Father of Missing Vt. Girl Reacts to Her Uncle's Arrest

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," June 30, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: An arrest is made in Vermont. Twelve-year-old Brooke Bennett vanished on Wednesday of last week. Now, here's what we know. 9:00 AM that day, that Wednesday, Brooke is dropped off at a convenience store in Randolph, Vermont, by her uncle. A surveillance captures it all - - it's all captured on tape. She and her uncle then separate. And then -- well, that's it. Police don't know. She's just gone. And yesterday, police arrested Brooke's uncle not for her disappearance, but for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor.

Joining us live with the latest from Vermont is FOX News's Molly Line. Molly, what is the latest in this investigation for Brooke?

MOLLY LINE, FOX CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the biggest development, the most significant development, is that the uncle was arrested. He was arrested, as you mentioned, on an unrelated sexual assault charge. This all came about because investigators spoke with a witness. They say that witness then indicated that Michael Jacques had been abusing her for years, that he's a relative of hers, and that it all started when she was about 9 years old, that, in fact, we know now that Michael Jacques has a long history going back to 1993, when he was convicted of kidnapping and sexual assault. So he has a history of sexual offenses. That's how he came into the picture.

Now investigators are saying that he's a focus of this investigation, a person of interest, and they're searching his property -- K-9 units, forensic investigators, and particularly paying a lot of attention to the computer forensics, looking into computer use. That's a big one in this case -- Greta.

Watch Greta's interview

VAN SUSTEREN: Molly, in terms of the search, I know that they found some items of clothing or something. Have they confirmed last week that those were -- those were indeed Brooke's?

LINE: Yes. And interestingly enough, they were found on the side of a highway by a family member. That family member that found that clothing, police revealing today that was, indeed, Michael Jacques, as you mentioned, her uncle. So he, in fact, was not just the person that was seen near her, as you mentioned, at that convenience store, he then also found this clothing, and now he's under arrest.

VAN SUSTEREN: The first story that came out when she disappeared was that it was thought that she had lied to her family, that she said to her family that she was going to meet a friend and that she and the friend were going to visit a family member of that friend in the hospital. Then it was thought she had been communicating with someone on the computer. Can you verify or corroborate or dispel any of that?

LINE: Yes. Actually, they even reconfirmed today what they are calling the social networking connection here. They say that plays a big role in this, the MySpace, connecting via the Internet, possibly communicating with people on line. They say that's what this case is all about. So that's a big angle. They're still focused on that angle. They're still looking into the possibility that she may, in fact, have been communicating with someone on line and had been going to meet that person.

When you mentioned the aspect that she had told her family that she was going to meet up with a friend, go with that friend to the hospital to visit that friend's sick relative, they're saying, in fact, that that was some sort of cover story, but they're not saying which relative told them that. So we don't know whether or not that was something that Michael Jacques told them or not.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, the surveillance tape shows them both at the convenience store and then shows them separating. Is there anything more? Does it see them coming back together, or showing them, or do they ever come back within the camera's range?

LINE: Yes. There's no evidence of the two of them coming back together on camera. That's not caught anywhere else in town on any other surveillance cameras. So at this point in time, that seems to be the point where they parted. Of course, we don't know what happened to Brooke from there.

VAN SUSTEREN: Molly, thank you.

LINE: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Brooke Bennett's father, James Bennett, joins us on the phone. James, I can only imagine you must be worried sick tonight.


VAN SUSTEREN: When was the last time you spoke to and saw your daughter, Brooke?

BENNETT: I spoke to her on the phone on Father's Day. She was here a week or so before that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is she living with her mother or her uncle?

BENNETT: Her mother.

VAN SUSTEREN: And Michael Jacques, the man who is someone people -- police are interested in, has been arrested on another charge. That is your ex-wife's sister's husband, right?

BENNETT: Yes, Brooke's mother's -- Brooke's aunt's husband.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know him?

BENNETT: I know who he is. I don't know him very well.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know if Brooke was staying or had much contact with him?

BENNETT: I know that she spent a lot of time with the children.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know why he happened to be the one dropping her off at the convenience store?

BENNETT: I don't.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you spoken with Brooke's mother since Brooke disappeared?


VAN SUSTEREN: What does she -- does she give any more information as to what she thinks might have happened, what Brooke might have done?

BENNETT: No, she doesn't have any more idea than I do.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are the police talking to you?


VAN SUSTEREN: Do they have -- are they saying that Jacques is a person of interest, or is he a suspect? How do they describe him to you?

BENNETT: A person of interest, the same as they're telling everybody else.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know if he's the one who supplied the story that Brooke was supposedly going off to meet a friend who had a relative in the hospital and that they were then going to go to the hospital?

BENNETT: I don't know where that story came from.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you don't know if it came from Jacques?

BENNETT: I don't know, no.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know how far Jacques's home is from this convenience store?

BENNETT: Oh, seven or eight miles, I'm going to guess, maybe not quite that far.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it's so hard, James, I mean, all these children missing and everything. You never think it's going to happen to you, do you.

BENNETT: It's not something you expect to happen in a small town in Vermont.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you keep hoping you'll get that phone call, that good news phone call.

BENNETT: Yes, we do.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, I can only imagine how you feel tonight, but many of these children do show up, so I guess we have to keep hoping.

BENNETT: That's all we can hope for. I hope she's out there and she sees us, she realizes it's safe to come home and we're here for her and we love her, and we want her back.

VAN SUSTEREN: James, thank you. And just to know, we put up the phone number, and if she's listening, she can just call any police and they'll certainly help her come home. Thank you, James.

BENNETT: Thank you.

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