• GBI: Man kidnapped 3 near Georgia Southern, sexually assaulted 2, killed himself

    By: Steve Burns, The Atlanta Journal-Constiution , Wendy Corona

    Updated:

    Three Georgia Southern University students are safe Tuesday after a man kidnapped then sexually assaulted two of them, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

    Bradley Justin Cochran, who was wanted on kidnapping charges in Bulloch County and sexual assault charges in Candler County, was found late Monday morning in Metter, about 187 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta, according to a statement from the Candler County Sheriff’s Office.

    “The suspect was found deceased (from an) apparent suicide,” Statesboro police said in a tweet. “There is no further danger to the public regarding this incident.”

    The GBI is conducting the investigation with Statesboro police and the Candler County Sheriff’s Office.

    According to GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles, Cochran “forcefully entered a vehicle occupied by three females” late Sunday. He was armed with a knife, she said.


    TRENDING STORIES:


    Once inside the vehicle, he allegedly forced the women to drive from the parking of a Bulloch County grocery store to Candler County. There, “he sexually assaulted two of the female occupants,” Miles said. “The females fled the vehicle on foot and the suspect fled the area in the stolen vehicle.”

    "He had a knife. I don't know what else you can do. I'm not going to second-guess them because they made what they thought was a life or death decision doing what he said. I don't blame them," Josh Ayer with the GBI told Channel 2's Wendy Corona.

    Cochran was found just after 10:15 a.m. Monday.

    Investigators said it does not appear Cochran knew the victims, which is unusual with this type of crime.

    "It's very rare that you have something like this and even with all the experience in this office, it's very rare for them," Ayer said.

    He will be taken to the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office in Savannah to determine the official cause and manner of death, Miles said.

    Georgia Southern issued an alert to students about the abduction, which occurred about 9 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot of the Food World on Fair Road, the university said in a tweet.  

    Our partners at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.

    Next Up: