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Where is Olene Brooks? Amelia family begs for answers after murder suspect’s suicide

Posted at 10:17 PM, Jan 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-27 23:12:47-05

AMELIA COUNTY, Va. -- Word that a murder suspect had killed himself as police closed in Wednesday was bittersweet for the Brooks family in Amelia County. They said they were happy that the manhunt for Dana William was over and they no longer had to live in fear, but a traumatic mystery remained: Where was Olene Brooks?

"Everybody, keep praying that we will get her back soon,” her sister Odessa Warden said.

For the family of the 68-year-old grandmother, the time since her kidnapping last Thursday has been five days of hell.

"It's been a horror, it's been awful," Warden said.

Deputies said Brooks was taken hostage by William, her 43-year-old former son-in-law. Deputies said William shot and killed himself in Massachusetts Wednesday morning, but Brooks was still nowhere to be found.

"She could be anywhere," Brooks’s daughter Sheila Smith said. "In the cold, without medication, and she can't see because she doesn't have her glasses."

Brooks’s husband Woody was found dead inside his Amelia home Thursday night, just before his wife was reported missing. Law enforcement sources said it was William who had tied up Mr. Brooks and strangled him with zip ties.

"I'm not surprised,” said Smith. “He had time in prison to come up with this plan."

William, a convicted rapist, had planned the cold and calculated killing and abduction, according to Smith. William blamed Mrs. Brooks for encouraging his rape victim to press charges.

Smith was one of four family members held hostage while William lured Brooks to her home, investigators said. A home where family members spent the day searching for Mrs. Brooks. The Brooks family is begging the public to come forward with information, especially if they think they saw William and Brooks together after 11 p.m. last Thursday or before 7 a.m. Friday.

A $3,500 reward is now being offered for information in this case.