Use back arrow for previous page Federal law aimed at preventing such tragedies

Many others suffered a fate similar to Michelle-see details

    FBI Involved In Search For Missing Student-Arlington Woman's Disappearance Considered Suspicious-10/9/06 Article

Michelle Gardner-Quinn

Michelle Gardner-Quinn Still Missing-10/1/06 Article
October 7, 2006 Police release images of missing Vermont student-10/12/06 Article
University of Vermont Missing University of Vermont student's body found-10/13/06 Article
  UVM events to mark anniversary of student's death-10/7/07 Article
  Trial To Begin In Gardner-Quinn Slaying-5/12/08 Article

Article Summaries and Excerpts Below

Does this need to happen to Michelle and others?  

nbc4.com


 

FBI Involved In Search For Missing Student

Arlington Woman's Disappearance Considered Suspicious   Top of  page

POSTED: 9:32 am EDT October 9, 2006

UPDATED: 10:55 am EDT October 11, 2006

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- The FBI and Vermont National Guard are joining the search for a missing University of Vermont senior from Arlington, Va., who disappeared early Saturday morning.

Federal agents and National Guard pilots met Tuesday at Burlington police headquarters with local police, state police detectives and sex crimes investigators in the search for 21-year-old Michelle Gardner-Quinn of Arlington.

Burlington Police Chief Thomas Tremblay said all available resources are being focused on the search.

"Over the past 24 hours, we have received a number of helpful leads that have sent the investigation in a specific direction, though we all are still requesting information from the public to ensure that all investigative avenues are appropriately pursued," Tremblay said in a news conference on Tuesday. "We remain hopeful that Michelle will be found safe as soon as possible."

Gardner-Quinn went out Friday with a group of friends to celebrate a friend's 21st birthday at several downtown Burlington bars, police said. She apparently decided to walk back to her dorm at about 2 a.m. Saturday. No one has seen her since, police said.

"She's out of place with no logical explanation for being out of place," Detective Kim Edwards of Burlington police said Monday. "At this point, we do not believe she left on her own free will."

Gardner-Quinn's parents became suspicious when she did not call them Saturday morning as she had promised. Her mother, Diann Quinn, went to her dorm and knocked on the door, but no one was there.

On Tuesday, Gardner-Quinn's father made a tearful plea for his daughter's safe return.

"I beg of everyone that hears this broadcast that if they know anything at all about where my daughter Michelle is today or where she might have been on Saturday morning -- Friday night, Saturday morning -- that they tell us instantly," John Quinn said.

"We have many detectives working on the case 'round the clock," Edwards said. "We've been here all night and today. We're following a bunch of leads, following up to include or exclude people or vehicles."

Police previously said that one lead they were pursuing involved a man in a white, Subaru-style hatchback who reportedly tried to offer a woman a ride home around 20 minutes after Gardner-Quinn was last seen. Officials don't know whether that man was involved in the disappearance of the senior.

Police said they have spoken with a man people saw Gardner-Quinn leaving with early Saturday and he is not a suspect in her disappearance.

Friends described Gardner-Quinn as kind, caring and responsible. They said they were very worried.

"She's not the type of person who would just disappear," friend Tammy Lang said.

"This is highly out of character," Tremblay said. "And given the nature of the information we have at this point and time -- the time of the evening with the fact that she hasn't been in contact with family and friends during this school visit by her family -- is why we've characterized this as highly suspicious."

The worry was shared by UVM officials.

"We're obviously very concerned. We have a student that nobody has seen or heard from going on 48 hours now," university spokesman Enrique Corredera said on Sunday. "We're hoping by some chance it's some kind of miscommunication or misunderstanding that will allow the possibility that she's fine."

University of Vermont President Daniel Fogel said in a campus-wide e-mail that police and security patrols had been increased on campus and in dormitories and all "campus life safety systems" had been tested and found to be operating.

"As this very serious situation continues to unfold, I write to express both the University's distress about an apparent threat to one of our own, and our firm resolve to do all we can to assist the ongoing investigation, support the family, and keep our community fully informed," Fogel wrote.

Gardner-Quinn is described as 5 feet 8 inches tall and 135 pounds. She has shoulder-length brown hair and a piercing in her nose, Burlington police said in a news release. She was last seen wearing a gray coat, a green cardigan sweater and a light blue T-shirt.

Gardner-Quinn attended Woodlawn High School in Arlington, where she excelled in soccer and earned a scholarship to Maryland's Goucher College. She later transferred to American University and then the University of Vermont.

About 150 people turned out for a candlelight vigil at the university Tuesday. One sign read, "I Am Scared," and another one read, "Somebody saw something. Spread the word. We want Michelle Back."

"It's sad," said friend Abby Carpenter, 20, of Greenwich, Conn., crying as she held a lighted white candle. "I wish they could find her."

Copyright 2006 by nbc4.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Michelle Gardner-Quinn Still Missing


 

By Jack Kramer
Oct 11, 2006

 Top of  page            Article

Michelle Gardner-Quinn, a 21-year-old senior attending the University of Vermont, vanished in the early morning hours of Saturday, October 7.  Volunteers from the University of Vermont are searching hills surrounding the campus today for Gardner-Quinn as Michelle is still missing.

Michelle Gardner-Quinn Still Missing

Michelle Gardner-Quinn Still Missing

"We still remain hopeful Michelle will be located, "said Police Chief Thomas Tremblay.

Michelle was last seen at around 2:15 AM on Main Street in Burlington, walking back to her dorm room alone. She was on her way back to campus after celebrating a friend's 21st birthday, reports AMW.Com.  According to officials, there is no indication that Michelle left on her own free will.

Police are still seeking more information on a man in his 20s driving a white Subaru-type hatchback who was seen trying to lure another woman into his car near where Gardner-Quinn was last seen 20 minutes earlier. A composite sketch of that man is in the works, Tremblay said.

Michelle is 5 feet 8 inches tall, and approximately 135 pounds. She has a stud piercing in her nose and was last seen wearing a gray peacoat, green button-up cardigan sweater, a light blue t-shirt, and a black Puma purse with white straps.

Chief Tremblay also confirmed that police on Tuesday searched a house in nearby Richmond that is home to the man last seen with Gardner-Quinn in downtown Burlington around 2:15 a.m. Saturday.

"It should be stressed that this is one avenue of investigation that is being pursued at this time and we remain open to all possibilities and continue to ask for the public's help in generating leads," police said in a statement. "No one associated with the Richmond address should be a considered a suspect in a crime at this time. At this stage in a complex case of this nature we are focused primarily on finding Michelle and bringing her home safely. Secondary to that, if a crime was committed it is important for us to identify anyone that may be involved in Michelle's disappearance but also to eliminate innocent persons from suspicion."

Her parents, who were visiting for Parents Weekend from Arlington, Va., reported her missing after she failed to meet them Saturday.

 

Police release images of missing Vermont student

Posted 10/12/2006 5:30 PM ET                            Top of  page                    Article

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) As the investigation into the disappearance of a University of Vermont senior entered its sixth day, police on Thursday released still video images of the woman and the man she was last seen walking with, saying he is a "significant focus" of the investigation.

Michelle Gardner-Quinn, 21, of Arlington, Va., was last seen Saturday shortly after 2:30 a.m. walking back to campus after a night out at downtown bars with friends. Police said she was walking with a man whose cellphone she had borrowed.

Police Chief Thomas Tremblay said investigators had questioned the man and searched a home near Richmond. He declined to identify him and would not say whether he was a suspect.

"He still is a significant focus because we are not satisfied," Tremblay said. "We have no evidence at this time that suggests a criminal offense. We're not close to an arrest."

Police on Thursday requested information from anyone who may have seen them together. The images were from a camera on the building of a nearby jewelry store.

Gardner-Quinn was reported missing Saturday night when she didn't show up for dinner with her parents, who were visiting.

Police searched elsewhere but would not disclose the locations.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  

Missing University of Vermont student's body found

Updated 10/13/2006 10:44 PM ET                Top of  page                 Article

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) The body of a University of Vermont student was found along a rural road Friday, and police said they were questioning a man who lent her his cellphone on the night she vanished nearly a week ago.

Michelle Gardner-Quinn's body was discovered near a popular swimming spot 13 miles east of Burlington, Police Chief Thomas Tremblay said.

The 21-year-old senior had become separated from her friends when she borrowed Brian Rooney's phone to call them as she walked up heavily traveled Main Street, which runs between downtown and the campus.

Rooney, 36, of Richmond, has been the focus of the investigation since he was recorded on a jewelry store surveillance camera with her at about 2:30 a.m., Tremblay said. He has not been charged in Gardner-Quinn's case, Tremblay said.

Tremblay's investigation led to Rooney's arrested on unrelated charges of sex abuse in two other Vermont counties.

He was charged with sexual assault in Caladonia County, 80 miles north of Burlington, and with lewd and lascivious conduct with a child in neighboring Essex county, where Rooney previously lived, officials said.

Gardner-Quinn was reported missing Saturday after she failed to show up for a planned meeting with her parents, who had been in town for parents' weekend.

Tommy Lang, 21, a University of Vermont senior who grew up with Gardner-Quinn in Virginia, said Friday that nothing seemed amiss when she called him from the man's cellphone just before her disappearance.

"She sounded completely fine and normal and exactly the way she did when she left us," Lang said. "There wasn't anything that made me worry or made me suspicious that anything was going on."

Lang said he called the number Gardner-Quinn had used and spoke to a man.

"He really didn't tell me a whole lot. He basically said he saw her walking up the hill toward the dorms and that's about it," Lang said.

As Vermont State Police searched the Huntington Gorge swimming hole, authorities had cordoned off at least half a block in a residential Burlington neighborhood several blocks south of where Gardner-Quinn was last seen. They were concentrating on a stately, three-story, red brick home, where there has been construction on an addition.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 


Article published Oct 7, 2007
                                          Top of  pageUVM events to mark anniversary of student's death

BURLINGTON There's a small, makeshift memorial to Michelle Gardner-Quinn next to the fountain on the University of Vermont green, but few students lounging outside on a warm fall day this week paused to notice the images of the student who was killed a year ago this weekend.

The dichotomy seems to fit the campus mood.

No one has forgotten Gardner-Quinn, or her violent, tragic death. The things the 21-year-old Arlington, Va., woman held dear are being commemorated with a week of activities and remembrances, there's been a focus on student safety and a number of practical measures have been taken to protect students. But the campus is moving on.

"Burlington is a really safe city," freshman Kaitlin Heffernan, 18, of Bristol, said while sit-ting on the green with friends. "But you always make sure you go out with a group."

The university is making it possible for people to commemorate Gardner-Quinn's death in their own way.

"As with anything else, (we're) really taking a true tragedy and such a loss and trying to be reflective and intentional about not only carrying on Michelle's legacy, but also really doing all that we can do to make UVM as safe as possible for our students," said Annie Stevens, UVM assistant vice president for student life.

The first event, a raffle to raise money for a scholarship in Gardner-Quinn's memory, was held on Friday. On Wednesday, there will be a night of remembrance. On Friday there will be a candlelight march from downtown Burlington to the campus, the same route Gardner-Quinn was to have taken the night she disappeared.

Next Saturday there will be what is being called the First Annual Michelle Gardner-Quinn Memorial Hike. It will be also be used as a fundraiser, for the Michelle Gardner-Quinn Memorial Fund for Environmental Studies.

On a practical level, Gardner-Quinn's death has prompted a series of changes in the way UVM and local police prepare for and react to possible abductions.

"We are very progressive in terms of our safety. We've had a police department for years, we've had blue lights, we installed camera systems, we're not trailing anyone," said UVM Police Chief Gary Margolis.

"When something as tragic as Michelle happens, you've got to stop and look again and ask yourself, 'what are we not doing that we could be doing?" he said.

Partly as a result of Gardner-Quinn's death and the April shootings at Virginia Tech that left 32 people dead, UVM installed a new campus-wide emergency notification system, due to be rolled out later this month, Margolis said.

UVM has made a deal with local taxi companies to allow students to pay for a ride with a campus ID and debit card, Margolis said.

Across campus, students have been looking for unlocked doors or unlighted areas, said Ben Porter, a 20-year-old senior from Burlington and member of the student government.

"I think this has really changed the way people think about safety," Porter said.

Meanwhile, Brian Rooney, the 37-year-old Richmond man charged with sexually assaulting and then killing Gardner-Quinn after he loaned her his cell phone on Burlington's Main Street, is awaiting trial, possibly before the end of the year.

Rooney is charged with aggravated murder. He is also is facing unrelated aggravated sexual assault charges that grew out of the search for Gardner-Quinn. If convicted of aggravated murder, Rooney will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Gardner-Quinn, a committed environmentalist, was a senior, but she was in her first year at UVM. She transferred so she could join the environmental studies program.

Gardner-Quinn was reported missing last Oct. 7 after she didn't return to her dorm following a night out with friends in downtown Burlington. A surveillance camera on a downtown jewelry store recorded Gardner-Quinn and Rooney walking together up Main Street toward the UVM campus.

After a high-profile search and police investigation, Gardner-Quinn's body was found Oct. 13 next to the Huntington Gorge in Richmond. Police say she had been sexually assaulted and died of blunt force trauma and strangulation.

Gardner-Quinn's death and her commitment to the environment has reached across the world.

In a YouTube video, singer Sheryl Crow, actress Meg Ryan and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, are pictured holding a portrait Gardner-Quinn and reciting parts of an essay Gardner-Quinn submitted to a class two days before her death.

"And I believe that my daughter can still change the world," Gardner-Quinn's mother, Diane Quinn, said in the video.

 

Trial To Begin In Gardner-Quinn Slaying

5/12/08        Top of  page

Accused killer Brian Rooney goes on trial in Rutland District Court Tuesday in what has become one of the region's mostly highly publicized murder cases in recent memory, the rape and killing of University of Vermont senior Michelle Gardner-Quinn in October 2006.

Jurors will be chosen in the trial of 37-year-old Rooney, who has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder in the death of Gardner-Quinn.

Wptz.com and NewsChannel 5 will be following the trial closely and have compiled a visual and written account of the event leading up to the trial. Check back in here and on NewsChannel 5 for daily trial updates.

Recent Legal Proceedings

On April 30, a judge denied a request by Brian Rooney's attorney, David Sleigh, to be taken off the case. The judge said there is no reason he should be allowed to quit.

He said, "Nothing convinces me that Mr. Sleigh should be relieved of his responsibility in this case."

Sleigh had written, "There has been an irrevocable breach of the attorney/client relationship which adversely impacts my ability to advocate in his best interests."

Rooney had told the judge in court at the beginning of April, "I feel from the beginning, obviously I've been railroaded by the system." He also said, "I haven't had a chance to review everything for trial. I feel that the matter is being rushed." Judge Michael Kupersmith said he believes both sides are ready for trial.

Michelle Gardner-Quinn's Disappearance
 

Gardner-Quinn's parents reported her missing Oct. 7, 2006. Police said the 21-year-old was supposed to meet them for lunch that afternoon, and when she didn't show up, they knew it just wasn't like her.

It was parents weekend at UVM and her parents were visiting from Virginia. She had just transferred to UVM that semester.

Police originally said Gardner-Quinn left Church Street early Saturday morning to meet up with friends at an apartment near the Ski Rack on Main Street. She never reached the apartment.

Missing persons posters plastered the campus in the days following, as police and friends scoured the area for any sign of Gardner-Quinn.

The Vermont National Guard and 50 investigators from the FBI joined the search.

On Oct. 13, almost exactly a week after Michelle Gardner-Quinn was last seen, hikers found her body in the town of Richmond near the Huntington Gorge.
That night and in the days following, family and friends held vigils and memorials for the UVM student, mourning her loss.

Brian Rooney

Burlington police said they learned of a man named Brian Rooney within four hours of their investigation, through cell phone records.

Rooney was then a 36-year-old construction worker from Richmond and the father of three daughters.

Police said they questioned Rooney at his parents' home in Richmond the next night and decided to put him on surveillance the day after.

On Oct. 12th, four days after Gardner-Quinn disappeared, police released a surveillance photo taken outside a jewelry store in Burlington. It showed Gardner-Quinn walking up Main Street with a man officials later confirmed to be Rooney. Police said he let her borrow his cell phone.

That Friday, when police announced hikers had found the college senior's body, they said they had arrested Rooney on unrelated sexual assault charges.

According to police, at one point in the investigation, Rooney had told investigators, "I really don't know what happened. Honestly, I don't remember that night ... If I did this, I deserve to die."

Investigators also said Rooney told them he was too drunk to remember what had happened that night.

After his arrest, a close friend spoke out on his behalf, saying, "I've never been given any reason to suspect anything other than he's a great person and he would help anyone out if he could."

His parents also spoke out in his defense, saying, "As a parent, we love our son to death and we can't imagine anything happening or him doing anything to anybody."

But Rooney's former father-in-law spoke out, saying he was "the scum of the earth."

Almost two weeks after Gardner-Quinn vanished, The Associated Press reported that a DNA blood sample taken from Rooney's jeans matched the blood of the slain UVM student.

The Life of Michelle Gardner-Quinn

Gardner-Quinn is being remembered for her strong environmental ethic and her commitment to making a difference on the issue of climate change.

Several days before her death, the 21-year-old wrote an essay called "This I Believe" and submitted it to her environmental studies class.

Gardner-Quinn started the essay saying, "I believe in upholding reverence for all life. I believe that humanity has a responsibility to the earth and to the life that we share our experience with."

A filmmaker got wind of the essay and persuaded prominent actresses, musicians, even royalty to bring it to the screen.

The film debuted at the Live Earth concert in New York City in July. It received more than 32,000 views on YouTube.

In memory of Gardner-Quinn, is also an organization called Michelle's Earth Foundation.

Its mission is "to facilitate the role of the community, especially youth, girls, and minorities who are vastly under represented in the sciences, in community-level efforts towards creating a healthy, sustainable habitat for humans and nature."

There is also an online memorial to Gardner-Quinn with pictures, video and memories.

It features the full text of a poem about the 21-year-old, describing her as the most concerned citizen, kindest friend, most engaging classmate and most cheerful co-worker.

Top of  page

ACT NOW-Before Events Leave You With No Choice

Leave your comments on the CompelledToAct Blog

 
 

CompelledToAct.com

 

Concerned about the drinking culture on campuses?

This site provides information as to the seriousness of the problem.

 

In loving Memory of Kristine Guest 

   
 
 
 

Federal Law addressing campus drinking

 

Civil Litigation-Responsibility for Student Safety

 

Parent Awareness