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Sep-21-2009 11:29printcomments

Information From Murder Suspect Leads to Discovery of Brooke Wilberger's Remains

As a part of the plea agreement, the Benton County District Attorney was able to obtain information necessary to locate and recover Brooke Wilberger's remains.

Brooke Wilberger
Brooke Wilberger

(CORVALLIS, Ore.) - On May 24, 2004, Brooke Wilberger was abducted by Joel Courtney who subsequently murdered her. Despite extensive efforts, Brooke Wilberger's remains were not recovered during the course of the criminal investigation.

Murder suspect Joel Courtney

Joel Courtney was charged with the Aggravated Murder of Brooke Wilberger, and the case was set for trial beginning February 2010.

During the interim, the Benton County District Attorney's Office engaged in efforts to resolve the case with an emphasis on justice, along with the recovery and return of Brooke Wilberger's remains to her family.

Throughout the past several weeks, the Benton County District Attorney participated in a series of settlement conferences aimed at reaching a resolution within these parameters.

As a result, on September 21, 2009, following a change of venue to Marion County Circuit Court, Joel Patrick Courtney entered a plea of guilty to the charge of Aggravated Murder, and was sentenced to prison for life with no possibility of release.

As a part of the plea agreement, the Benton County District Attorney was able to obtain information necessary to locate and recover Brooke Wilberger's remains. In response, a multi-agency investigative team initiated a search and subsequently located Brooke Wilberger's remains.

The resolution of this case and the recovery of Brooke Wilberger's remains would not have been possible without the support and collaborative efforts of Governor Ted Kulongoski, Attorney General John Kroger, and various federal, state and local agencies.

A press conference will be held today at 4:00 p.m. at the Corvallis/Benton County Public Library, 645 NW Monroe Avenue, Corvallis, Oregon. No statements will be issued prior to the press conference.

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News release from John M. Haroldson, Benton County District Attorney

Here are previous Salem-News.com stories on Brooke Wilberger and the suspect Joel Courtney:




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vienna June 28, 2012 7:41 am (Pacific time)

This sure looks like the creepy guy who sent the madman laughing video to the Maura Murray family on the 8th anniversary of her disappearance. taunting them...crazy psycho!


Mike H. September 22, 2009 1:31 am (Pacific time)

I was referring to humans that we call animals. Humans that act like animals belong in cages. Not animals. I never said you were a bleeding heart liberal, I agree with what you said in your comment. So since she isn't your daughter and you obviously believe in that sort of justice would you want society to judge how this man is punished? Life in prison so that the tax payers can support him for the rest of his life while he has 3 meals a day? There are people on our streets here that do misdemeanor crimes just so that they can be put in jail for the night to have a roof over their head. I don't want to sound like I am arguing with you. You said, "Killers and rapists of children; serial killers, etc. Society would be better off without them and we're not doing them any favors by letting them live." I couldn't agree more, except I think we are not doing ourselves any favors by letting them live, not them. We are doing them all kinds of favors by letting them live. Yet you don't believe in capital punishment?


Daniel Johnson September 21, 2009 8:51 pm (Pacific time)

I say people like that should be separated from society permanently, even if it means killing them and you suggest I'm a bleeding heart liberal?

Your idea of an eye for an eye is fallacious on the face of it. If she were my daughter, yes, I would want to kill him--as slowly as possible. Then you're talking about vigilante justice. Where would you draw the line? If someone assaults you, would you have the right to get a couple of big friends and go beat the crap out of them. Someone breaks into your car. When you find out who it was (usually, of course, you don't), you go over and break into his car?

You're not talking about living in a civilized society but a society of every man for himself. That's why, instead, we have a criminal-justice system so that, at least in principle, justice is served rather than vengeance.

And you obviously don't understand what I was saying about animals. Animals only kill other animals when they need tosuch as self-defence or for food, not for sport or fun. Animals don't belong in cages, either, they belong in a natural habitat. They're only in cages because people like you believe they should be. Why, should they be in cages, Mike?


Mike H. September 21, 2009 8:12 pm (Pacific time)

Nice animal theory DJ. Animals belong in cages. Correct. When there are cases like this though I think they need a different piece of metal...An eye for an eye. Our country would be so much better if there weren't so many bleeding heart liberals. "Oh, maybe he was just angry. If she shows signs or regret and sorrow, we should forgive him." Really? I wonder if Brooke would forgive him for murdering her...Anyone who thinks that this man deserves anything less than death, do this...Imagine she was your daughter, your own blood. Then what...


Daniel Johnson September 21, 2009 6:26 pm (Pacific time)

I used to believe in capital punishment then I didn't. But as I got older I began to realize that society is made up of individuals who cover a wide range of everything that makes a human, human.

But my great awaking was realizing that there are some individuals who are beyond the pale in the important or fundamental categories that make a human, human. Is Courtney in that category? I don't know. I don't know how it would be done, but there should be a way of determining if people are outside the pale.

Killers and rapists of children; serial killers, etc. Society would be better off without them and we're not doing them any favors by letting them live.

I lean to an idea I read about decades ago in a science fiction story by Robert A. Heinlein called "Coventry". This was a completely sealed off section of land where society's undesirables were exiled to live among themselves as best they could. The French had Devil's Island. I think George Carlin made a similar suggestion in one of his monologues. Anyway, in a minority of cases, people who do things like Courtney did would be in or out, if there is no doubt.

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the animals of the world. We have read stories where people (usually men) commit crimes that are so heinous that we call them "animals". Sorry, animals. Animals do not do what men do.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.