Joel Patrick Courtney
The Current Status
Courtney, originally held on $100,000 cash-only bond, is now held in the Bernalillo, New Mexico county jail without bond. He refused to waive extradition, which required Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski to issue a warrant to have him delivered to Oregon for prosecution. Extradition papers are in the works, but Oregon will wait until the New Mexico assault charges are adjudicated before bringing him to Oregon for trial. Then prosecutors will have 120 days to put him on trial for Wilberger's murder.
Courtney's sister, still living in Beaverton, has cooperated with the police. In an interview with KOIN-TV, she claims that Joel suffered a troubled childhood and has a long history of drug and alcohol problems. "If he is found guilty," she said, "he needs to be held accountable. Justice needs to be served."
Bernalillo County, New Mexico District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said she thinks Courtney may be linked to some other disappearances and wants investigators to examine where else Courtney may have traveled and stayed between Corvallis and Albuquerque and "see if there are any unresolved cases."
Due to restrictions on information and evidence, little is known about the green minivan where it was found, by whom, and what investigators found inside. One can infer from the DNA reports submitted to the grand jury and their subsequent indictments, that enough evidence was found in the van to change this case from a kidnapping to a murder.
At a press conference on August 3, 2005, local investigators thanked the community for their contribution of leads to the case, but said they would no longer need the public's help in terms of tips or information in the case.
Benton County District Attorney Scott Heiser would not release any information that might jeopardize what they consider to be a strong case. Heiser has never prosecuted a death penalty case, and would not say whether he would seek that punishment for Courtney. There are currently thirty inmates on Oregon's Death Row.
Back to Dianna Rodgers, who has treated sex offenders in Lane County, Oregon for the past 20 years: "Typically, violent offenders require escalating violence to satiate their escalating needs. Respites between episodes get shorter, the offenders take greater risks, and unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a sadistic rapist to eventually murder."
On August 5, Brooke's family posted a new message on the website, thanking those who helped to search for Brooke. "Our main goal remains to find Brooke and see that justice is served. We believe families are eternal and Brooke will always be a part of our family."
Brooke's body has not been found. A $6,000 reward is offered by the family for any valid information leading to its recovery, and a $15,000 reward is offered for the exact location of her body, leading to recovery.