Central PA woman abducted in 1966 raised awareness for mental health over the years

Local News

SHADE GAP, Pa. (WTAJ) — Peggy Ann Bradnick was taken in Shade Gap, Pennsylvania back in May of 1966 when she was just 17 years old.

Her kidnapping made national news and at the time it was the largest manhunt in US history.

In the end, while she was rescued, an FBI agent was killed trying to save her.

Peggy Ann Bradnick said in an interview with WTAJ 5 years ago, “I feel marvelous. I feel very happy to be alive and to be spreading the word.”

Peggy also talked about the day her life was saved by a Pennsylvania State Trooper.

55-years ago Peggy Ann Bradnick was walking home from her bus stop with her brothers and sisters when William Diller Hollenbaugh grabbed her and dragged her into the woods.

Hollenbaugh was said to have suffered from mental illness.

Peggy Ann Bradnick said, “I forgave him from the very get-go because you can’t take and blame something that’s blameless. He was blameless, the system failed.”

The manhunt ensued, and while Peggy Ann was not said to have been physically abused or sexually assaulted, the day before her safe return home Hollenbaugh shot and killed an FBI agent who was trying to rescue Peggy Ann.

After 8 days and walking for more than 100 miles barefoot through mountains, with little food or water.

Peggy Ann was safely rescued near burnt cabins, her kidnapper William Diller Hollenbaugh shot and killed.

Peggy Ann Bradnick still lives in Huntingdon county.

She tells WTAJ News that she’s devoted the rest of her life to raising awareness on mental health issues.

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