A 36-year-old man is in custody after 11-year-old Jacelyn O’Connor was found murdered on July 30. The Chenango County District Attorney’s Office announced that James Brower had been arrested on August 2. O’Connor was found dead at a home along 961 County Route 33 in Norwich, New York, nearly 200 miles north of New York City. Emergency responders had initially been called to the home after getting a report of a child having a heart attack. Brower is a resident of Norwich.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Felony Complaint Says That Brower Was Raping O’Connor at the Time of Her Death
The felony complaint in Brower’s case says that he was raping O’Connor at the time of her death, reports CNY Central.
After O’Connor was found inside Brower’s home, investigators were able to determined that she had been killed, reports New York Upstate. The website adds that those investigators have not made O’Connor’s cause of death public. Browser is being held at the Chenango County jail without bail following an appearance in court on August 3.
The case is being investigated by the New York State Police. Anybody with an information about the case is asked to call investigators in Norwich at (607) 334-3296.
2. Brower’s Sons Were O’Connor’s Half-Brothers
CNY Central reports that Brower’s two sons were O’Connor’s half-brothers.
According to Brower’s Facebook page, he is friends with a man named Andrew O’Connor. Andrew O’Connor is a friend of two different Facebook accounts carrying the name Jacelyn O’Connor.
Brower’s Facebook page shows no public updates since March 2013. Prior to that, Brower mourned the loss of his mother, spoke about money problems and made numerous references to his children.
3. His Father’s Obit Refers to Brower Living in Norwich With His ‘Companion Toby’
Brower’s father died in January 2016 at 75. According to his Legacy.com obituary, Arthur William Brower, was survived by his son, “James Brower and companion Toby of Norwich.” That tribute lists Brower as having six siblings.
4. Neighbors Described O’Connor as a ‘Happy Girl’
Speaking to WBNG, neighbors said that O’Connor was a “respectable, happy girl.” The victim lived in the town of Morris, less than 20 miles east of Norwich.
One of O’Connor’s former schoolteachers, Erin O’Brian Moussa, paid tribute to the victim on Facebook saying:
I taught this beautiful little girl.
I loved this beautiful little girl.
Even 3 years later, my heart and thoughts have always remained with this beautiful little girl.
This is the way I choose to remember Jacelyn O’Connor.
5. A Candlelight Vigil Will Be Held for O’Connor on the Night of August 1 at Morris Central School
A statement for the Morris Central School regarding a vigil for O’Connor read:
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Jacelyn O’Connor. Jacelyn will be greatly missed by her classmates, teachers and staff at Morris. We are a family and it is extremely difficult when one of our family members passes away.
The community is planning on a candlelight vigil in Jacelyn’s memory on August 7 at 7:00 pm. It will be held in front of the old front entrance at school.
As a parent/guardian, if you are having a difficult time speaking to your child about this tragedy, we have placed some helpful information on the school’s website under the parent tab. It is the last bullet under the parent tab. If your child would like to speak to a grief counselor, there are counselors at school to speak with.