CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) -- Police on Saturday further discounted the possibility that a Washington parolee who shot himself this week in Utah had any connection to the disappearance of 19-year-old Brigham Young student Brooke Wilberger.
Richard Wilson, 39, had interested the Corvallis police because the Walla Walla resident is thought to have been on a crime spree throughout the Pacific Northwest after his release from prison in February, including a rape in Biggs Junction three hours drive from Corvallis. Wilson killed himself Wednesday after running into a police roadblock in Utah.
"We have not developed any evidence that suggests Mr. Wilson has been in western Oregon, much less the Corvallis area any time recently," Corvallis Police Department Lt. Ron Noble said in a statement released Saturday evening.
Wilson came to the department's attention after a Las Vegas TV station called, asking if there was a connection to Wilberger's high-profile disappearance. By Friday, police in Corvallis were already downplaying the possibility.
Wilberger, a Brigham Young University student, vanished from a parking lot of an apartment complex May 24, leaving behind a pair of flip flops. Hundreds of volunteers searched in a nearby park, a Christmas tree farm and along railroad tracks for days, but turned up no clues of Wilberger's whereabouts.
Police are investigating a list of "people of interest" that at one time climbed to 26 potential suspects but this week had fallen to four besides Wilson.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)