Search to begin Saturday

Questions remain on fate of accused

killer of Woody Brooks and that of kidnap victim  


APARTMENT SEARCH -- Fitchburg, Mass. native Dana L. William, 43, sought on kidnapping and murder charges in Amelia, shot himself in the head as U.S. marshals, Massachusetts State Police and the Fitchburg Police Department executed a search warrant at 19 Chester St. in Fitchburg on Wednesday (Jan. 27)morning. William was wanted in the murder of Woodell E. Brooks, 67, and the kidnapping of Brooks' wife, Olene, from their Poorhouse Road home late last Thursday (Jan. 21). Picture by SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / Ashley Green

Friday (Jan. 29) morning questions remained about the almost week-old murder of Woodell E. Brooks, 67, and the abduction of his wife, Olene, who turned 68 Monday (Jan. 25).

    The suspect in the late night Jan. 21 murder/abduction, 43-year-old Dana L. William, shot himself in the head Wednesday (Jan. 27) about 9 a.m. as troopers from the Massachusetts State Police, U.S. marshals and Fitchburg, Mass. police officers attempted to execute a search warrant on an apartment in that city. There was the question on whether he was alive or dead.

    There is also the question of the fate of Olene H. Brooks, who was not found at the three-story Fitchburg apartment house.

Left, Woodell E. "Woody" Brooks, a longtime member of the volunteer Amelia Emergency Squad, was killed Thursday (Jan. 21) on Poor House Road in Amelia. The medical examiner determined he was killed by asphyxiation. Right, Olene Brooks, 68, of Amelia, was abducted from her Poorhouse Road home on Jan. 21. Mrs. Brooks was not found in the vehicle nor in the Fitchburg apartment in which Mr. William was apprehended.

      According to the Fitchburg Sentinel and Enterprise, Mr. William, a Fitchburg native, was taken by an ambulance to meet a med-flight helicopter which took him to UMass Memorial Medical Center. Transportation would have taken about an hour, according to the newspaper. He was reported in critical condition that night.

     However Wednesday afternoon the Amelia County Sheriff's Office released information that Mr. William was dead.

     The Monitor has learned Mr. William has been declared brain-dead but Thursday morning hospital officials had continued him on life support while determining if any of his organs could be used for transplants. It was announced he had succumbed from his wounds on Friday (Jan. 29).

Meanwhile the fate of abduction victim Olene Brooks is unknown. The Fitchburg newspaper said authorities there are actively searching for her and Amelia Sheriff Ricky Walker said Amelia Deputies Abraham Redman and Gary Pugh have been sent to Fitchburg to examine the silver 2010 Dodge Caravan that was stolen from the Brooks' residence off Poor House Road (Rt. 603) in Amelia late on the night of Jan. 21.

     The sheriff's office hopes they will find clues in the van to the whereabouts of Mrs. Brooks.

     The Amelia Emergency Squad and the squad's auxiliary organization have joined to offer a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the location of Mrs. Brooks.

     The squad's flier said Mr. Brooks served on the Amelia Emergency Squad Auxiliary in the 1980s while her husband, known as “Woody,” was a member of the squad in the 1990s. Some family members continue to serve as volunteers in both organizations.

     That reward is combined with a $2,500 reward originally offered by the U.S. Marshals Service for information about Mr. William and now offered for information on Mrs. Brooks. Anyone with information about Mrs. Brooks' location is asked to call Amelia County Crime Solvers at 804-561-5200.

Dana Lee William is believed to have murdered Mr. Brooks on Thursday (Jan. 21) and abducted his wife, Olene Brooks.

    Mrs. Brooks is also listed as missing on the nationwide missing persons website to alert those jurisdictions between Amelia and Fitchburg, Sheriff Walker said. 

    According to the Fitchburg newspaper, the stolen van was spotted by city police officer in a parking lot at the apartment complex about 11:15 p.m on Tuesday (Jan. 26). The police worked with the state police's Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section to locate Mr. William at that address. Then members of the state police's Special Tactical Operations team, Fitchburg police officers and U.S. marshals surrounded the building and entered the apartment. As they did so, according to Fitchburg District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr., Mr. William “shot himself.”

    Fitchburg officials did not know if Mr. William attempted to communicate with the officers prior to the shooting and would only say the reason the suspect was at the apartment was, “It appeared he knew someone at that location.

    Also earlier this week the Virginia Medical Examiner's Office released the information that Mr. Brooks' cause of death was asphyxiation by use of a zip tie. Mr. William allegedly also used zip ties to restrain members of the family at their nearby residence before luring Mrs. Brooks to that home by texting she was needed for a family emergency. Once there he took her captive and allegedly returned her to the Brooks residence where Mr. Brooks was later found dead.

    There was a sighting of Mr. William Friday (Jan. 22) morning at a gas station in Henrico County, according to Sheriff Walker.

    Sheriff Walker also told The Monitor they located a vehicle in a cut-over area near the Brooks' residence that Mr. William allegedly borrowed to travel to the twin crime scenes.

    On the morning of Jan. 22 the snow began falling before search dogs could be brought in to look for Mrs. Brooks in the wooded areas near the residence, Sheriff Walker said. Thursday (Jan. 28) the state police helicopter was brought in. Deputies used the aircraft to map the area for a search of the area with the house at its center. That search is scheduled for Saturday (Jan. 30). Searches of other areas along the route Mr. William is believed to have taken on his way to Fitchburg, sometimes using aircraft, will be scheduled later if needed.


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