Brian Rooney, has been charged with Aggravated Homicide in the case of Michelle Gardner-Quinn. Police say that Michelle died of blunt force trauma and strangulation. Police have also confirmed that Rooney's DNA was found on Michelle's body.
According to an affidavit, Michelle was sexually assaulted.
Police believe that Rooney killed Michelle within two hours of meeting her in the early morning hours of October 7. Michelle's body was found by hikers at the Huntington Gorge in Richmond, Vermont on October 13.
According to an affidavit filed October 25 to support a charge of Aggravated Homicide, Rooney has repeatedly changed his story concerning Michelle's disappearance and death. Rooney told investigators that he was drunk on the night of October 7 and didn't remember what had happened. According to the affidavit, he later told police, "If I did it, I deserve to die."
Rooney has plead not guilty in Michelle's case. He has also plead not guilty to four other unrelated sexual assault charges uncovered during the investigation of Michelle's death.
Police: We Need Your Help
Police in Burlington, Vermont asked for the public's help during the homicide investigation of Michelle Gardner-Quinn. While the prime suspect, 36-year-old Brian Rooney, was in custody on unrelated sexual-assault charges, the police were still looking for clues to help them in their investigation.
Police said they needed help locating items Michelle had with her in the early morning hours of October 7, when she disappeared. In particular police were hoping to find a silver chandelier style earring, one black Converse All-Star low-top sneaker, a Kyocera KX414 cell phone, a black Puma Purse with white strapes and Michelle's UVM CatScratch card.
If you come in contact with these items, police ask that you do not handle them in any way.
Please contact Burlington police immediately.
Police also asked anyone who saw Rooney or his red Grand Jeep Cherokee between Saturday October 7 and Monday morning October 9 to come forward.
Hikers discovered Michelle's body, covered by twigs and leaves, at the Huntington Gorge in Richmond, Vermont.
Police had been searching for Michelle for nearly a week.
Police immediately named 36-year-old Brian Rooney a suspect in her disappearance and booked him -- but on charges unrelated to Michelle's disappearance. He was booked and held on charges of Sexual Assault
and Lewd & Lascivious Conduct with a Child.
Michelle had borrowed Rooney's phone the Saturday night she disappeared after she became separated from her friends.
Police say that Rooney is the man seen with Michelle in surveillance video around 2:34 am Saturday October 7.