A middle school girl in Maine was killed by a boy she knew, police say. Law&Crime has since been able to identify the alleged killer.
Brooke McLaughlin had just turned 14 – two weeks and two days – before she was killed under mysterious circumstances on Monday, July 18, 2022. She was found dead inside her own home in the tiny town of Mount Vernon, Maine a little after 6:00 p.m. that day.
According to Poland Spring, Maine-based ABC affiliate WMTW, McLaughlin’s mother was the one who made the tragic discovery.
The girl’s death was later confirmed to be a homicide by the Pine Tree State’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner, authorities said.
According to the Maine State Police, “a male juvenile” was arrested in connection with the young girl’s death on Saturday, July 23, 2022. The agency alleged “McLaughlin and the juvenile did know each other.” The minor was subsequently charged with murder.
The identity of the defendant was not released by state police. The agency also declined to release information about where, exactly, in Maine he is from, Maine Department of Public Safety Public Information Officer Shannon Moss said in a press release (subsequent reporting said the suspect is from Wayne).
In an email, the Office of the Maine Attorney General identified the suspect as Aidan Grant, noting that his name was included on publicly available documents recently filed in the case.
“We filed charges today and a bindover motion that should be available at the Waterville District Court,” Special Assistant to the AG Danna Hayes told Law&Crime. “We don’t usually distribute documents in juvenile matters.”
The boy was identified as 15 years old and made his first court appearance on Monday, WMTW reported. He has reportedly not been charged as an adult – at least not as of this writing.
Law enforcement is preferring to keep details of the alleged murder scarce at the moment – including how McLaughlin died and how police were able to ascertain the boy in question as their suspect.
“Additional information will be released through court documents,” the statement released by Moss’ office said.
The victim was a 7th-grader at Maranacook Community Middle School in Readfield, Maine, according to a statement released late last week by Superintendent of Schools Jay Charette.
“Brooke was just firm and confident in her beliefs,” the middle school’s Dean of Students Rick Sirois told the Portland Press Herald. “She’d sometimes ask to eat lunch in my office. We’d have casual conversation about life in general, and she was always a pleasure.”
An obituary remembered McLaughlin’s personality and interests:
Brooke was a kind, loving, very thoughtful, big hearted, strong person who loved her family and friends that she had so much joy spending time.
She enjoyed campfires, music, shopping, swimming, animals, four wheeling, ice fishing, hiking, and hanging out with her friends.
Sirois noted one animal his former student was particularly fond of – her pet lizard, Ziggy.
“She’d talk about trips to the pet store to get crickets or taking Ziggy to the vet,” the dean told the paper, “and I’d commend her on the bearded dragon and the great care she provided for it.”
McLaughlin’s memorial page is available here.
Dixie Bonnevie, one of McLaughlin’s teachers, described her as “a kind person who loved her animals, a creative thinker, a hard worker who always wanted to succeed and was loved and accepted by her peers,” in an interview with the Bangor Daily News.
Shaley Baker told the Press Herald that McLaughlin and her had been best friends since meeting three years ago.
“She was always there for people when they needed her, and she always knew the right things to say to make people smile and laugh,” Baker said in an interview. “She was goofy and fun. I know that if I was having a bad day, Brooke would be right there cheering me up.”
The defendant is currently being detained at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland, Maine.
According to the MSP, the investigation into “the circumstances surrounding McLaughlin’s death” is currently ongoing and anyone with information is encourage to contact detectives at 207.624.7076.
[image via Roberts Funeral Home]
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