Friends, family remember Brooke by candlelight


    By Taylor Simmons

    Candles will burn bright Tuesday evening as friends and family members of Brooke Wilberger are expected to gather in Provo and Corvallis, Ore., to mark the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of the BYU student.

    ?We want people to realize that we still remember her ? we still know that she?s out there somewhere, and we want to keep her alive in our lives so that we don?t forget her,? said Whitney Griffith, Brooke?s friend and a BYU student originally from Bountiful.

    A candlelight vigil is scheduled near the main bowery at Kiwanis Park at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

    The purpose of the vigil is to keep Brooke?s memory alive, Griffith said.

    Brooke?s friends have dealt with the tragedy in many different ways, vigil coordinator Brittany Knight said.

    Every case is different ? some people get upset and ignore the situation, while others have grown closer together because of it, the 19-year-old BYU student said.

    ?Some days I get angry and mad, but no matter how mad I get I know it won?t help,? Knight said. ?I need to have a positive attitude and help others cope with this.?

    Knight said she has decided to follow Brooke?s mom as an example of helping others.

    Brooke?s friends have had many aspects of their lives affected since Brooke disappeared, Knight said, but have found positive ways to cope with it. Friends join in nightly prayers, fast together, put up fliers and help Brooke?s family.

    Knight said the best thing BYU students can do to help is be aware that Brooke is missing and help get the word out.

    ?When we start forgetting her, that?s when she will be gone,? she said. ?It is not going to be the investigators who will find her ? it?s going to be someone recognizing her face.?

    The candlelight vigil is one way to get the word out. The program will include a prayer, a moment of silence and a song written especially for Brooke. The first 50 attendants will also receive candles to hold during the ceremony.

    In addition to remembering Brooke, her friends encourage people in the community to be safe, Griffith said.

    ?It can happen to anyone at anytime,? she said.

    Brooke?s friend, Jessica Foster, from Shelly, Idaho, said the vigil should be a great experience and the public is invited to attend.

    ?The vigil is to let everybody know that we still keep Brooke in our prayers everyday ? we still think about her constantly,? Foster said.

    The Wilbergers are expected to speak at a news conference Tuesday in Corvallis, Ore., at 10 a.m.


    May 24, 2004 Brooke disappeared from a Corvallis apartment complex. Her family reports her as missing later that day.

    May 25, 2004 Hundreds of volunteers begin searching for Brooke in a wooded area near the apartment complex.

    May 26, 2004 Brooke?s story goes national ? her parents appear on ?Good Morning America? and ?Today.? The search continues in Corvallis.

    May 27, 2004 The Wilbergers are encouraged by the support of the family of Elizabeth Smart, a girl who was missing for nine months in 2002 and 2003.

    May 28, 2004 Police report they are focusing on five people in the case, all of which had no previous contact with Brooke.

    May 30, 2004 Police arrested a person of interest in the case, Sung Koo Kim, on unrelated charges. The man allegedly stole thousands of pairs of women?s underwear from Oregon college students.

    June 1, 2004 Police announce they will scale back their investigation into the case after dedicating more than two-dozen detectives to the case around the clock. A prayer vigil is held for Brooke.

    June 16, 2004 Investigators expand their search to Tigard park, located a half mile from Kim?s house.

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