Just under two weeks after his arrest, a 30-year-old substitute teacher in Missouri accused of raping a 14-year-old student has been found dead in his jail cell under “mysterious circumstances,” at the St. Louis County Justice Center, officials said Tuesday.
In connection with the alleged rape of a 14-year-old Bernard Middle School student, whom he met in May 2022, Brandon Holbrook was arrested on September 16. Detectives have grounds to believe that “there may be additional victims,” according to police when the St. Louis County Police Department announced the arrest.
Holbrook, of the 3100 block of Nebraska Avenue in St. Louis, was charged with three counts of second-degree statutory rape and six counts of second-degree statutory sodomy.
“Holbrook was a substitute teacher at Bernard Middle School when he initially encountered the victim. Through the investigation, it was learned that Holbrook engaged in sexual contact with the victim and made veiled threats if the victim disclosed the information,” police said. “Holbrook was arrested and is currently being held on $500,00 [sic] cash only bond.”
Following Holbrook’s arrest, the school district wrote to families in the district to inform them that “When the friend of a victim brought concerns to a Mehlville School District counselor on Monday, Sept. 12, district administrators immediately filed a report with the Division of Children’s Services in compliance with Missouri law. District administrators contacted St. Louis County Police and have provided information and assistance as they’ve requested it. The employee was made inactive on our substitute roster on Sept. 12.”
The 14-year-old student was allegedly groomed by the then-substitute teacher online and “engaged in sexual acts on at least three separate occasions” at the victim’s home. He allegedly raped her at her home on three different occasions and threatened her into keeping quiet.
Ten days after being arrested at the St. Louis County Justice Center, Holbrook was discovered unresponsive in a cell.
At 3:15 p.m., officials said, Holbrook was checked on by prison guards. He was fine on Monday. However, about a half-hour later, when they went to check on him again, they discovered him using headphones while sitting upright in bed and not responding to their requests to get up. When a prison guard entered the cell and touched Holbrook on the shoulder, he discovered him to be unconscious.
Holbrook was then declared dead at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. The reason for death is being looked into.
The corrections officer tried to revive Holbrook in the jail with CPR; Holbrook was given Narcan, a medication that can reverse the effects of opioid overdoses.
The police reported that no indicators of drug usage or suicidal intent were discovered in Holbrook’s cell. There will be an autopsy.
Holbrook is the third prisoner to pass away this year in the St. Louis County Jail.
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