Peggy Ann Bradnick to talk about life after kidnapping

The cover of the July 16, 1966 Saturday Evening Post depicted Bradnick.

The Shade Gap teenager who was kidnapped by a mountain man in 1966 and rescued a week later is now a grandmother. Peggy Ann Bradnick Jackson, 62, will be in State Line April 21 to tell her story on life since that harrowing time. She will be the guest of the Middleburg/Mason-Dixon Historical Society and speak at 7 p.m. at the State Line Ruritan Building. The public is invited.

Bradnick, then 17, was snatched by William Diller Hollenbaugh as she and her five younger siblings walked home from the school bus stop. The man had already spent 20 years in prison and an insane asylum, and was known to locals as “The Bicycle Man”. The largest manhunt in Pennsylvania history to that date involved over 1,000 federal, state and local law officers. By the time Bradnick was rescued, an FBI agent was dead, a deputy sheriff was injured, and finally Hollenbaugh was killed.

Speaking out

Bradnick’s first public appearance to talk about her past occurred at the Fulton County Historical Society’s Fall Folk Festival in October 2008.

“I was asked to go public,” she said recently from her Three Springs home. “They thought it would be a good idea so I said yes.”

Since then, Bradnick has addressed over 150 audiences, from school children to senior citizens.

“It’s been very healing for me,” she continued. “It’s made me extend myself far beyond what I imagined, and it’s been a blessing.”

Her experience taught her that life was precious and that good could come from bad.

“I get to share that good with the rest of the world, about something I hope they never have to experience.”

Bradnick said she was raised in a Christian family, and her faith was stronger after that pivotal week. She uses her speaking engagements to tell people a real God exists.

Bradnick worked as a beautician, and as general manager of an area aging office. Recently retired, she now works part-time for a home nursing agency.

Her story was published in the true crime book Deadly Pursuit; in the NBC movie of the week, Cry in the Wild: The Taking of Peggy Ann; and in numerous national magazines and newspaper articles.