PORTLAND, Ore. – Hundreds of volunteers searched Tuesday for a 19-year-old Brigham Young University student that police said could have been abducted from a Corvallis apartment complex.
Brooke Wilberger was reported missing Monday, after she disappeared from an apartment complex in Corvallis, across the street from Oregon State University’s football stadium. She had been visiting her sister and brother-in-law while on summer break from BYU in Provo, Utah.
“There’s every indication to us that some kind of crime was committed,” said Capt. Robert Deutsch, a spokesman for the Corvallis Police Department.
Deutsch said that Wilberger’s purse, keys and other personal items had been left in her sister’s apartment. A piece of clothing belonging to Wilberger was found in the complex’s parking lot, he said, a possible tip-off to police that she’d been abducted.
Wilberger’s car was still in the lot, Deutsch said.
Wilberger’s family told police that the missing woman is a devout, studious member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who doesn’t smoke, drink or party. Her longtime boyfriend is currently in South America on a church mission, Deutsch said.
“This is a person who is completely responsible, who doesn’t have any kind of record,” Deutsch said. “It’s so out of character.”
Wilberger had been staying with her sister and brother-in-law, Stephani and Zack Hansen, who manage the Corvallis apartment complex where she was last seen. Her parents, Greg and Cammy Wilberger, live in Veneta, Ore., near Eugene.
Wilberger was cleaning the bulb covers of the tall lamps that line the complex’s parking lot Monday morning when her sister left for a few minutes, Deutsch said.
Hansen told police that when she returned at about 10:30 a.m., her sister was gone. A bucket of water and cleaning implements had been left behind where Wilberger was working, Deutsch said.
The family reported Wilberger’s disappearance later that day, after searching for the missing woman.
Zack Hansen described his sister-in-law as “a very good girl,” and said the family believes Wilberger was abducted.
Carri Jenkins, a spokeswoman for Brigham Young University, said Wilberger completed her freshman year as a pre-elementary education major, and has enrolled for next fall term. Wilberger lives on campus in an all-female residence hall.
Search crews, including more than 200 volunteers, will continue looking for Wilberger through Tuesday night, Deutsch said. So far, the search has concentrated on a forested park about half-a-mile from the apartment complex, he added. Volunteers have been combing through the park’s ravines, creeks and forest land since 8 p.m. Monday night, Deutsch said.
Corvallis police will also conduct interviews with people at the apartment complex and at a Hilton hotel which overlooks the apartments, he said.
Deutsch said the Corvallis police will consult with the FBI on the case.
Other cases of missing college coeds have captured the nation’s attention in recent months.
University of Wisconsin student Audrey Seiler disappeared from her apartment in Madison, Wis., March 27 and was found in a nearby marsh on March 31. Police later determined the abduction was a hoax.
Dru Sjodin, who attended the University of North Dakota, was found dead April 17 in a northwest Minnesota ravine, five months after she disappeared from a shopping mall parking lot in Grand Forks, N.D.
Wilberger is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 105 to 110 pounds. She has shoulder-length blonde hair, blue eyes, and was last seen wearing a gray Brigham Young University sweat shirt jeans, small hoop earrings and a ring with the initials “CTR” engraved on it.
Deutsch said that Wilberger also has a scar on her right arm from her elbow to her wrist. She was probably barefoot, he said.