BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) A Vermont man whose 12-year-old niece was found dead near his home carefully orchestrated events and e-mails to make it appear she had gone to see someone she met online, prosecutors said Thursday as they charged him with kidnapping.
Michael Jacques, 42, could face the death penalty under federal law if convicted in the disappearance of Brooke Bennett. An autopsy has not confirmed whether the girl was killed.
Citing statements from another girl, prosecutors claim in an affidavit that Jacques tricked Brooke into thinking she was going to a party and instead took her to his Randolph home to initiate her into a child sex ring on June 25, the day she disappeared.
The girl's body was found Wednesday in a shallow grave near Jacques' house.
But no new evidence of a wider child sex ring has been found.