Body found in woods likely ‘God-fearing’ grandmother missing since January

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AMELIA COUNTY, Va. -- A body found in Nottoway County was likely that of Olene Brooks, her family member said after meeting with Amelia County investigators. A fisherman found the badly decomposed remains in the woods off Route 307, about 15 miles from where the missing 68-year-old grandmother was last seen alive.

Brooks’ daughter said detectives told her they were 90 percent certain the remains were her mother's body, but were not ready to officially make that announcement because decomposition made it difficult to tell whether the remains were that of a man or a woman.

"It’s a double-edge sword. She’s found," Sheila Smith said. "It’s closure, but we’ll never see her again."

Detectives have requested Brooks’ dental records to help identify the remains, sources indicated.

Detectives told the family that zip-ties were found on the remains. The zip ties matched those used to tie up Brooks' family prior to her abduction. Zip ties were also used on her husband Woodell Brooks. He was found murdered at the couple's Amelia home shortly after Brooks' was Olene Brooks taken.

Grandmother Abducted, Grandfather Murdered

Olene Brooks was last seen alive on January 21 in Amelia. That was the day investigators said her former son-in-law, Dana William, abducted the grandmother of his child.

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

"He told me in order for me to save my family, I would have to call my mom to the house," Sheila Smith said in a previous interview. 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 Olene to the Poorhouse Road home. Brooks’ daughter said the text asked Brooks to bring a thermometer over because her four-year-old granddaughter was sick.

William, who had been 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 his violent rampage was William’s way of getting revenge on the Brooks family for the time he spent in prison.

Days after the abduction, William killed himself as police outside Boston moved in to make an arrest.

In a phone interview with CBS 6’s Brendan King, Smith said her mother "did nothing for herself, it was always for us. She was a God-fearing woman, so I know she’s in heaven."

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