Video: Vermont student found dead

updated 10/14/2006 1:29:48 AM ET 2006-10-14T05:29:48

The body of a University of Vermont woman missing for nearly a week was recovered in a town east of Burlington on Friday and the chief suspect in her slaying was arrested on unrelated charges, the police chief said.

Michelle Gardner-Quinn, 21, of Arlington, Va., has been missing since early Saturday morning when she was last seen walking from downtown toward her university dormitory.

Police have been focused on a man whose cellular telephone she borrowed as she walked and Burlington Police Chief Thomas Tremblay said that man, Brian Rooney, 36, of Richmond, had been arrested.

Gardner-Quinn's body was recovered along a road near Huntington Gorge, a popular swimming spot in Richmond.

Rooney has not been charged in connection with Gardner-Quinn's disappearance or slaying, Tremblay said. He's charged with sexual assault and lewd and lascivious conduct with a child. He's due in court on those charges next week in Caledonia County, about 80 miles east of Burlington, where the crimes allegedly occurred, Tremblay said.

Earlier, authorities had cordoned off at least half a block in a residential Burlington neighborhood several blocks south of where Gardner-Quinn was last seen. They were concentrating on a stately, three-story, red brick home, where there has been construction on an addition.

A backhoe could be seen in the yard, but police were keeping a crowd of media well away from the scene and were declining to comment.

The Burlington Free Press, citing construction workers who declined to be identified, reported on its Web site that digging was to concentrate on a hole behind the house where concrete was poured on Monday.

WCAX reported that a man who had been a subcontractor on the job was the person whose phone Gardner-Quinn had used as she walked toward her dorm.

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