Joel Patrick Courtney was born June 2, 1966. He grew up in the Portland area.
According to information one of his sisters gave to investigators, Courtney started using drugs at age 11. He was sent to juvenile detention at 15. About that time, he became interested in Satanism.
One night when his sister was 14, she said she awoke to find Courtney on top of her. He was partly undressed and had his hands around her throat. She hit him on the head with a clock to get him to stop.
A cousin of Courtney's told investigators of four separate times during her youth that Courtney had tried to sexually assault her. The incidents happened when she was 12 to 17 years old and Courtney was between 14 and 19 years old.
Once, in about 1983, she woke to find Courtney, naked, straddling her. He left when someone walked down the hall.
A year or two later, she was at her grandparents' home in Burbank, Calif., when she woke up to find Courtney touching her breasts. Several years after that, she was asleep at the home of Courtney's sister, and he started to unbutton her blouse. She was too afraid of Courtney to tell anyone what he'd done.
At 19, Courtney was convicted of first-degree sex abuse and first-degree attempted rape. A female friend was driving him home from a party when Courtney, who had been drinking and using drugs, started groping her. He punched her in the face and when she stopped the vehicle, he tried to force her out of her clothes. The woman was able to convince Courtney that she wanted to go back to the party, and she ended up driving him home.
In the early 1990s, Courtney married. He and his wife had three children. For a time, they lived in the Albuquerque area.
In April 2004, they moved in with Courtney's brother- and sister-in-law in Portland.
Courtney's brother-in-law, Jesus Ordaz, convinced his employer to hire Courtney. Courtney started working for Creative Building Maintenance in May. The minivan that Courtney was driving when he abducted Brooke Wilberger belonged to CBS.
In June 2004, Courtney's wife left Oregon without him and returned to New Mexico. He showed up at the house two weeks later, and police were called for a domestic disturbance.
Courtney was arrested, but upon his release, he apparently moved in with his family in Rio Rancho, N. M. In November, he was arrested for raping and kidnapping a University of New Mexico student.