A Missouri middle school teacher who was facing charges for allegedly grooming and raping students has been found dead in his jail cell under “mysterious circumstances.”
Substitute teacher Brandon Holbrook, 30, was found unresponsive in his cell at the St. Louis County Jail on Monday. He was facing three counts of statutory rape and six counts of statutory sodomy.
Corrections officers attempted to revive Holbrook with CPR and NARCAN as there were no signs of trauma. He was taken to the Barnes-Jewish Hospital and pronounced dead one hour later.
The teacher was accused of raping a 14-year-old student at Bernard Middle School in Mehlville. He had found the girl on social media and began exchanging photos and messages in May. He allegedly raped her at her home on three different occasions and threatened her into keeping quiet.
Following Holbrook’s arrest, the school district sent a letter to families in the district saying 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.”
After his arrest, more alleged victims reportedly came forward.
“Police do not know how many districts Holbrook worked for as a substitute teacher, and believe there may be more victims. Anyone with information about any additional victims is asked to call St. Louis County police,” local station KMOV reports.
Holbrook’s attorney Scott Rosenblum does not appear to believe his client’s death was a suicide.
Rosenblum told the Riverfront Times that, “A thorough investigation is in order. There’s no indication that this young man was suicidal. In fact, given the circumstances he was upbeat.”
Rosenblum added that Holbrook had “tremendous” support from his family.
Doug Moore, a spokesman for St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, said that there were no objects in the cell with which Holbrook could have injured himself, nor were there any signs of suicide, according to the RFT report.