Surveillance photo of Michael Jacques and Brooke Bennett the day Brooke disappeared.
Burlington, Vermont - July 2, 2008
Disturbing new details about the day 12-year-old Brooke Bennett disappeared...
Brooke's former stepfather, Ray Gagnon, appeared in federal court Wednesday on obstruction of justice charges. And court papers made public there paint a troubling picture.
For a week police indicated the last time anyone had seen 12-year-old Brooke Bennett was when her uncle, Michael Jacques, dropped her off at the Cumberland Farms in Randolph.
New information revealed in court papers indicates her uncle did not leave her there. According to the juvenile who was with them, they took Brooke to Jacques' Randolph home. They told her she was going to a party, but the juvenile told police she was actually being taken into a secret program called "Breckenridge," where she'd be having sex with adult males-- just as the other juvenile had been doing for the past five years, with Jacques as her "trainer." That juvenile left the house after Jacques took Brooke upstairs -- and never saw her again.
The story that Brooke may have been meeting someone she met on the online networking site MySpace-- police say Jacques made that up. He showed police a posting made sometime after midnight June 25-- the day she disappeared. It reads:
Just 4 Skittlemeup
I know i promised never 2 post u on this page but i know u read both of mine all the time. I don't care use my other one at my cousins because my aunt and uncle gotta know my passwords and stuff and get freaked. Nobody but u and me can know about the other one! I do want to see you in the morning so please meet me... u know where. I think i have a good plan to sneak around this. My mom will kill me but then I'm going 2 Texas and she will get over it. Sorry I was such a baby last time. Promise u not this time!! U can bring ur friend but u have 2 admit that's pretty weird.
I cant wait 2 see what u got me 4 my b-day surprise!! Ur so good 2 me when we r able 2 b together. I hate that I wont see u till ur classes start again in the fall but i love that we can b together one more time. It just might last me for the summer. They say ur first is the one u always want and that's u baby! This girl don't sneak out of her house at 2 in the morning 4 just any man! OMG if only people knew me 4 real!
See you there!
Vermont State Police, forensic examiners, and investigators from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force believe the post was made from Jacques' laptop computer. It was edited at 10:36 p.m. the night Brooke disappeared -- and someone manually changed the time post, trying to make it look like it had been written at 7:46 a.m.-- before she disappeared.
The only login was from a computer in Texas, registered to the roommate of Brooke's former stepfather, Raymond Gagnon, who is also a friend of Jacques.
Gagnon appeared in federal court in Burlington Wednesday.
According to court papers, he told police Jacques called him the day Brooke was last seen and asked him to change the username and password on her MySpace account. Gagnon then came to Vermont to be with his family during Brooke's disappearance -- and called his roommate, asking him to throw his computer in a nearby dumpster.
That laptop has not been found.
Raymond Gagnon remains in federal custody. He is due back in federal court on Monday.
We still do not know whether he is in any way involved with Brooke's disappearance and death. We spoke to Brooke's stepmother and asked about her relationship with Gagnon. She said Brooke, "loved him like a father."
It's not clear whether Gagnon was part of the so-called Breckenridge sex ring.
But according to court papers, the juvenile girl claims she was also forced to have sex with Gagnon in June of 2007.
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