India Chapman (left) pictured with her mother Schara. India Chapman was fatally stabbed Aug. 31, 2018 in DeKalb County.
Photo: GoFundMe
Photo: GoFundMe

UPDATE: Motive, timeline a mystery in Atlanta teen’s deadly stabbing

Police know how India Chapman was killed, where her body was found, and who presumably killed her.

But details of the hours leading to Chapman’s death remain, at least for her family, a mystery. 

Still, a DeKalb County Magistrate Court judge found probable cause to move forward with Sincere Brown’s case at a preliminary hearing Tuesday morning. Brown, 18, allegedly stabbed Chapman eight times before wrapping her body in a comforter and placing it in a storage container, which police say was then hidden in a shed at his grandfather’s Stone Mountain home.  

Chapman’s family said the two dated, but remained friends after the 17-year-old broke up with him and began another relationship. Brown will remain at the DeKalb County jail and is scheduled for a bond hearing 9 a.m. Friday. 

Brown’s attorney did not return the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s request for comment Tuesday. 

Sincere Brown
Photo: DeKalb County police

DeKalb County police detective Vance van Hees testified that Brown gave police no information about the Aug. 31 crime when he was questioned. 

“He was uncooperative and unable to answer questions,” Hees said Tuesday. 

Hees did not say why the two met up around that time, but Chapman’s family told the AJC the teenager had no plans to see Brown and believes he lured her from the home. Details on what led to the murder have not been released.

The two attended North Atlanta High School until April 2017, an Atlanta public schools spokesman confirmed. Chapman withdrew from North Atlanta High School, where she met Brown, to get her GED at Atlanta Technical College. She'd hoped to fast-track her nursing career. By that summer, the two were dating.

According to India’s aunt Kiante Hill, the teen was still at home when her mother’s nurse left about 9 p.m on Aug. 30. India’s mother was diagnosed with sarcoidosis in her brain 12 years ago, suffering three strokes from the inflammatory disease and leaving her confined to a wheelchair.

Hill said India and her brother left their mother’s home about 9:30 p.m. to go to the store. The two came back and were supposed to be in bed, she said. 

“That morning, the nurse came back to get the mom dressed and noticed India wasn’t there,” Hill said. 


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A rough timeline of events indicates Brown spent the night at a friend’s home before the fatal stabbing, Hess said. Brown later called his mother and told her he “(expletive) up, I (expletive) up. I hurt India,” van Hees testified. According to a police report, that call was made about 5:40 a.m. 

It is not known what time Chapman was killed or when Brown told his mother and grandfather where her body was hidden. 

“All that he would tell her was that he’d hurt India and put her in a shed,” Hees said, adding at some point, Brown was with his mom and jumped out of her car. 

As authorities searched for Brown, his grandfather took police to the shed with Chapman’s body. Hees testified officers searched the Biffle Road home and found a pool of blood next to Brown’s bed and blood on the bedroom door. Small droplets of blood were also found throughout the home, Hess said, along with a bloody rag found in a trash can. 

Hees said police also found two knives inside the home believed to be used in the crime. Wet, bloody clothes were also in the washer in the home’s basement. 

It would be 1:30 p.m. before Brown turned himself in to police, Hees testified. 

Though Brown is in custody, Hees said police still haven’t located Chapman’s phone, which could provide a clue as to why she met Brown that night. 

While no concrete motive has been given, Hill speculated Brown couldn’t let Chapman go. 

“That’s why he kept calling and trying to come around her,” Hill said. “He couldn’t take the break up.” 

Previous coverage:

Teen Accused of Stabbing Ex-Girlfriend to Death, Body Found in Garden Shed

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