The mother of Madison Brooks, the LSU student who died after an alleged rape in January, has shared the last text message her daughter sent her before her death.
Ashley Baustert, Brooks’ mother, told Fox News Digital that she texted her daughter on the night of January 14 that she would see her the next day to finish moving her into her bedroom for the start of her second year. semester in college.
Shortly after, the 19-year-old responded with a text message that read “I love you!!!” She also sent a photo of herself at Reggie’s Bar in East Baton Rouge with the son of one of Ms. Baustert’s sorority sisters. Three and a half hours later, Brooks was struck by a car in the middle of a busy avenue and died.
Initially, investigators did not suspect foul play in the incident. The person who hit Brooks stayed put and called for help, while two bystanders stopped. But Mrs. Baustert knew something was wrong.
“I know something was wrong,” Ms. Baustert told Fox News Digital. “I know something terrible happened. Based on the circumstances of how she was hit, where she was, the time, and the fact that she was alone.”
Mrs. Baustert’s suspicions increased when she went to Reggie’s Bar and discovered that her daughter’s phone had been left there unattended.
“We thought there was no way Madi was going to be on the avenue in that neighborhood at three in the morning without her phone,” Ms. Baustert said. “Like, no one would do that.”
Eventually, the police launched an investigation into the events between the last time Ms. Baustert heard from her daughter and when she was struck by a car.
Police now believe that in that three and a half hour period, Brooks was raped by four men she met at the bar: Desmond Carter, 17, Casen Carver, 18, Everett Lee, 28, and Kaivon Washington, 18, all of whom have been arrested.
Desmond Carter was charged in February with first degree rape and third degree rape. Casen Carver was indicted May 3 on charges of rape in the first degree and rape in the third degree.
Investigators say that after the alleged rape, the men pushed Brooks to the side of the Burbank Freeway. They then believe that she wandered down the avenue, where she was hit by the car.
At the time of his death, Brooks had a blood alcohol content of 0.319 percent, nearly four times the legal limit for driving.
Reggie’s Bar, which was located in Baton Rouge’s popular Tigerland area, had its alcohol license revoked in April and is now permanently closed.
Now, Ms. Baustert and other members of the Brooks family are working to ensure that her memory lives on. The Madison Brooks Foundation, launched after her death, will offer financial support to young people in need and advocate for her safety.
A billboard of Brooks, dressed in pink, her favorite color, is currently on display in Times Square.