Thursday, July 3, 2008

Missing 12-year-old Brooke Bennett found murdered

Body of missing 12-year-old Vermont girl is found By LISA RATHKE, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 12 minutes ago

RANDOLPH, Vt. - Instead of gathering at a vigil to offer prayers for the safe return of a missing 12-year-old girl, residents found themselves mourning the news that her body had been found.

Police unearthed Brooke Bennett's body Wednesday from a makeshift grave about a mile from her uncle's house, ending a weeklong search for the subject of Vermont's first Amber Alert.

"Brooke Marie, I love you so much," her mother, Cassandra Gagnon, said at the gathering later in the picturesque town of a little more than 5,000. "I just ask that justice be done for the person who took my baby away," she said, sobbing.

The girl's father, James Bennett, added, "I know Brooke knows that we love her and will always love her."

As state police announced the grim news Wednesday evening, they said Michael Jacques, the girl's 42-year-old uncle and a convicted sex offender, will face federal kidnapping charges.

Bennett, who had just finished seventh grade at Randolph Union High School, disappeared on June 25 after being seen at a convenience store with Jacques.

Jacques (pronounced jakes) has been in custody since Sunday on charges of aggravated sexual assault against a different underage girl. He has pleaded not guilty. Jacques, who is married to the sister of Brooke's mother, has 1993 convictions for kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault.

After searching in and around his home across town for days, police said they found Brooke's body in a spot where the earth had been disturbed.

"The painful discovery of Brooke's body today is tragic and heartbreaking," State Police Director Col. James Baker said. He called the death "clearly suspicious" but declined to give details before a planned briefing Thursday morning.

In an affidavit unsealed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Burlington, the FBI said an unidentified 14-year-old girl told investigators she was present on June 25 when Jacques tricked Bennett into thinking she was going to a party and took her to his Randolph home to be initiated into a sex ring.

The teenager said she was led to believe Bennett "would have sex with adult males" during the initiation. The 14-year-old said she herself had been having sex with Jacques since she was 9, as part of the sex ring.

The teen, who is related to Jacques, said she and Bennett watched television for a while before Jacques told her to leave and took his niece upstairs. The witness said she left the house with her boyfriend and didn't see Bennett again.

In another blow to the family, Bennett's former stepfather, Raymond Gagnon, was formally charged Wednesday with obstructing justice in the case.

He entered no plea at the federal hearing and was denied bail pending another hearing on Monday. The 40-year-old Gagnon, who lives in Texas, was on a regular visit to Vermont when he was arrested.

According to the affidavit, Gagnon told police he accessed his former stepdaughter's MySpace page from a computer at his San Antonio home after getting login information from Jacques.

Police said they have evidence that postings to the account were altered to make it appear that the 12-year-old had discussed a secret rendezvous shortly before she disappeared.

On that day, Jacques dropped Bennett off at a convenience store, and surveillance video shows they left in separate directions. She had told family members she was going to meet a friend and visit a hospitalized relative of the friend.

At the vigil for Bennett in Randolph — a site that still featured big banners reading "Come Home, Brooke, We Love You!!" — Gary Finch, Bennett's homeroom and math teacher last year, said she was an energetic and enthusiastic learner whom he loved having in class.

"She was always volunteering, always with a smile on her face. Smart, creative. It's a tragedy. It's unbelievable. It's hard to comprehend. I didn't think anything like this would happen to such a great kid," said Finch, one of about 300 people who attended.

Finch said that when school started last fall, Bennett was nervous about transferring from her small elementary school to the high school.

"She conquered that," he said. "She didn't conquer this."


Associated Press writer Wilson Ring in Burlington contributed to this report.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cori Baker Case Updated.

The suspect accused of killing a 13-year-old Tulsa girl last year wants the charges against him dropped.

19-year-old Marquis Bullock was the last known person to see Cori Baker alive. That was on November ninth. Investigators believe he picked Cori up from her school in east Tulsa and later killed her.

Cori's body wasn't found until her skeletal remains were discovered near a paintball field in Creek County on March 21st.

Medical examiners were not able to tell how Cori died because there weren't enough of her remains to determine the cause of death.

Bullock's attorney says police have never produced a murder weapon, there is no confession and none of Cori's blood was found in his car.

Prosecutors will be given a chance to respond before the judge makes a ruling.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sketch released in case of 2 Okla. girls slain

Sketch released in case of 2 Okla. girls slain
Associated Press Writer

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation released this sketch Friday, June 13, 2008, of a "person of interest" investigators want to interview about the slayings of two girls along an eastern Oklahoma country road. a spokesperson said the man was seen standing near a white pickup truck around the time and place the youngsters were shot to death on Sunday afternoon.Authorities released a sketch Friday of a "person of interest" investigators want to interview about the slayings of two girls along an eastern Oklahoma country road.

The man, looking "a little suspicious," was seen standing near a white pickup truck around the time and place the youngsters were shot to death on Sunday afternoon, said Jessica Brown, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

He was described as an American Indian, about 6 feet tall, with black hair and a pony tail. He was driving in a white Ford or Chevrolet single cab pickup with chrome stripping and an Oklahoma license tag.

"We just want to talk to him," she said. "We think he might have seen something to resolve the case."

Several witnesses have come forward, with some saying they saw the man as they drove along the road where the girls were found and others saying they heard gunshots.

"He was stopped on the road, standing outside of his pickup truck doing something," Brown said. "It looked a little suspicious."

Friends and relatives attended funeral services for the girls Friday.

Services for Taylor Paschal-Placker, 13, took place at the First Baptist Church in Dewar. The funeral for Skyla Whitaker, 11, was held at the First Baptist Church in Henryetta.

The Rev. Ron King said Taylor's funeral was "the hardest thing I've ever done in my life."

"Do I have the words of comfort? No, I don't," King told mourners. "They were just babies. How do you make sense of this?"

Investigators say they have no explanation for why the girls were gunned down near the small town of Weleetka, a working-class community of 1,000 people, 70 miles south of Tulsa.

The girls, who were best friends, were shot a number of times in the head and chest with weapons of two different calibers, leading authorities to think two gunmen were involved.

Several motives have been explored, including a random thrill killing, attempted abduction, a case of mistaken identity and the possibility that the girls happened upon a crime in progress.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Time Taken Off

For the few of you who read this blog or just drop in from time to time I just wanted to say I am back. There are times when it becomes so very difficult to be a child advocate espicially when you lose your child to abduction and murder. Last week I visited Andi's grave and it still even after 9 years it punches me in the stomach every time I see that huge headstone. It isn't fair and I miss her like crazy. I always wonder what she would be like and what would she be doing. It's still so sad to me. I wonder if the pain will ever receed?

That all being said it is important that you all know I am becoming active again. I am going to try to do my part and when I start to feel overwhelmed I will just back off. It is sometimes hard to gage when you are becoming overwhelmed. One day you seem to be doing fine and the next bam you are hit over the head.

I will be actively helping families and getting busy legislativly.

This image below is of me and Andi and Mel. It was twenty years ago, so please don't give me a hard time about the glasses and hair. *smile*

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Outrageous Disgusting Oklahoma Law

AP-OK--Porn Cases-Ruling 0132

Appeals court clarifies how child porn cases are tried

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ State prosecutors say a ruling from the
state Court of Criminal Appeals will affect every child pornography
case they prosecute.
The court says only one count can be filed when porn is found on
digital or magnetic storage devices such as a CD-ROM no matter how
many separate pornographic images or photographs are on the device.
The ruling comes in the case of James Cheyenne Brown who was
convicted of 100 counts of possessing child porn after hundreds of
pornographic images were found on nine disks in his possession.
The court dismissed 91 of the counts and cut Brown's prison
sentence from 50 to four-and-a-half years.
Prosecutors say they cannot appeal the ruling but legislators
could be asked to change the child pornography law.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Honoring Cori

Cori Baker’s family last saw her on the morning of November 9th, 2007. After classes at her Tulsa OK area high school, Cori was picked up by her older sister’s boyfriend, an 18 year old named Marquis Milton Bullock never to be seen again. Marquis was arrested on Nov. 12th, and eventually sent the police on what can only be described as a wild goose chase to find Cori’s remains which have not yet been located.

Police believe that Marquis murdered Cori and is refusing to give the location of the childs body.

Cori is 13 years old, 5′5″ and 105 lbs. She has brown hair and blue eyes. A $5,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the recovery of Cori’s body. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 918-596-2677 or 911.

I asked Danny Baker, Cori's father, what his favorite memory of Cori was because I feel it is important for families to share those things when a loved one is missing. And also to let them realize that there are people who have compassion. Danny told me that on Christmas Eve. night when Cori was about 7 or 8 she ran into his room and jumped into bed with her father. He asked her what was wrong and in this frightened voice she said, "I heard a clatter on the roof." So sweet.

This case has baffled me. During the past few months I have worked closely with Cori's family. My heart goes out to them. I truly wish I had a magic wand to wave and make it all go away for them. God Bless you Danny and the rest of those who love and miss her.

I wish I could have known her. :(