Police have cordoned off a gravel pit after searchers looking for a missing 19-year-old university student found "a strange discovery" near the Willamette River, a police spokesman said Friday.
"It was enough to call investigators. They secured the area and began again this morning," said Lt. Ron Noble, a spokesman for the Corvallis Police Department. "If this is related to Brooke's disappearance, we don't want to take the chance of missing anything at all."
Noble would not elaborate on what searchers might have found just before dusk on Thursday, and stressed that there was no immediate indication that "there is a person out there." But he said authorities are working with the Oregon State police's crime lab to investigate the scene.
The discovery was made four to five miles away from the apartment complex where 19-year-old Brooke Wilberger was last seen. Wilberger, a student at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, has been missing for four days.
Hundreds of volunteers have been combing the area looking for Wilberger, whose parents live in nearby Veneta, outside Eugene.
The missing woman's mother, Cammy Wilberger, has tried to be positive. She talked about a "girls only" trip she and her daughters had planned to San Francisco this summer.
"We're still hopeful and we think we'll have Brooke with us soon," she said.
Corvallis police have interviewed about a dozen "persons of interest" in Wilberger's disappearance, but none can so far be considered a suspect, Lt. Ron Noble said Thursday.
He also said authorities have fielded over 500 tips from around the country and are continuing to interview sex offenders in two Oregon counties.
Wilberger vanished Monday morning from an apartment complex where her sister lives, leaving behind a pair of flip-flops in a parking lot.
Wilberger was cleaning the bulb covers of the tall lamps that line the complex's parking lot Monday morning when her sister, Stephani Hansen, left to drop off her child at preschool. When Hansen returned about an hour and a half later, her sister was gone, she said.
On the Net: www.findbrooke.com