Raw Data: Burlington, Vt. Police Press Conference Statement on Slain Co-Ed

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Chief Thomas Tremblay, Burlington Police Department gave an Information Update on Friday October 13, 2006 at 4:30 p.m. This is the text of that statement:

It is with a heavy heart and a great sense of sadness on the part of the citizens of Burlington and the Vermont law enforcement community that I address you this afternoon.

Earlier this afternoon police received initial information about a woman's body being found off Dugway Road in Richmond. An immediate response by members of the Vermont State Police, Burlington Police, and the FBI confirmed the presence of a woman's body and she has tentatively been identified by investigators as Michelle Gardner-Quinn. The manner of Michelle's death appears to be a homicide pending confirmation from the Vermont Chief Medical Examiner's Office. We expect that the medical exam will also officially confirm her identity.

The Dugway Road in Richmond had not yet been searched by ground or air teams involved in the efforts to locate Michelle.

Based on this discovery and other information, we are now prepared to identify Brian Rooney, 36, of Richmond as a suspect in Michelle's disappearance. He has been the focus of our investigation since the initial briefings when we described our investigation proceeding in a specific direction. Our investigation continues into Mr. Rooney's involvement.

A short time ago, Mr. Rooney was arrested and is currently in police custody on charges unrelated to the disappearance of Michelle. Those charges include Sexual Assault, Attempted Sexual Assault, and Lewd & Lascivious Conduct with a Child. Each of the charges stems from events that occurred well before Michelle's disappearance. We anticipate that Rooney will be arraigned on those charges in Caledonia County District Court on Monday. A time is currently unavailable. Mr. Rooney is in police custody at this time and will be lodged at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility later this evening.

There is an extensive investigation still being conducted regarding the circumstances surrounding Michelle's disappearance and all additional leads will be followed. We continue to seek the public's assistance in providing information about Mr. Rooney during the time period between 2:30 a.m. Saturday and Monday October 16th. We continue to seek information about the red Jeep Grand Cherokee that we released a picture of earlier today.

As you can imagine this is a time that is beyond description for Michelle's family and her friends as well as a difficult time for our entire community. We ask for your continued patience as we support Michelle's family and focus intently on ensuring that no investigative stone is unturned. Rest assured that we will release all available information as soon as it is available via our website, our e-mail broadcast group and the telephone information line.

We ask that you keep Michelle and her family in your thoughts and prayers.