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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Brooke Wilberger - May 24, 2004 - OR  (Read 4313 times)
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xx Suspect arrested in Wilberger vanishing
« Reply #60 on: Aug 3rd, 2005, 05:37am »

CARA ROBERTS MUREZ
Statesman Journal


Benton County officials have charged a 39-year-old man with aggravated murder, kidnapping and rape in connection with the disappearance of Oregon resident Brooke Wilberger.

Capt. Ron Noble of the Corvallis Police Department confirmed that Joel Patrick Courtney, who is in custody in Albuquerque, N.M., on unrelated charges, has been charged in the killing of Wilberger.

An indictment against Courtney was filed Monday in Benton County Circuit Court and a warrant was issued, an official at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center in New Mexico said.

Bernalillo County is holding Courtney without bail as a fugitive.

The Benton County charges include 14 counts of aggravated murder, likely for different theories about how Wilberger was presumed killed. Noble said Wilberger had not yet been found.

Courtney also is charged in Benton County with first-degree rape, sodomy, sexual abuse and kidnapping.

He will be extradited, the Bernalillo County official said.

Courtney has been held in the New Mexico jail since Nov. 30, after his arrest by Albuquerque police. He was charged with first-degree criminal sexual penetration, aggravated battery and kidnapping.

Courtney is wanted in a separate New Mexico case on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual penetration, the jail official said.

Before the news of the arrest broke Tuesday, Corvallis police announced that they had significant developments in the Wilberger investigation and planned to announce the information at a press conference today.

"It is significant," Noble said. "It's significant from an investigation standpoint, but there's still a lot of work to do."

A task force investigating the Wilberger disappearance, made up of officers from the Corvallis Police Department, Benton County Sheriff's Office, Oregon State Police and FBI, is continuing its work on the case, Noble said.

Noble and Wilberger's parents, Greg and Cammy Wilberger of Veneta, among others, are expected to speak at the press conference today.

Wilberger was 19 and a student at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, when she disappeared May 24, 2004.

She last was seen outside an apartment complex that her sister managed near the OSU campus in Corvallis, where she had been cleaning lamp poles. She left behind a pail of soapy water and a pair of flip-flops when she disappeared.

An extensive search by hundreds of people over several thousands of miles failed to garner solid leads.

Tuesday's announcement of a break in the case came two months after Corvallis police asked for the public's help tracking down information about a green minivan seen driving erratically the day Wilberger vanished.

One of two people of interest in the Wilberger case has a connection with a green vehicle, Noble said then.

In Oregon, Courtney previously was convicted of attempted rape and escape in 1985 in Washington County. He has been wanted since July 2004 in Oregon on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants and failure to appear in Lincoln County.

Noble refused to say what led police to Courtney.

According to a Dec. 2 report in The Albuquerque Tribune, Courtney was jailed on charges of kidnapping in which a New Mexico foreign-exchange student was forced at knifepoint into his car. There, she was tied up with a shoestring, gagged her with clothing and assaulted, according to the newspaper, which cited a police report.

Interviewed for the article, a spokeswoman for the Albuquerque Police Department said: "This guy was a bad dude. ... We found out he had prior sex offenses in other states."

http://159.54.226.83/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050803/NEWS/508030327/1002
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xx Brooke Wilberger is not alone
« Reply #61 on: Aug 4th, 2005, 07:26am »

Brooke Wilberger turned her attention away from the world for one moment, while cleaning outdoor lamps at a Corvallis apartment complex last May. The next moment, she joined the ranks of women whose justifiable fears of random violence come true.

This week, authorities say they've found the man they think abducted, raped and killed 19-year-old Wilberger. This news provides fresh heartbreak for Wilberger's family and a grim answer to the countless people in Oregon who searched and prayed for the missing college student.

The high-profile hunt didn't just produce Wilberger's murder suspect, however. It also opened a window onto the kinds of unacceptable risks that women face -- whether they're walking in a parking lot or working a shift or simply entering an empty house.

For example, the public learned about a man who kidnapped an 18-year-old woman at work in McMinnville last summer, then raped her and left her for dead in the woods. He was quickly dismissed as a suspect in Wilberger's case.

That rape was followed by reports of three random attacks last fall on lone women in public places in Corvallis and Albany. Those reports likely would have gone unnoticed if not for the heightened publicity surrounding Wilberger.

Then came stories of Sung Koo Kim, a temporary "person of interest" in Wilberger's disappearance. He awaits trial for breaking into the dormitories and apartments of women in Corvallis, Newberg, Forest Grove and Portland and stealing their underwear. Authorities say his home contained weapons and a huge cache of pornography depicting the rape or torture of women.

This isn't an exhaustive list of random crimes and threats against Oregon women; these are simply a few recent ones near Wilberger's abduction site that happened to make the news.

Of course, the odds of getting targeted by a stranger are still relatively low. Women are far more likely to be hurt or killed by someone they know. But the risk of random violence remains a quiet constant.

And Brooke Wilberger is not alone.

Most crime victims don't capture Oregon's imagination. Some do. Some are young or innocent or beautiful enough. And some are unlucky enough not to get away. It is easier to think of these crimes as isolated tragedies. It is too hard to think that the man accused of raping and murdering Wilberger might be part of a much larger problem.

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xx Background checks on New Mexico rape suspect led t
« Reply #62 on: Aug 5th, 2005, 10:15am »

By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI


CORVALLIS, Ore. - Brooke Wilberger's body has not been found, but a routine police background check has led investigators in this college town to declare they have finally found her killer.

In a room packed with reporters and the missing woman's family, officials announced Wednesday that a grand jury has indicted a New Mexico man on 19 counts of aggravated murder, kidnapping, rape and sodomy _ bringing an end to a 14-month-long manhunt following the disappearance of the 19-year-old college student.

Benton County District Attorney Scott Heiser described the arrest of 39-year-old Joel Patrick Courtney as a "milestone," even though Wilberger's body remains to be found.

Courtney, who grew up in Oregon, is in custody in New Mexico on an unrelated rape and kidnapping charge, following the alleged assault of a University of New Mexico foreign exchange student on Nov. 30, 2004. That incident, in which he reportedly forced the woman into his car at knifepoint, then bound her with her shoelaces before raping and sodomizing her, happened six months after Wilberger vanished in Corvallis, the home of Oregon State University.

Wilberger had just returned to her home state after finishing her freshman year at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. The day of her disappearance, she had been cleaning the lamp fixtures at the apartment complex her sister managed in Corvallis. Among the only clues investigators found were her discarded flip-flops and a pail of soapy water.

Heiser said the main difference between the New Mexico rape and Wilberger's case is that "the victim in New Mexico was able to get away."

The foreign exchange student contacted police, leading to Courtney's arrest in Albuquerque, where he had been living with his wife and three children. As part of their routine background check, police in New Mexico discovered that Courtney had been arrested for a traffic offense in Newport, a small city on the Oregon coast. When Albuquerque police called Newport to learn what they could about Courtney, Newport officials told them: "You know what, the folks in Benton County might want to take a look at him," Heiser said.

For months after Wilberger's disappearance, police combed unsuccessfully through thousands of tips. But earlier this year, Corvallis police unexpectedly asked for the public's help in tracking down a green minivan, which was seen driving erratically in the area the day of Wilberger's disappearance.

Heiser said the minivan was crucial in building a case against Courtney, but refused to say whether Wilberger's DNA or clothing were found in the car.

"The green minivan is the link," he said. It was recovered out of state, but not in New Mexico, he said.

The case is far from over: "It's but a milestone for us; a tremendous amount of work still needs to be done," Heiser said.

It was a statement echoed by Cammy Wilberger, Brooke's mother, who addressed reporters wearing a blouse adorned with a pin of her smiling daughter.

"Our main goal remains the same, to find her and see that justice is served," she said. "We believe families are eternal and Brooke will be with our family forever."

Hours after the indictment was announced in Corvallis, Courtney's elder sister held a press conference in Portland to say the family worked with investigators and hopes justice is served.

"We are a family who holds faith very dear," said Dina McBride, 41, of Beaverton. "We believe that God is the definition of love. We also know from his word, the Bible, that he is the God of justice. Because of that we know _ what we know of God _ we believe that justice must be served."

Wilberger's disappearance last May riveted this town of 50,000, which includes a student population of 18,000. Students on the campus of Oregon State University came to the press conference sporting bracelets bearing the words "Find Brooke." A local church still had a large sign calling for prayers for her safe return. And in Veneta, the tiny Oregon town where she grew up, her missing person posters are still tacked to light poles.

"I think one always has hope," said Lindsey Wilson, 20, who went to high school with Wilberger in Veneta. "All we can do is pray to God and hope she's finding peace wherever she is," she said.
http://www.freenewmexican.com/news/30896.html
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xx Wilberger suspect resists extradition
« Reply #63 on: Aug 6th, 2005, 04:27am »

By Jennifer Nitson

The man accused of raping and killing Brooke Wilberger told a district court judge in Albuquerque, N.M., on Thursday that he will fight extradition to Oregon.

Joel Patrick Courtney, 39, of Rio Rancho, N.M., refused to appear in court when he was scheduled to be arraigned on a Bernalillo County, N.M. charge that he is a fugitive from justice. The charge is in response to a Benton County grand jury indictment that accuses Courtney of abducting, sexually assaulting and killing Wilberger on May, 24, 2004 — the day she vanished from a parking lot at the Oak Park Apartments in Corvallis.

"Yesterday, he was contesting identity, saying that it wasn't really him," said Bernalillo County Assistant District Attorney Melanie Harper. "He was refusing to leave his cell."


Gov. Ted Kulongoski will be asked to issue an extradition warrant.

Courtney, a married father of three, has been held in an Albuquerque jail since he was arrested in November on sexual assault charges. A University of New Mexico foreign-exchange student reported to police that he had kidnapped her at knife point, forced her into a car, tied her up and raped her.

Police first connected him with Wilberger's abduction in December after Albuquerque police conducted a background check on Courtney and contacted Oregon law enforcement, asking about cases similar to the sexual assault they were investigating.

Courtney will not be brought to Benton County to face the multiple counts of aggravated murder, kidnapping, rape, sodomy and sex abuse until his Bernalillo County case is resolved, prosecutors say.

His trial in Bernalillo County is set for Sept. 6, "but I do not expect it to go on that date," said Bernalillo County Assistant District Attorney Theresa Whatley.

Whatley said Courtney's New Mexico case could take "a couple to a few months" to go to trial as pretrial discovery issues, motions and other matters are hammered out. A packed Bernalillo County court schedule could also delay the trial date.

"There are a lot of variables," Whatley said.

After a jury decides his fate in Bernalillo County, he will be brought to Benton County, where prosecutors will have 120 days to put him on trial for Wilberger's murder, said Benton County District Attorney Scott Heiser. A circuit court judge could extend that deadline if needed, he added.

Heiser and police have said little about what evidence they have that connects Courtney with the Wilberger case, though Courtney's connection to Wilberger's disappearance was confirmed, in part, because of a 1997 green Dodge Caravan.

Investigators have the minivan but have not revealed what was found inside or exactly why the van implicated Courtney in Wilberger's death.

On May 17, 2004, Courtney was cited for speeding in a green Dodge minivan near La Grande.

According to KGW News, the van is owned by Creative Building Management, a professional cleaning service.

Before his arrest, Courtney was employed as a cleaning crew supervisor in New Mexico, police said.

Courtney was supposed to appear in court in Lincoln County the day Wilberger disappeared.

"He apparently was travelling from Portland to Newport," Heiser said.

Courtney called the Lincoln County Circuit Court at 1:15 p.m. that day and left a message saying that he was in Corvallis on his way to Newport. He had been scheduled for arraignment on a charge of driving under the influence of intoxicants.

The Benton County grand jury that indicted Courtney on Friday, July 29, heard testimony from 16 witnesses, including Wilberger's family, investigators, FBI crime lab analysts and a physician.

FBI forensic DNA examiner Rhonda Craig testified by report before the grand jury. Craig, who works for the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Va., has worked on cases involving crime and disasters to identify criminals and victims, according to an on-line biography.

FBI DNA examiner Constance Fisher also testified by report. Fisher was a witness in the California trial of Scott Peterson, who was found guilty of murdering his wife, Laci Peterson, and their unborn child. Fisher testified about mitochondrial DNA testing in that case.

Heiser has indicated that the District Attorney's Office is ready to "pursue the case aggressively," even though Wilberger's body has not been found.

"Oregon law doesn't actually require recovery of the body of a murder victim," Heiser said.

Former Benton County District Attorney Peter Sandrock recalled a case of alleged murder that never went to trial in 1978.

A 12-year-old girl had disappeared while on an American Diabetes Association walk through a Corvallis park, Sandrock said. Her body was never found.

Based on a tip from the community, a registered California sex offender living in Corvallis was identified as a suspect in the girl's disappearance.

Evidence Sandrock had planned to present to a grand jury included witness testimony that the suspect had dramatically altered his appearance — dying his hair and changing his facial hair — right after the girl vanished; that his camp trailer matched the description of one seen in the park that day; that he had been seen talking to the girl in the park that day, and was heard telling her he was a police officer; and that a hair matching the girl's hair was found in the trailer.

"Understand that this is pre-DNA," Sandrock said. "Hair evidence was some evidence but it was not great evidence."

The suspect had also made "strange" comments about the case to someone at Linn-Benton Community College, Sandrock recalled.

The man killed himself the day before he was to testify at grand jury, Sandrock said.

http://www.dhonline.com/articles/2005/08/05/news/local/news04.txt
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xx Accused killer Joel Courtney wants access to law l
« Reply #64 on: Aug 10th, 2005, 5:14pm »

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A Rio Rancho man indicted on 19 counts of aggravated murder, kidnapping, rape and sodomy in Oregon wants a judge to give him access to the jail's law library or set him free to use the public library.
Joel P. Courtney, 39, has been held without bond in the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center here since November on an unrelated rape and kidnapping charge.

He was indicted a week ago in Benton County, Ore., in the disappearance and presumed death of Brooke Wilberger, 19, a Brigham Young University student who vanished in Corvallis, Ore., in May 2004. Her body has not been found.

Courtney is fighting extradition to Oregon, where he could face the death penalty.

Last week, metro court Judge Sharon Walton of Albuquerque gave Oregon officials 30 days to file extradition papers, though the deadline could be extended to 90 days.

On Tuesday, Courtney filed a request in state district court asking for a public defender to represent him in his effort to get daily access to law books or "release from custody to seek access in a public arena."

He contends the jail isn't allowing him sufficient access to its law library, which he said he has been to once in his eight months behind bars.

Capt. Heather Lough, a spokeswoman for the jail, said Courtney is being held in segregation, so guards must escort him to the library, which must be cleared of other inmates while he's there.

"Arrangements are being made for him, but it requires extra effort," Lough said.

The jail, in a recent court response to another inmate upset about library access, documented 700 inmates on a waiting list for books and computers there.

Courtney is charged in Albuquerque with raping a University of New Mexico foreign exchange student six months after Wilberger vanished. He is accused of forcing the UNM student into his car at knifepoint and tying her up shoelaces before raping her.

http://www.katu.com/news/story.asp?ID=78964
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xx Does Courtney's DNA Link Him To Wilberger?
« Reply #65 on: Aug 11th, 2005, 09:10am »

By Anna Song

SEASIDE, Ore. - Court documents obtained by KATU News reveal potential DNA evidence against the man accused of murdering Brooke Wilberger.

This comes as prosecutors from all over the state gather in Seaside for a conference, including Benton County District Attorney Scott Heiser, who is involved with the Wilberger case.

Heiser would not confirm whether forensic evidence is the key link between Joel Courtney and Brooke Wilberger, but the court documents indicate that as far back as February, Corvallis police wanted and got Joel Courtney's DNA.

The court records show that on February 10, 2005, a judge in New Mexico granted Corvallis police a search warrant for Joel Patrick Courtney.

Courtney was already in custody at that point for the alleged kidnapping and sexual assault of a woman near the University of New Mexico campus.

The February warrant led authorities to take DNA evidence from Courtney - his fingerprints from both hands, swabs of saliva from his mouth and various hair from his face and pubic area.

Heiser will not confirm whether the evidence was gathered to match DNA material found in a green Dodge minivan that has been described as the 'key' link connecting Courtney to the Wilberger case.

While at the conference on Wednesday, Heiser declined an on-camera interview, but told KATU News he has had several conversations with Brooke's family about their feelings on the death penalty.

Legal experts say one possibility in cases like this is to offer the defendant life in prison in exchange for information on the victim's whereabouts.

The District Attorney who prosecuted Scott Peterson in the murder of his wife, Laci, says that discussion came up in his case.

"It would have been a consideration had Scott said 'I'll do that.' I'd have had to talk to the family and basically, that would be their decision," Jim Brazelton told KATU News.

However, Scott Peterson never struck that type of a deal and a jury sentenced him to death.

As for the Wilberger case, Heiser referred us to last week's press conference to get a sense of whether her family would consider a deal of that sort.

"Our main goal remains the same - to find her and see that justice is served," Brooke's mother, Cammy Wilberger, said at that news conference
http://www.katu.com/news/story.asp?ID=78971
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xx N.M. trial is delayed for Wilberger suspect
« Reply #66 on: Sep 2nd, 2005, 07:48am »

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The rape trial of a man charged with kidnap and murder in the Brooke Wilberger disappearance has been postponed because the judge removed himself from the case.

District Judge Michael Kavanaugh recused himself Aug. 24 from the New Mexico case involving Joel Courtney, according to court records. The case has been reassigned, but no new trial date has been set.

The trial was to begin Tuesday. The reason for Kavanaugh's recusal was not specified.

Courtney was arrested in November in Albuquerque and charged with raping a University of New Mexico student.

On Aug. 3, prosecutors in Oregon announced that Courtney had been indicted on 19 counts in Benton County in the presumed death of Wilberger, 19, a student from Veneta who vanished in Corvallis in May 2004.

-- The Associated Press

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xx KGW sues for release of Wilberger documents
« Reply #67 on: Nov 13th, 2005, 08:08am »

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Three news organizations have filed a public records lawsuit asking the Corvallis Police Department and the Benton County District Attorney's Office to release a document about the man accused of murdering Brooke Wilberger.

The suspect, Joel Patrick Courtney, has been in a New Mexico jail since last Novermber on an unrelated rape and kidnapping charge.


In August he was charged in Benton County with murdering Wilberger, 19, a Brigham Young University student who vanished from a Corvallis apartment complex in May 2004. Her body has not been found.


Courtney is fighting extradition to Oregon, where he could face the death penalty.


Courtney has been indicted on 19 counts including aggravated murder, kidnapping, sodomy, rape and sexual abuse in connection with Wilberger's disappearance.

Police have not disclosed details of what led them to charge Courtney with murdering Wilberger.


This fall, The Associated Press, The Oregonian newspaper and KGW-TV each requested a copy of an affidavit in support of a search warrant authored by a Corvallis police detective in February 2005 that authorized New Mexico police to obtain DNA samples from Courtney.


The news organizations' complaint, filed Oct. 28, claims affidavit paperwork was improperly withheld in Oregon. It states that "continuing to withhold public records of this kind until trial is clearly not supported by Oregon law."


Letters from Benton County District Attorney Scott Heiser and Corvallis Police Chief Gary Boldizsar said the requested documents, if released, would compromise investigation of the "no body" homicide case and deprive Courtney and the victim's family a right to a fair trial.

http://www.kgw.com/news-local/stories/kgw_111105_news_public_records.4d0807fb.html
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xx Judge keeps records in Wilberger case sealed
« Reply #68 on: Jan 20th, 2006, 05:15am »

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Records in the case against the man accused of murdering college student Brooke Wilberger should remain closed, a Benton County judge has ruled.

Judge Locke A. Williams on Wednesday denied a motion by The Oregonian, Portland TV station KGW and The Associated Press to unseal police affidavits and search warrants in the case against Joel Courtney. He was charged in August with killing Wilberger, who disappeared in 2004.

The judge said the documents should remain sealed because of "the risk of interfering with the state's ongoing investigation of this and other crimes that may have been committed by Mr. Courtney."

He also cited concerns that releasing the records could jeopardize Courtney's right to a fair trial and might taint a grand jury investigation. He said the news organizations are free to ask for the records "at a later time."

Courtney is in custody in Albuquerque, N.M., where he awaits trial on charges that he raped a University of New Mexico student last fall. Oregon officials are seeking his extradition, but Courtney may not be returned until the New Mexico case is wrapped up.

In court hearings, prosecutors have suggested that Courtney may be linked to deaths in other states. Earlier this year, David Leith of the Oregon Department of Justice said authorities are trying to pin down "the full scope of a suspected serial killer's crimes."

Duane Bosworth, a Portland attorney representing the news organizations, said that while the judge has the discretion to keep the records secret, the public is entitled to know what investigators say as early in the process as possible.

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xx Memorial scholarship for Brooke Wilberger
« Reply #69 on: Feb 7th, 2006, 3:55pm »

EUGENE (AP) - Friends and family are setting up a scholarship in the name of the Brigham Young University student who disappeared from a Corvallis parking lot in May 2004 and has never been found.

The grants will go to an Oregon high school student who shares Brooke Wilberger's ideals and community service spirit, friends and family said.

“It's to honor Brooke,” said Meg Gray, a junior at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, one of Wilberger's best friends while growing up in Veneta, who has been helping set up the scholarship fund. “She contributed so much to our community during high school.”

The Brooke Wilberger Scholarship Fund idea came from Jessica Marks, one of Wilberger's friends who attended Elmira High School with her and who is a junior at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash.

It will be administered by the Oregon Community Foundation. If the fund reaches $50,000, the minimum for a permanently endowed fund, it would then generate $2,250 annually to begin sending a student to college, the OCF's Sara Brandt said.

Wilberger's mother, Cammy Wilberger, said the scholarship fund idea is “wonderful.”

http://www.theworldlink.com/articles/2006/01/26/news/news1201262006.txt
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xx 'I'll see her one day... I can deal with that'
« Reply #70 on: Feb 17th, 2006, 6:42pm »

By Steve Dunn
and KATU.com Web Staff T


CORVALLIS, Ore. - It is a story that captivated the Northwest - the disappearance of college student Brooke Wilberger.

Now, nearly two years later, much has changed in the case.

A suspect in Brooke's disappearance has been arrested and a trial is on the horizon, even though there is still no sign of the young woman.

Ever since Brooke disappeared, her mother, Cammy, has been a remarkable pillar of strength.

Now, as the case draws closer to a resolution, she sat down with KATU News for a one-on-one interview to talk about how she and her family are doing.

"Pretty good, we have our low moments, but we can see a light at the end of the tunnel," she said.
That light is the trial of Joel Courtney, the man accused of killing her daughter.

He faces other charges as well in New Mexico and after that is over, he will stand trial in the Wilberger case.

When asked if there was anything she would say to Courtney, given the chance, she said she is unsure.

"You know, I might come to that point, but I guess it's really sad. His life is sad and I feel for his family," she said.

That is a very rare approach for someone who has lost a family member to violence, but for those who know Cammy Wilberger, it is no surprise at all. So how does she do it?

"I'm not sure," she said. "I think we have just put our faith in our savior, Jesus Christ, and we've spent a lot of time in prayer. And for us, it's been a journey. There's no room for revenge. That would destroy us."
Cammy spends her time teaching a third-grade class. It is where she can sometimes escape from constantly thinking about what happened. However, most of the time there is no escaping.

"I can't go down a certain street in Corvallis," she said. "My (other) daughter lives not too far from there now, so we've found a different route to get to her house. Some things are just painful."

One of the most painful times for the entire Wilberger family was the recent holiday season because with a suspect in custody, the picture became much clearer about what likely happened to Brooke.

"It was difficult the first Christmas," she said. "I still had a lot of hope that I would get to have Brooke alive, back with us. This Christmas, I did not have that, so it was difficult."

Besides her faith, Cammy says it is the support of many people, some she has never met, that has given her the strength to go on. She thinks about that often.

"I do," she said. "There is no way that our family can express fully how much we love and appreciate the people in this area of Oregon, all over the world in fact, who have sent us cards, who searched and prayed for us, even after it became evident that Brooke was probably gone."
Hearing her say those very words "that Brooke is probably gone" is hard for any parent to hear, much less say, but Cammy said it is a reality she has to face.

"I feel she's dead and that I'll see her one day, but not soon, and I can deal with that," she said.

For now, though, it is a long, agonizing wait for Joel Courtney's trial. Cammy said she never realized how slow the legal process is.

She said she also understands that no matter what happens in the trial, a lot will change, but one thing will stay the same.

"We have a real strong belief that families are forever and that Brooke will always be with us," she said.

Cammy said the family is planning an official memorial service for Brooke that will take place sometime at the end of May.

When asked if she would be willing to accept a plea deal for Courtney in exchange for finding Brooke's remains, she said that is not a place she is prepared to go yet.

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xx For Brooke on 2-20-06
« Reply #71 on: Feb 20th, 2006, 6:32pm »

Thinking of Brooke on her birthday. Hoping she can be found soon. She's still missing but not forgotten.

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xx A mother finds love in loss
« Reply #72 on: May 3rd, 2006, 11:37am »

By Mark Baker
The Register-Guard


CORVALLIS - What to say after almost two years and you still don't know where your daughter's remains are? Or what happened to her?

Cammy Wilberger just began by saying this: "The only thing I can say to you is, I love you. There's not much more we can do except express from the bottom of our hearts how much you mean to us."

The mother of Brooke Wilberger, who disappeared from a Corvallis apartment complex on May 24, 2004, was addressing about 200 people Tuesday night at Oregon State University's LaSells Stewart Center. Many of them were volunteers who helped search for Wilberger, a 19-year-old Brigham Young University student and Elmira High School graduate, in those first few frantic days after the blond-haired, blue-eyed girl's abduction in broad daylight shocked the state.

Brooke Wilberger was washing lamp posts that morning at the Oak Park Apartments, which her sister and brother-in-law managed, just two blocks from where her mother spoke Tuesday.

Joel Patrick Courtney, 40, was charged in August with her abduction and murder. He is awaiting trial in Albuquerque, N.M., for the alleged rape of a foreign exchange student at the University of New Mexico in the fall of 2004. Oregon authorities plan to extradite and try Courtney, who police suspect is a serial killer, after the New Mexico trial concludes.

Tuesday's talk by Cammy Wilberger also included songs and a slide show of Brooke's life, along with brief remarks from Lt. Ron Noble of the Corvallis Police Department and Peggy Pierson, coordinator for the Benton County Emergency Management Association.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Student Association at OSU sponsored the talk.

The Wilbergers are devout Mormons, and Cammy Wilberger spoke about how she has relied on her faith through the unimaginable horror of losing a child to a killing.

"Faith is believing that we might not understand all things," she said, her words pushed out by heavy breath for most of the 45 minutes she spoke. "But he does."

"We'll keep going," she continued, often looking down at her husband, Greg Wilberger, and the rest of her family seated in the second row of the auditorium.

"Has it been easy? No. I still cry. The tears are right there all the time. It's not been easy to smile," said the woman who often does so nonetheless.

Tom Sherry, the adviser to OSU's Mormon students association, called Cammy Wilberger on Feb. 20, which would have been Brooke's 21st birthday, and asked if she would speak close to the two-year anniversary of her daughter's disappearance. "And I thought, `How can I not go?' " Cammy Wilberger told the crowd.

She talked about the humbling experience this has been for her family, the "special" and "unprecedented" bonding that occurred in this community through the search for Brooke, and how "the support continues to this day."

She also talked about the difficulty of knowing how Brooke, the second-youngest of her six children, must have died.

"It was dark and painful and ugly and lonely. Probably one of the most horrible and despicable ways a young woman could die," Cammy Wilberger said.

But she knows God was there with her daughter, she said. "I know that in my heart."

She thanked the Corvallis Police Department for its ongoing support and sensitivity. She recalled the day she and a Corvallis police detective drove back to Veneta and how the detective had to search through all of Brooke's things. "As she began to go through them, it was very difficult for me," Cammy Wilberger said. "But she was so sensitive."

Of her daughter, she ended with this: "She knew where she was going. She just got there before the rest of us."

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xx Suspected serial killer facing competency hearing
« Reply #73 on: May 10th, 2006, 1:23pm »

A man charged with the murder of an Oregon coed and the rape of a UNM student will face a hearing today to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.

Joel Patrick Courtney is being held in New Mexico on the rape charge.

FBI officials believe that Courtney may be responsible for as many as three additional kidnappings and murders in Oregon. He hasn’t been charged with committing any of them.

In February, federal agents sent an alert to law enforcement agencies nationwide to see if their unsolved cases can be connected to Courtney. The alert warned that Courtney was inclined to abduct women between 15 and 25 years old with blond hair and blue eyes.

The UNM coed who was abducted and raped in 2004 also has blond hair and blue eyes.

While being held in the Metropolitan Detention Center, Courtney was charged by Oregon officials with the abduction and murder of 19-year-old Brooke Wilberger, a Brigham Young University student who lived in Corvalis, Oregon. Wilberger disappeared in May of 2004 and has never been located. She also had blond hair and blue eyes.

The FBI says that Courtney grew up in Oregon and then lived around the country before arriving in New Mexico over 10 years ago. In New Mexico, Courtney has lived in Bernalillo, Grants, and most recently Rio Rancho where he settled with his wife and and kids.

Courtney’s Oregon trial for kidnapping and killing Wilberger is on hold pending the outcome of his Albuquerque trial on kidnapping and rape charges.

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xx Wilbergers sue cleaning company
« Reply #74 on: May 19th, 2006, 07:14am »

By MARK LARABEE

Brooke Wilberger's parents have filed suit against a multinational building maintenance and cleaning company, claiming it was negligent when it hired the man accused of killing their daughter.

The federal lawsuit filed Wednesday in Portland names Creative Building Maintenance Inc., a 25-year-old company that, according to its Web site, employs more than 2,000 people to clean millions of square feet in the United States and Canada.

Portland lawyer Gerald Doblie, who filed the suit on behalf of Greg and Cammy Wilberger, said the company provided Courtney with a vehicle and failed to supervise him. The suit asserts that resulted in the kidnapping, assault, rape, sodomy and wrongful death of Brooke Wilberger. They are seeking in excess of $75,000.

Wilberger, a 19-year-old Brigham Young University student, disappeared May 24, 2004, while cleaning outdoor lights at the Corvallis apartment complex managed by her brother-in-law. Her body has never been found.

Courtney, 39, was charged with her murder last August. He was awaiting trial in Albuquerque, N.M., in the abduction and rape of a University of New Mexico student when a Corvallis Police Department task force linked him to Wilberger.

Police have declined to elaborate on why they think Courtney is linked to Wilberger. Courtney has a history of sexual abuse.

No one at Creative Building Maintenance, based in Delaware, could be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

Doblie said he is in the early stages of the case, preparing a request for company records.

"They either failed to perform a background check or ignored the background check," Doblie said. He said the Wilbergers have a need to know what went on.

"They need to find out the history, and they need to have closure," he said. "They need answers, and this is one way for them to get them."

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