Dateline | April 28, 2014
>>> six months after brooke wilberger 's disappearance, police in corvallis, oregon, were frustrated. her family's hopes were fading. slim, but steadfast. what was that thanksgiving like around that table?
>> we still had a good time. just because we love each other and are hopeful. i think when we get together for myself brings a lot of joy and a lot of comfort. and so even though we missed brooke , it was just comforting being together.
>> police announced the reward had been doubled, hoping more money would loosen lips and shake out new leads but even investigators felt trapped as if it were groundhog day .
>> we don't have a suspect. we don't have any clear leads.
>> every press conference, simply another chance to make the same plea -- help us find brooke .
>> the investigation had kind of gotten to a point where they were still plugging away, following up on tips, still talking to people, still turning up rocks, still searching . and at that time, we were just hoping for something to break.
>> just waiting?
>> it was difficult.
>> and then that very week, the last week of november, 2004 , it happened. nearly 1400 miles away in new mexico, a place aptly known as the land of enchantment, the break that they had been praying for. in albuquerque, in one of the city's tougher neighborhoods, a waitress was driving her suv down the street with her three daughters just after dusk when they saw a young woman .
>> we were sitting at the light and the girl comes running across the street and my daughter in the front seat says that she doesn't have any clothes on.
>> that's kind of weird, you see a naked woman running across the street .
>> yes. we were watching her run into the restaurant. my daughter was ready to jump out the car. i'm like, no, no, no, we'll go over there and see what is going on.
>> it was clear, she says, the young woman was in trouble, frantically trying to get help from someone inside the restaurant across the street .
>> no one helped her because we pulled around there and my daughter got out of the car and met her at the door and brought her over to the car.
>> to your car?
>> and that's when she said, he's got a knife. he's trying to kill me.
>> the woman said she had been kidnapped but had escaped.
>> i told her, get in the car, lock the door, that i wouldn't let anybody hurt her.
>> how scared were you?
>> my tire iron is in the front seat of the car. my kids are in the car. i'm not going to let anyone hurt us.
>> but then the young woman saw something back out in the street that made her scream. he was back. the man that kidnapped her was looking for her.
>> she sees him. he pointed at him. he was sitting at the light.
>> the person that kidnapped her?
>> that kidnapped her.
>> it was true. the man with the knife had come to find her. dara called 911. she described the man, his red compact car . within minutes, police were there.
>> a lot of people wouldn't have stopped. a lot of people didn't stop.
>> no, nobody stopped. there was a lot of traffic.
>> they weren't even helping her in the restaurant. she was in the restaurant at the counter talking to someone.
>> who was this young woman ? blond, blue-eyed, abducted on her neck which she says was a mark from her kidnapper's knife.
>> she was a college student . not from oregon but from russia. and the story this 22-year-old told officers was pretty incredible. she was walking home from work down this street , near the university of new mexico campus. she noticed a small, red car parked near the curb and a man standing next to it, but she didn't think much of it. walked right past. a few steps later she felt someone grab her from behind and hold a knife to her throat. inside the car, she was sexually assaulted and then her abductor stopped at these apartments, tied her up with her own shoe laces and went inside. incredibly, the woman was able to wriggle free, left the shoelaces lying in the parking lot and ran into the street with no clothes on, where she was rescued by dara.
>> what made you want to help? what made you want to stop?
>> my upbringing, the way we are raised, i feel god put me here for a reason to help that girl because he knew we would help her.
>> it was gutsy as hell. i think she's a hero, dara is the hero that night.
>> theresa watley is the prosecutor who would handle the case for the district attorney's office.
>> had they not been there, he would have picked her up again.
>> he was waiting. he was lurking right there. there was no question what he was waiting for.
>> but though the victim was now safe, her attacker was still on the loose. the young woman gave an incredibly detailed description of the man and of his car.
>> she described the car seats down to the detail. she described the tinted windows . she described the fact that the car was two-door, that it was red.
>> and the victim remembered something else, a small, stuffed animal on the car side window. enter albuquerque police officer ed taylor. he showed up at the scene, ready to help track down the bad guy. first stop, the apartments where the victim escaped from her kidnapper.
>> so you go to the door of the apartment. who answers?
>> it's a female. but we went inside the apartment and right off the bat, you could tell she was not going to be helpful at all.
>> not cooperative?
>> not cooperative. she did tell us that she knew him as joe and he spoke spanish and that was about it.
>> the name joe, he spoke spanish, would it be enough to find him? and four states away, as you're about to see, would it be enough to help find brooke ?