BETHEL, Vt. (AP) – The head of the state police said Tuesday that authorities are making “great progress” in the search for 12-year-old Brooke Bennett, but he gave few details.

“I think we’re eliminating possibilities where she may be. I just don’t want to be in the business of predicting how close we are. Our efforts right now, our unfettered efforts, are to locate Brooke and bring her home to her family,” Col. James Baker said at a news conference.

Baker reiterated that Michael Jacques, Brooke’s uncle, remains a “person of interest” in her June 25 disappearance. He declined to say if the same is true of her stepfather, Ray Gagnon, 40, of San Antonio, Texas, whose arrest muddled an already confused situation Tuesday.

Baker said Gagnon, who has family in Vermont, was arrested Monday night and was expected to be charged with sexually assaulting a minor last year in the Royalton area.

His arraignment was canceled, however, and federal authorities took over his case.

At the afternoon news conference, an FBI agent with Baker said Gagnon was expected to be charged with obstruction of justice for destroying evidence. They didn’t elaborate about what evidence he is alleged to have destroyed.

Authorities said Gagnon was on a regular visit to Vermont from Texas when he was arrested after questioning at the state police barracks in Royalton on Monday evening, said Baker.

He was being held at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield.

State police arrested Jacques, 42, of Randolph on Sunday, charging him with aggravated sexual assault. Jacques has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which involve a girl other than Bennett.

Police continued Tuesday to scour Jacques’ property, including with search dogs.

Court papers say the victim in the case against Jacques told police Jacques was to be her trainer in a “program for sex” and that she had met three men affiliated with the program.

Girls in the program were warned that “the first (girl) who does it lives and the second gets her throat cut,” according to an affidavit filed Monday at Vermont District Court for Orange County.

Baker said Tuesday investigators aren’t sure whether there is a sex ring.

“We’re not prepared to say if that there is a ring or there’s not a ring at this point in time. We’re still researching evidence and analyzing evidence,” he said.

James Bennett, Brooke’s father, identified Gagnon as Brooke’s stepfather. Bennett said Gagnon had been married to Brooke’s mother, Cassandra Gagnon.

He said they separated about four years ago and may have divorced.

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