death of 27-year-old Sidne-Nichole Buchanan, a mother of two and dance teacher in Gary.

Court records show the victim's mother told police her daughter was supposed to come home after attending the concert with McGhee, but that never happened. Her family reported her missing soon after.

Police said during the course of their investigation, they received an anonymous tip from a friend of McGhee's, who they said helped dispose of Buchanan's body.

The friend told investigators he was with the suspect the day after the concert as he was scouting out the forest preserve area where he said McGhee would later leave her body, police said.

When the friend went back with McGhee to his apartment, the court documents state, the friend saw blood on both mattresses in McGhee's bedrooms and saw what he believed was a body in black plastic bags near the foot of the bed. He then left the apartment feeling overwhelmed.

Later, the friend told investigators McGhee came out dragging a suitcase to the car before they went back the Thornton-Lansing Road Nature Preserve

The documents revealed the friend said, McGhee found out Buchanan was seeing another man and "lost it" and beat her.

The witness then directed investigators to the forest preserve area, where they later found Buchanan's body.

Police did get a search warrant to inspect McGhee's apartment and even called the FBI for help. During that search they found stains that tested positive for blood.

In court Friday, a judge read the murder charge against him. If convicted, he could face a minimum of 45 years behind bars.

"This is very early in the case and again we are clearly looking forward to his day in court but it's a credibility issue and we don't know," said Jamise Perkins, McGhee's attorney.

Perkins said she believes that once all the evidence in the case comes out her client will be exonerated.

A petition was also filed to revoke his probation from a previous case back in 2017, when he pleaded guilty to felony intimidation.

Back then, McGhee was accused of beating and later kidnapping his then-pregnant girlfriend. Under that plea agreement, prosecutors gave him a suspended sentence and placed on probation.

"I can assure you that there is no way that he would have been given a probationary plea if in fact the state was able to prove that he had been responsible for the death of fetus, that he was responsible for kidnapping," Perkins said.

Both McGhee's family and the victim's family were in court Friday. McGee's next court appearance is scheduled for October 10.
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