Police investigating the tragic death of Louisiana State University (LSU) student Madison Brooks have arrested and charged four suspects with rape.
Brooks, 19, was allegedly sexually assaulted in a car on 15 January after a night of drinking in a Baton Rouge bar before being left on a dark road in the early hours of the morning, at which point she appears to have been struck by accident by a passing car, dying later in hospital of her injuries.
On 23 January, Kaivon Deondre Washington, 18, and a 17-year-old male who has not been named because of his age were charged with third-degree rape.
Mr Washington’s uncle, Everette Lee, 28, and Casen Carver, 18, were also charged with principal to rape.
“Madison was a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a niece, a classmate and a friend… By all accounts, she was an amazing young woman with limitless potential,” LSU president William F Tate said in a statement.
“She should not have been taken from us in this way. What happened to her was evil, and our legal system will parcel out justice.”
Here is a timeline of everything we know about the case so far:
Saturday 14 January
Madison Brooks spends the evening at Reggie’s Bar on 1176 Bob Pettit Boulevard in East Baton Rouge, where she was served alcohol despite being underage and met the four men since accused of attacking her.
Footage from the bar subsequently seen by investigators reportedly shows an intoxicated Brooks falling over several times, stumbling and struggling to stand in front of at least one of the suspects before they left the bar together.
Madison Brooks (Alpha Phi Facebook)
Sunday 15 January
Brooks is understood to have left Reggie’s between 1am and 2am with the four men.
It was at this point that she was allegedly sexually assaulted in the back seat of their car by two of the group before they dropped her off near the Pelican Lakes subdivision off Burbank Drive around 3am.
A ride-share driver is then believed to have hit the sorority student by accident.
She is duly rushed to hospital but passes away.
A post-mortem later reveals that her blood alcohol level was .319 per cent, four times the legal limit, at the time of her death.
Saturday and Sunday 21-22 January
Investigators visit the four male suspects at their homes, according to local reports.
Monday 23 January
The suspects are arrested by the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office.
Mr Washington and the unnamed 17-year-old are charged with third-degree rape, which, according to Louisiana law, is committed when the victim is “incapable of resisting or of understanding the nature of the act by reason of a stupor or abnormal condition of mind produced by an intoxicating agent or any cause and the offender knew or should have known of the victim’s incapacity.”
Mr Lee and Mr Carver are charged with principle to rape, meaning they were present but did not take part in the alleged crime.
Casen Carver, 18, Everette Lee, 28, and Kaivon Washington, are charged in the rape of Madison Brooks (Baton Rouge PD)
Court documents of Mr Carver’s interview with detectives includes statements claiming that Brooks had asked the men for a ride home, had propositioned them and consented to sex when asked multiple times by Mr Washington and the 17-year-old passenger whether she was sure she really wanted to proceed.
When asked by investigators if he believed Brooks was too impaired to consent, Mr Carver reportedly replied, “I guess.”
Ron Haley, an attorney for Mr Washington and the minor, challenges the charges, claiming that video of the incident showed Brooks “was intoxicated” but not to point that she could not “lawfully give consent or answer questions” during intercourse with the suspects.
Mr Haley said she exited the vehicle after an “argument” and had said she planned to get an Uber instead.
Tuesday 24 January
A judge assigns bonds to all three adult suspects under the stipulation that they remain under house arrest and wear ankle monitors.
The younger member of the group will be held in a juvenile detention centre until his court hearing in February.
The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control meanwhile issues an emergency suspension of the liquor licence for Reggie’s Bar.
Madison Brooks (Madison Brooks/Facebook)
The agency cites “the seriousness of the allegations and the potential threat to public safety”.
“This action immediately suspends the service or sale of alcoholic beverages at these locations,” it said in a statement.
President Tate of LSU says that the university plans to investigate why the establishment where the victim met the suspects was serving alcohol to minors.
Wednesday 25 January
Mr Lee and Mr Carter are released after posting bonds of $75,000 and $50,000 but the other two suspects remain in jail.
Under the bond terms, the released suspects are ordered not to make social media posts about the case or make contact with Brooks’ family, to submit to random drug testing, be placed on house arrest and to wear ankle monitors.
Details meanwhile emerge of past violent incidents at Reggie’s Bar, as does the revelation that Brooks herself once worked there as a “door girl” but was dismissed in July 2022 over altercation with another female employee.