Ex-Teacher Charged with Rape of Student Found Dead in Jail, St. Louis Police Investigate

Image Credit St. Louis County Police Department

Officials reported that a former substitute teacher who was being held on statutory rape and sodomy charges passed away after being discovered unconscious in his cell at the St. Louis County Justice Center. He was accused of raping a 14-year-old girl who was one of his former students. Since September 16, Brandon Holbrook, 30, had been detained there.

Prior to 4 p.m. on Monday, a prison officer discovered him all by himself in a quarantined cell, according to Doug Moore, a spokesman for County Executive Sam Page. About an hour later, Holbrook was declared dead at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. The reason for death is being looked into. Moore reported that no indicators of drug usage or suicidal intent were discovered in Holbrook’s cell. There will be an autopsy.

Holbrook is the third prisoner to pass away this year in the St. Louis County Jail. Six accusations of second-degree statutory sodomy and three counts of second-degree statutory rape were brought against Holbrook, a resident of St. Louis. According to the police, Holbrook allegedly met the girl at the school in May and started grooming her online. Three times, Holbrook allegedly went to her home and sexually assaulted her.

Holbrook was well when prison officers checked on him at 3:15 PM on Monday, according to Moore. About a half-hour later, when they went to check on him again, they discovered him using headphones while sitting upright in bed and not responding to their requests to get up. When a prison guard entered the cell and touched Holbrook on the shoulder, he discovered him to be unconscious.

Holbrook was given Narcan, a drug that can counteract the symptoms of opioid overdoses, after the corrections officer attempted to revive him with CPR inside the jail. According to Moore, Clayton paramedics and jail medical staff both performed CPR. According to Moore, Holbrook had been held in isolation in an eighth-floor cell while awaiting the results of a second COVID test, which is standard procedure before detainees are transferred into jail quarters with other inmates, rather than because of a suicide watch.

A bond reduction hearing for Holbrook, who was being held on a $500,000 cash bail, was set for Tuesday, the day after he passed away. In this case, his preliminary hearing was not for another two weeks. There were no indications of trauma or foul play, according to Jeff Smith, chairman of the Justice Services Advisory Board, who said he is awaiting a report from the jail and the county health officials.

According to Moore, jail personnel are looking at the tablet computer Holbrook was using to see what calls and emails were made and sent before to his passing. Tablet computers are provided to prisoners so they can communicate online with their loved ones and caseworkers. Attorney for Holbrook Scott Rosenblum expressed interest in an impartial examination into Holbrook’s passing.

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