(NewsNation) — Like many loving parents, Ashley Baustert was nervous when her daughter, Madison, went off to college. It often kept her up at night.
“I had her call me when she got home, I did all of that,” she said.
On Jan. 14 at 11:38 p.m., 19-year-old Madison Brooks, a student at Louisiana State University, texted her mom for the last time. It read: “I love you!”
Just over three hours later, Baustert’s nightmare became a reality.
Brooks was hit by a ride-share vehicle and later died at the hospital. Police say the 19-year-old had been dropped off drunk in a Baton Rouge sub-division by a group of four men, two of whom allegedly raped her in a car moments earlier.
“It’s gut-wrenching,” Baustert told NewsNation. “Losing her and reliving this pain every single day. It’s traumatic.”
Four individuals have been charged in connection to the incident. A grand jury indicted Desmond Carter, 17, in February on charges of first-degree rape and third-degree rape. He’s been charged as an adult.
An 18-year-old man, Kaivon Washington has been charged with first-degree rape and video voyeurism. Two others, Everett Lee, 28, and Casen Carver, 18, remained in the car, police say. They were both charged with principle to third-degree rape which means they were present but did not participate.
Baustert believes there is enough evidence that “justice will be served.”
“This is an open and shut case,” the mother said. “Her blood alcohol level was so high, she was not able to consent.”
Officials said Brooks’ BAC was .319%, which is nearly four times the legal limit to drive. The local bar Brooks was seen leaving had its alcohol license revoked in April.
Attorneys for the suspects have pushed back against the rape allegations and maintain that Brooks got into and left the vehicle on her own. In one video, Brooks is seen leaving the bar. In a separate video provided to WBRZ by the defense, she’s seen getting out of the car.
Baustert criticized the defense for “victim blaming” and says the district attorney has other evidence that hasn’t been presented yet.
“I think the defense is grasping at straws here,” she said. “They’re going to leak whatever they can to make it look as if this was a consensual act.”
At least one of the men, Washington, has been indicted for first-degree rape in two separate cases dating back to 2020 and 2022.
In Louisiana, first-degree rape carries a punishment of life in prison without parole.
Baustert said she’s trying to stay away from the court case because it’s so upsetting and is more focused on honoring her daughter’s legacy through the Madison Brooks Foundation.
The foundation’s goal is to advocate for the safety of young adults.
“My hope is to prevent this horrible tragedy from happening to another family,” Baustert said.
A Louisiana bill that would have banned people under 21 from being allowed in bars faced stiff pushback earlier this month. After significant amendments, those 18-20 can still go into bars under the legislation but bars would face stiffer penalties for serving people underage.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.