Thursday, 4:30 PM
Missing University of Vermont student found dead
By Suzanne Smalley, Globe Staff
BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Police said this afternoon that the body of a missing University of Vermont student has apparently been found in a nearby gorge.
Police said that a body tentatively identified as Michelle Gardner-Quinn, a 21-year-old senior, was found near Huntington Gorge, a popular swimming spot in Richmond, a bedroom community about 15 miles from Burlington. Police said she was apparently murdered.
She had been missing since about 2:30 a.m. Saturday, when a security camera on Main Street captured her walking toward her dormitory with a man that police identified as Brian Rooney, 36, and described yesterday as a suspect in her disappearance and death.
Rooney is in custody and has been charged with sexual assault charges in a separate case, police said.
Police have said that Rooney loaned a cellphone to Gardner-Quinn while they walked along Main Street early Saturday and that he is related to a house in Richmond they searched on Tuesday.
Police asked earlier today for the public's help in tracking the whereabouts of a red Jeep Cherokee belonging to Rooney. Police said they have already searched the vehicle, but urged anyone who might have seen the Jeep between Saturday morning and Monday morning to call investigators immediately. They wouldn't release the Jeep's license plate number, but said it could be identified by a black stripe painted on the back.