Search intensifies for missing Amelia grandmother Olene Brooks, suspect confirmed dead

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AMELIA COUNTY, Va. — The Amelia County Sheriff’s Office has announced expanded search efforts for Olene Brooks, the Amelia grandmother, who was abducted last Thursday from a home in the 17000 block of Poor House Road.

“Amelia County residents can expect to see an increased presence of law enforcement over the weekend in the Court House area of the county. Beginning Saturday (Jan. 30), the Amelia County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the Virginia State Police (VSP) and Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) will be conducting concentrated search efforts in relation to last week’s abduction and disappearance of Mrs. Olene H. Brooks,” the office said in a press release.

Olene Brooks (PHOTO: Amelia Sheriff's Office)

Olene Brooks (PHOTO: Amelia Sheriff’s Office)

The search efforts will continue through Monday, February 1, as law enforcement, canine teams, and VDEM conduct strategic, grid search patterns in proximity to the Brooks’ residence.

The alleged abductor, Dana William, shot and killed himself as police in Fitchburg, Massachusetts moved in Wednesday morning, the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office confirmed Friday.


Dana William

The Sheriff’s Office said since the abduction-homicide at the Brooks’ residence last Thursday, they have been working closely with the Virginia State Police to track the suspect’s movements and locate Mrs. Brooks.

“We’ve been searching non-stop for her, but are now in a position to expand those search efforts and bring in additional resources and personnel to do so.”

“In addition to seeking information concerning Mrs. Brooks, we are also asking for anyone who might recall seeing her minivan in the Metro-Richmond area Friday before William left for Massachusetts,” said Sgt. Stephan Vick, Virginia State Police Richmond Division. “The 2010 Dodge Caravan is silver with a handicap license plate “433114.” The vehicle is missing the passenger side, front wheel-well lining and the quarter-panel molding on the driver’s side.”

Mrs. Brooks is described as a white female, 5’4 in height and weighing 160 pounds with brown hair and green eyes.

Anyone with information concerning Mrs. Brooks, William, and/or recalls seeing the minivan is still encouraged to call the Amelia County Sheriff’s Office at 804-561-2118, Amelia Crime Solvers at 804-561-5200 or the Virginia State Police at #77 on a cell phone or email at

Amelia grandmother taken hostage after family zip-tied, duct-taped

The home abduction began Thursday (Jan. 21, 2016) at approximately 11:15 p.m., when Amelia deputies arrived at a residence in the 17000 block of Poor House Road (Rte 603). They found a male subject, later identified as Woodell E. Brooks, 67, deceased inside. Further investigation revealed that Mr. Brooks’ wife, Olene, 68, had been abducted by Dana Lee William, who fled the residence in the Brooks’ 2010 Dodge Caravan.

Before Brooks’ abduction, William allegedly zip-tied, duct-taped and held her family hostage at gun point.

Olene Brooks and her murdered husband. Woodell.

Olene Brooks and her murdered husband. Woodell.

“He told me in order for me to save my family, I would have to call my mom to the house,” Brooks’ daughter Sheila Smith said. When she refused, she said things intensified. “He tied [my daughter] with zip ties and tied my friend up with zip ties, then tied me and my son up.”

He then sent a text message to Brooks using her granddaughter’s phone, law enforcement sources said, to lure the grandmother to the Poorhouse Road home. Brooks’ daughter said the text asked Brooks to bring a thermometer over because the four-year-old was sick.

On Jan. 27, 2016, William, 43, was located by the U.S. Marshals at an apartment in Fitchburg, Mass. As they closed in on the apartment to apprehend William, he shot himself. William succumbed to his wound. The Brooks’ minivan was recovered at the scene and processed for evidence.

William, who was recently released from prison after a rape conviction, served two years of a 40-year prison sentence because 38 years of that sentence were suspended.

Family members said last week’s violent rampage was William’s way of getting revenge on the Brooks family for the time he spent in prison.

In addition, days before the hostage situation in Amelia, law enforcement sources said William had inappropriate sexual contact with a teenage girl inside a Maybuery Drive home in western Henrico.