Community holds vigil for Brooke Bennett

07/03/08 7:34AM By Steve Zind
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VPR Photo/M. Vogelzang
(Host)  A week after she was reported missing, police believe they have found the body of 12 year old Brooke Bennett of Braintree. 

And late yesterday afternoon, the girl's uncle was charged with her kidnapping.

Bennett's disappearance prompted the state's first-ever Amber Alert, and has been the subject of national media coverage.

Hours after police announced they had found her body, members of the community gathered to mourn Brooke Bennett's death. 

VPR's Steve Zind reports.

(Zind)  State Police Director Colonel James Baker has been holding press conferences nearly every day since Brooke Bennett's disappearance.

Late Wednesday, Baker's measured, steady delivery faltered.   

AP Photo/Jim Cole
  (Baker) "Good evening.  It's with a heavy heart and deep sadness that I announce we have located what we believe to be the remains of Brooke Bennett."

(Zind) The body was found not far from the Randolph home of Brooke Bennett's uncle, Michael Jacques.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Jacques was charged with kidnapping Bennett. 

In recent days, Jacques, a convicted sex offender, has been the focus of the investigation into the girl's disappearance. 

Also on Wednesday, Raymond Gagnon of San Antonio, Texas was arraigned in federal court in Burlington on obstruction of justice charges related to the Brooke Bennett's case.  Gagnon is the girl's former stepfather.

Meanwhile, in an indication of how deeply the events of the past week have affected the community, a large crowd gathered in downtown Randolph Wednesday evening.

(Speaker) "We come together as a community to affirm that love is more powerful than hate.  That faith and hope are better chosen than feel and despair.  And later, as we lift up our lighted candles together, we will be reminding each other that light dispels darkness."

(Zind) The vigil had been planned earlier in the week in hopes that Brooke Bennett would be found alive. 

(music)

Hours after the news broke that her body had been located, that hope had turned to sadness.

For VPR news, I'm Steve Zind in Randolph.

 

VPR Photo/Mark Vogelzang

AP Photo/Jim Cole

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