Two men were charged in the rape and death of an 11-year-old girl, who was found deceased last month. The girl is from New York and was identified as Jacelyn O’Connor.

The second suspect arrested and charged was identified as 34-year-old Tobias Rundstrom-Wooding, who is from Norwich. He was charged with first-degree murder. Initially, police arrested and charged a 36-year-old man identified as James Brower, who is also from Norwich. Brower was also charged with first-degree murder, CBS News reported. Brower’s home was where the 11-year-old was found.

Both are held without bail at the Chenango County jail. Brower entered a not guilty plea. Their lawyers are reportedly intending to “fight this to the end,” People reported.

Suspects had a relationship

Rundstrom-Wooding and Brower are reportedly in a relationship, KRON 4 confirmed. Brower was the one who called police saying that a girl had a cardiac arrest. When they arrived, they found the girl already dead. Brower reportedly smothered the girl while in the act of raping her.

Victim related to one of the suspects

O’Connor is reportedly connected to Brower. She is the half-sister of the two sons of Brower. This was confirmed by Brad Keater, a minister at the Chenango Christian Church, where the girl’s family attends.

Her family has not spoken out yet regarding this information as well as about her death.

Police did not say, however, why the girl was with the couple but noted that she had been staying with the couple. Authorities did not say for how long she has been with them.

Cause of death revealed

Per an autopsy report, it was found out that O’Connor suffered from asphyxiation from the smothering.

It was also confirmed by the autopsy report that the 11-year-old girl was raped.

School releases statement on death of girl

The school that the girl attended, Morris Central School, said in a Facebook post that O’Connor was a “bright, spunky loved student.” The school officials said that they are very saddened by the loss, which has been a tragedy that is difficult to comprehend for all of them.

The school asked for their privacy as they grieve over the death of O’Connor.

A candle light vigil was held at the school’s main entrance on Monday to celebrate the life and memory of O’Connor. Counselors were also present at the school to support the students and families affected by the child’s death. It is unclear for how long the counselors will be present at the school.

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