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Ex-convict charged in girl's slaying

CLAYTON, Mo. -- St. Louis police charged a man late Thursday with first-degree murder, kidnapping and attempted rape in the abduction and slaying of 10-year-old Cassidy Senter.

Thomas Brooks Jr., 27, was on parole from first-degree robbery and armed criminal action convictions. He was held without bond at the St. Louis County Jail in Clayton.

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Brooks also was charged with armed criminal action in connection with Cassidy's death.

Brooks said he lived a few doors down from Cassidy's house. The home was being rented by Brooks' sister, Cassandra Quinn, 29, authorities said.

Cassidy disappeared Dec. 1 from the St. Louis suburb of Bridgeton. Her body was found Dec. 9 in a vacant lot in north St. Louis.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch said Cassidy was killed in the house probably 'within minutes' of the abduction. Investigators said the body remained concealed in the house until shortly before it was dumped in north St. Louis.

Quinn was also charged with three felony counts of hindering prosecution for allegedly lying to investigators about Brooks' possible involvement in Cassidy's killing, McCullogh said.

LaFranz Wilson, 20, who also lived in Quinn's home, also was charged with two felony counts of hindering prosecution for allegedly lying to investigators. Both Quinn and Wilson were being held at the St. Louis County Jail on $75,000 and $50,000 bond, repsectively.

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McCulloch said Brooks was 'cooperating' with homicide detectives from the special task force that has been investigating the killings of Cassidy and 9-year-old Angie Housman, who lived just a few miles away from Cassidy's home.

Angie disappeared Nov. 18, and was last seen just a few doors from her home. Her body was found Nov. 27 in a state-run wildlife area in St. Charles County, west of St. Louis.

McCulloch would not say whether Brooks had confessed to either killing.

'The investigation is far from over,' McCulloch said. He said authorities still hoped to solve Angie's killing.

The investigation was a cooperative effort of the task force, the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Police Department, authorities said. They also said the FBI provided valuable technical support.

The FBI lab in Quantico, Va., analyzed evidence -- reportedly hair and a chip of paint -- gathered from the scene where Cassidy's body was found.

Investigators also seized evidence from the house, which helped lead to the charges against Brooks, McCulloch said.

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