HUNTINGDON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — When Peggy Ann Bradnick Jackson visited Shade Gap earlier in May to talk about her kidnapping in 1966, she said she wanted to start by talking about the FBI agent who gave his life trying to save her.
“Terry Anderson is truly my hero. Amazing man, a father of four, and I wonder why his life was taken so quickly and so abruptly,” Peggy said.
Peggy stood by a memorial for Anderson located on church grounds along Route 522 as she spoke further about his sacrifice to help save her.
“I will always feel bad about his death, and I will always advocate for mental health because no one should ever have to leave this earth like Terry Anderson did,” Peggy explained.
After Peggy’s kidnapper William Hollenbaugh shot and killed Anderson in front of her, he made it clear to her that he had no remorse.
“He was a killer, and he did not care he danced around and chatted and celebrated killing Terry Anderson,” she recalled. “He even fired shots in the air as if to say great kill.”
Hollenbaugh also shot and wounded a deputy sheriff and one of the search dogs that were part of the massive manhunt that swelled to more than 1,000 people over the eight days he held Peggy captive.
During that time, Hollenbaugh and Peggy, who was barefoot and chained to him, were on the move frequently. Hollenbaugh had stocked supplies in various spots and at one point, he burglarized a cabin.
The kidnapping was something he had plotted for a long time, she pointed out.
“He planned it,” Peggy said. “He had acted out on it for three years. He made that very known to me.”
That was apparent almost right from the start when after dragging her off the road and into the woods, he forced her to put on different clothes to cover her red dress.
“It was laid out very well and he came prepared to take me on this trip because he had an extra set of clothes and an extra set of boots,” Peggy said.
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Hollenbaugh was killed in a shootout with state police after they were spotted at a farm near Burnt Cabins, Fulton County.
The above video is of the Peggy Ann Bradnick exhibit on display at the Pennsylvania State Police History, Educational and Memorial Center in Hershey, PA. The exhibit features artifacts from the abduction including old photos and memorabilia surrounding the case at the time.
Despite all that she endured and everything she saw Hollenbaugh do over those eight days, Peggy could see that he was suffering.
“He was a very very sick mentally ill person, but I still had compassion because we weren’t brought up to be hateful and mean if someone limped or didn’t look like you or act like you” Peggy said. “We were taught to respect them.”
Peggy now uses her unique experience to advocate for people suffering from mental illness, speaking at hundreds of events across the region.
“We see it every day and it is a mental health issue that is causing a lot of violence in this world. And there has to be a cause and reason for that that we’re not getting,” Peggy said. “Know your community, know the people in your community. And when you see flags, don’t be afraid to speak up.”
Part one of The Kidnapping of Peggy Ann Bradnick can be found here.