Cammy Wilberger thanks Corvallis for help with case

Cammy Wilberger thanks Corvallis for help with case
- CORVALLIS, Ore. - Cammy Wilberger says she has made peace with the realization that her daughter Brooke is dead, and that the death was "dark, painful, lonely and ugly."

"We've come to terms with Brooke's death," she said Tuesday at Oregon State University. "We rejoice in the great memories and the fun girl that she was. We know that we will be together eternally as a family."

The open and passionate talk of the hectic days after Brooke Wilberger's disappearance nearly two years ago centered on her family's reliance on faith to get them through and the community participation that renewed their faith in humanity.

The talk was sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Student Association at OSU and was also a thanks to the hundreds of police and volunteers who searched for Wilberger after she vanished May 24, 2004.

The photographs that the Wilberger family rely on for memories flashed on the screen as about 300 people watched quietly.

Police say the 19-year-old Brigham Young University freshman was snatched in broad daylight from the parking lot of an apartment complex her sister managed near OSU.

The Wilberger family lives in Veneta west of Eugene.

She has not been found but a New Mexico man, Joel Patrick Courtney, was charged with her murder last August.

Courtney was awaiting trial in Albuquerque in the abduction and rape of a University of New Mexico student when Corvallis Police linked him to Wilberger.

Police have declined to reveal the link and continue to investigate whether he might be a serial killer.

Cammy Wilberger only alluded to Courtney Tuesday, saying what has passed so far has been the easy part. But she said she will be in the courtroom every day as Brooke's voice if Courtney comes to trial for the murder.

She focused instead on the community effort to set up search parties, prepare meals and set up a public information machine that worked tirelessly for two weeks as many as 1,000 volunteers searched the 4,000 acres around where she was last seen.

"Sadly, we did not find Brooke, but we did find in our community something wonderful about ourselves," Tom Sherry, an adviser to the student group, said.

"Now that I look out at you, all I can say is that I love you," Cammy Wilberger said. "Thank you doesn't seem to be enough."

She said nights bring sobbing and dreams of Brooke off to college or on a trip but that it gets better with the dawn.

"I think we can rest assured that we did everything possible we could do to find Brooke," Wilberger said. "I think we can take great comfort in that. Whatever has happened, happened and we might not understand it, but we can live with it."

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)