Dateline   |  April 28, 2014

Bringing Brooke Home, Part 4

Two weeks into the search for Brooke, as search teams begin winding down their efforts and a potential lead in the case becomes a dead end, Brooke's parents plead with the public to help them find their daughter.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> nearly two weeks after brooke wilberger disappeared while working outside of these apartments in corvallis , oregon --

>> search teams spent a 12th day surveying acres of land.

>> -- the search was winding down. the official end would soon come. members of brooke 's family expressed their gratitude.

>> you've given up so much to help and i was thinking yesterday, brooke would be saying, they didn't even know me.

>> while detectives were still looking at sung koo kim as a person of interest, one of brooke 's siblings thought, no way.

>> i personally didn't think he had anything to do with it. she could get away from him. he didn't look very threatening to me.

>> and soon more reason surfaced to cast doubt on the idea that kim was involved in brooke 's disappearance.

>> he offers an alibi.

>> well, offering an alibi and us being able to validate that alibi are two different things.

>> but kim 's alibi for the day of brooke 's disappearance consisted of not just one but three pieces of evidence. put together, they showed kim could not have been in corvallis at 10:30 a.m . when the kidnapping occurred. first, these records show an online purchase of 500 shares of stock with ameritrade executed on kim 's computer 75 miles from the crime scene at 11:14 a.m . pacific. next, a witness came forward saying kim answered a phone call at the family home at 12:10 p.m . and entered an electronic store at 12:42 p.m . and a receipt showing a purchase at the same store at 1:11 p.m .

>> put all three of those together, that's an ironclad alibi.

>> steve went was one of kim 's attorney.

>> prosecutors should look at that and say this is a case we simply cannot charge. we have the wrong guy.

>> did they say that?

>> they didn't. they went public naming sung koo kim in a person of interest in the wilberger investigation.

>> investigators insisted it was a lead they had to follow.

>> there were moments when we were challenging each other with how much time do we spend here versus spend it over there.

>> looking for someone else ?

>> we didn't want to chase the red herring with 100% of our resources. it was the healthiest thing for the investigation. it made sure nothing fell through the cracks.

>> at what point do you start kim 's family filed a lawsuit, claiming excessive use of force . the state of oregon eventually settled with the family, paying more than $330,000.

>> there was a lot of pressure to try and save this young woman . undoubtedly the officers were hoping that they could find her and hoping that they could find her alive but they really didn't have many facts here. and the search was done in aggressive, i think quite radical fashion.

>> kim was eventually convicted of burglary in connection with his panty stealing and served 7 years of an 11-year prison sentence. he was released in 2012 . the summer of 2004 wore on and investigators in the wilberger case seem to be back at square one. members of the fbi and the corvallis police department worked hard but leads were wearing thin.

>> the weeks turn into a month, three months, how frustrating is it to not have more of a lead?

>> it was extraordinarily stressful. you had a community looking for answers. you had a community that was scared. was there somebody else out there who is going to be the next victim? and we have got a family in tremendous pain. and they are hurting. and they are doing everything they can to support us, to encourage us, to inspire the investigators not to give up.

>> in what sense?

>> they didn't turn. they never became an adversary. they were a partner with us and it was incredible.

>> but the wilbergers were feeling the strain as well. in september, three months after brooke 's disappearance, it was time to return to school. jessica was heading into eighth grade.

>> i always thought about it. there were days i got up in the morning and thought, i don't want to do this today. but i would put a smile on my face and go to school and just worry about school.

>> their mother would do the same, returning to her job as a third grade teacher.

>> how did you go back to school? how did you walk in the classroom and teach little third graders?

>> i wasn't sure if i could do it but it actually became very therapeutic. because when i walked through that school door, i was mrs. wilberger and it gives you the opportunity to love little children and to be concerned about their needs and so it was really a good therapy for me. it kept my mind busy on other things.

>> the wilbergers didn't know it but before the holidays would arrive in 2004 , there would finally be a legitimate break