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Resident reacts to nearby manhunt

Before Collins’ capture, News 10 spoke with a Sullivan County resident who says the man hunt for Collins tracked much too close for comfort.

Posted: Oct. 25, 2017 4:03 PM
Updated: Oct. 25, 2017 4:03 PM

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - The search for 48-year-old Bradley Collins has ended. According to the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, Collins is in custody. Officials say he was driving a stolen grain truck near Dugger that had been reported stolen Monday.

Before Collins’ capture, News 10 spoke with a Sullivan County resident who says the man hunt for Collins tracked much too close for comfort.

In fact, it came as an absolute shock to Hymera resident Vanessa Nickless.

She recalls, "A friend of mine told me over Facebook what was going on and sent me a picture of him. And I was like, 'Oh, that is literally right down the road from my house.'"

Nickless' property is just yards down the road of where a man hunt set out Saturday afternoon in search of 48-year-old Bradley Collins.

Again, Collins is now in custody, but he faces several charges from criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon, to burglary, and more.

Nickless shares what ran through her mind after hearing the news.

She says, "{He} could've ran up to any one of our houses and just forced his way in and held up. My children were home whenever i got the information so that made it even worse. Just the fear aspect of it all."

Up until his arrest, the last place Bradley Collins was seen was near a cemetery just east of Hymera. That is, until police say he fled on foot through a nearby cornfield into a wooded area.

At one point, authorities were looking to a truck stolen in the area as a clue to finding Collins.

Sullivan County Sheriff Clark Cottom shared, "It’s a 1997 Dodge 4x4. Black in color, with a red decal on the side of it that says 'Sport.' The license plate is an Indiana ‘In God We Trust,’ with number ‘RUA275’. That pickup was parked along the side of the road by some gentlemen who were hunting there in the woods. It was very close in proximity where Mr. Collins was last seen."

But after something as rattling as a manhunt just yards from her home, Nickless is being more careful now than ever.

She says, "Staying within close proximity of my kids is kind of my main thing. If they're in the living room, I’m in the living room. If they're in their bedrooms, I’m not far away. I try to let them have their space so it doesn't freak them out. But to keep myself sane I try to stay as close as I can."

Again, the search for 48-year-old Bradley Collins has ended.

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