[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
A substitute teacher accused of raping a 14-year-old student has been found dead in jail under mysterious circumstances.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Brandon Holbrook was found unconscious on Monday by staff members at the St. Louis County Jail. Prison officials claimed they checked on the 30-year-old at around 3:15 p.m. to find that he was fine. When they went to check on him again a half hour later, he was sitting upright in the bed with his headphones in and did not respond to their requests to stand up. A corrections officer reportedly went into the prison cell, tapped Brandon’s shoulder, and found him unresponsive.
Immediately, the person performed CPR and also administered Narcan – a medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Doug Moore, a spokesman for County Executive Sam Page, told the newspaper it is normal for jailers to use Narcan when an inmate is “unresponsive since drug use is prevalent among those who come into our care.”
After medical staff at the jail and paramedics also performed CPR, Brandon was taken from the prison and pronounced dead at Barnes-Jewish Hospital about an hour later. Now, authorities are puzzled over the cause of death as authorities found no signs of drug use or any indications of suicide in the cell. An autopsy is also still pending.
Brandon was charged this month with three counts of second-degree statutory rape and six counts of second-degree statutory sodomy. Police claim he met one of his former female students at school in May and began grooming her on social media. Brandon eventually went to her home on three different occasions and allegedly raped her each time.
The teacher was two weeks away from an initial hearing about the case. According to Moore, he had been in a quarantine cell on the eighth floor of the prison as he waited for a second negative COVID test result. He said there was “nothing in his cell indicating he injured himself at all,” adding:
“Holbrook had met with a mental health case worker earlier that day, and he was fine.”
Moore then noted, “we just don’t know what happened.” Brandon’s attorney, Scott Rosenblum, also said he “knows for a fact” he was not suicidal and called his client’s death “very unusual”:
“We had been speaking with him and he was very logical and he was cogent, coherent, and participating in his defense. Under the circumstances, he was optimistic and upbeat. He was still enjoying very close family ties.”
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[Image via St. Louis County Police Department]