Saturday, February 5, 2011

Brooke Wilberger story profiled on 'Dateline

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Tonight’s Dateline NBC called Bringing Brooke Home featured the story of Brooke Wilberger’s murder. Ultimately on the show, Brooke got justice, but it was hard to watch. Kate Snow was reporting.
The killer’s family actually pieced together the information that their family member Joel Courtney was the murderer. It is amazing that Brooke’s family was able to get justice.
Dateline followed the story of the most publicized murder in the history of the State of Oregon. In May 2004, Courtney raped and then murdered 19-year-old Brooke Wilberger. Corvallis was rocked by the girl's disappearance.
Courtney had disappeared during the time of the murder, and when he came back, Courtney told his family an unbelievable story.
During the episode, Courtney’s family even remembered his life especially right after Wilberger disappeared. His sister Dina said, “He walked through the door and announced kind of loudly, you'll never believe where I've been. I said okay, where were you? I was kidnapped, (he said). There were these guys. They had guns and knives and we were in the woods. It was rainy and cold and there was a girl there and we were hiding. And y'know there was blood and it was awful.”
The break in this case came when a similar case happened in New Mexico. This time the victim survived, and she testified against her attacker. Finally, all the pieces came together, and the family was able to bring Brooke home once and for all.
The toughest part of tonight’s Dateline NBC was listening to Brooke Willberger’s mother actually thank her daughter’s killer for telling her where he left Brooke’s body. It is nearly unbelievable that she was in that sort of situation. In return for his information, Joel Courtney received life in prison instead of the death penalty for his crime.
One Oklahoma City dad named Kent said, “I don’t see how the family was able to handle this situation with such grace. As a father I’m not sure I would be able to do what the Wilbergers did.”
Did you watch Dateline NBC tonight on Channel 4 in Oklahoma City? What was the toughest part of the special two hour episode for you?

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