The death of a 12-year-old Vermont girl was murder, prosecutors said yesterday, and her uncle may face the death penalty under federal kidnapping laws. A judge ordered Brooke Bennett’s uncle, who has not been charged with kidnapping but not murder, held without bail after Bennett’s body was found near his home, the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus reports.
Michael Stephen Jacques, 42, planted torn clothing near a highway to divert police, said a federal prosecutor, calling him a "danger to the community." He allegedly enlisted the help of a 14-year-old whom he had been sexually assaulting for 5 years to help him plant evidence. Bennett’s ex-stepfather, who faces charges of obstruction of justice, was also ordered held without bail.