Amelia County family ‘not giving up’ in search for abducted grandmother

FITCHBURG, Ma. (WRIC) — The man wanted in connection a recent homicide and abduction in Amelia County was located by the U.S. Marshals Service in Massachusetts Wednesday morning. He is currently in critical condition after he suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound when authorities tried to arrest him.

Meanwhile, the whereabouts of the suspect’s former mother-in-law remains a mystery, leaving the victim’s family desperate for answers.

Over the weekend, 43-year-old Dana L. William held his former in-laws, 67-year-old Woodell and Olene Brooks, and several others hostage at their home in the 17000 block of Poorhouse Road. After William eventually left the area with O. Brooks, authorities found her husband bound and unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The medical examiner later confirmed that the died from asphyxia due to ligature strangulation.


“He told us his plan was to kill my mother and my stepfather and then kill himself,” said the Brooks’ daughter, Sheila Smith.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Marshals located William at roughly 9 a.m. in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. When the Marshals Service, Massachusetts State Police and the Fitchburg Police Department attempted to arrest him, authorities say William shot himself in the head. He was transported to a medical facility where he was last said to be in critical condition.

“It’s a relief in a sense but the fact that (William) had shot himself wasn’t a relief,” said the Brooks’ granddaughter, Shawntae Smith. “Because then, how are we going to know where she is?”

Authorities say their investigation is now focused on locating O. Brooks, who remains missing. Amelia County has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to her whereabouts. The U.S. Marshals Service has offered an additional $2,500 reward.

“We’re going to find her. We’re not going to give up,” Shawntae Smith told 8News.

“We’re going to find her. We’re not going to give up.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Amelia County Sheriff’s Office at (804) 561-2118 or Amelia Crime Solvers at 561-5200.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News for updates. 

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