Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Worst of Everything

It is at times like this that I wonder about the legitimacy of my species. Truly horrible.

Missing Vermont girl found dead, police say

(CNN) -- Investigators have found the body of a 12-year-old Vermont girl missing for a week in a case that led to separate sexual assault charges against her uncle and stepfather, state police announced Wednesday.

Brooke Bennett's remains were found Wednesday afternoon in a fresh grave off a road in the town of Randolph, about 60 miles southeast of Burlington, Vermont. An autopsy will be conducted, but "it appears to be foul play," said Col. James Baker, the director of the Vermont State Police.

Her uncle, Michael Jacques, was arrested Sunday on a charge of sexually assaulting another child. Information gathered in a search of his home led police to the gravesite, Baker said, but he provided no details.

The girl Jacques is accused of assaulting told detectives that he had been having sex with her since she was 9. She also told investigators she had a sexual encounter with the missing girl's former stepfather, Ray Gagnon, in June 2007.

An affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Burlington states that Jacques, 42, dropped Brooke off at a farm in Randolph on June 25. He told investigators that his niece was to be picked up by a friend later to visit a sick relative.

According to the affidavit, the girl recounted how she found a note under her pillow that said she had been chosen to be in a program for sex called "Breckenridge." She was told that her "trainer" was her relative, Jacques. She told authorities that in order to graduate she had to attain a 75 percent on "how you perform."

According to the same affidavit, the girl said Jacques picked Brooke up on June 25 and told her they would be going to a party. The girl told police she understood Brooke would be "taken into the 'Breckenridge' program that day, and that she would have sex with adult males."

The girl stated that she, Bennett and Jacques then went to Jacques' home where the two girls watched television for awhile until Jacques asked Brooke to come upstairs to be with him. The girl said she never saw Brooke again and that Jacques ordered her to lie about what happened that day, according to the affidavit.

Gagnon, 40, of San Antonio, Texas, is also charged with sexually assaulting a minor, as well as a federal obstruction of justice charge. In court papers, federal agents say Gagnon admitted to having sex with the same girl Jacques is accused of assaulting and to keeping child pornography on his computer.

Gagnon told state police that Bennett's computer postings indicated she planned to run off with someone she met online, showing detectives a message he said supported that belief.

But investigators believe the posting was written "to make it appear that Bennett was abducted by someone she met on the Internet," the affidavit states.

Changes to the message had been made by a computer at the Texas home where Gagnon rents a room, the affidavit states. The home's owner told investigators that Gagnon had called him Monday and told him to get rid of his safe -- which the owner assumed contained child pornography, according to the affidavit.

RIP, Brooke. You deserved a much better life.

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