A New York man is in police custody in connection with the death of his 11-year-old relative who police say was raped and killed by him. According to KTLA 5 News, the man, identified as 36-year-old James R. Brower, is being held responsible for the death of 11-year-old Jacelyn O’Connor, a resident of Morris, New York.
According to a press release issued by the New York State Police, the incident happened on Sunday, July 30, after SP Norwich patrols responded to a report of an 11-year-old girl in cardiac arrest at a residence located at 961 County Route 33, Town of Norwich, NY. Upon reaching the location, the responding officers found that the victim was already deceased. Further investigation determined that the cause of death was not cardiac arrest as it was earlier reported and that it was a case of homicide. There were also signs of sexual assault.
Two days after the incident, authorities arrested James R. Brower in connection with Jacelyn’s death. After his arrest, Brower was arraigned before Chenango County Court Judge Frank Revoir who remanded him to the Chenango County Jail without bail pending further court proceedings. On Thursday, he appeared in court for the first time, during which more disturbing details about the case emerged.
According to Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride, Brower reportedly smothered Jacelyn as he raped her. The felony complaint obtained by Central New York television station WSTM states that the defendant “did kill Jacelyn D. O’Connor, in the course and commission of rape in the first degree.”
Following a preliminary investigation, authorities also revealed that the victim and the accused were related. Brower’s two sons were half-brothers of Jacelyn, a spokesperson from the District Attorney’s office told the media.
Jacelyn, who was a student of the Morris Central School, was described by her friends and teachers as a “bright, spunky loved student” The school authorities have organized a candlelight vigil in her honor on Monday at 7 p.m. The official Facebook page of the school also issued a statement in which they expressed their grief at Jacelyn’s death.
“We are all deeply saddened by this loss. It is a tragedy that is difficult to comprehend for us all,” the post read.
If James Brower is found guilty and convicted on the charges, he faces a possible life sentence without parole.
Meanwhile, the New York State Police is still investigating the case and has asked anyone with more information to contact the New York State Police in Norwich at (607)-334-3296.
[Featured Image by New York State Police]