Colorado Nurse Julie Ann Kilgore Escaped from Kidnapper on New Year's Day

(Brighton Police Department)
(AP/Brighton Police Department)
(AP Photo/Rich Abrahamson)
BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS/AP) Julie Ann Kilgore's mother says her daughter is still emotionally traumatized by her four-day ordeal at the hands of her ex-fiance Dennis Gene Cox.

Photo: Julie Ann Kilgore.

Kilgore, a nurse, was kidnapped at gunpoint on Dec. 29 from her Brighton, Colo., home just outside of Denver while she was watching her 7-year-old niece, according to Brighton police.

Her former fiance handcuffed her, tied her ankles, taped her mouth and made her lie down in the backseat as he drove for hours, police said. She eventually escaped on New Year's Day when he left her in a motel in Laramie, Wyo.

Photo: Dennis Cox's mug shot provided by Brighton Police.

A manhunt was launched and Cox was gunned down later that day by Fort Collins police after he allegedly pointed a gun at them while they tried to arrest him. Authorities were not sure how he got back to Fort Collins, Colo., after leaving his car in Wyoming.

Kilgore told The Denver Post that Cox had a vacant look in his eyes that she had never seen before as he told her "this can go one of two ways. You can come with me willingly, or I'll put a gun to your head and put a bullet in your head."

Photo: Fort Collins police investigate the scene where kidnapping suspect Dennis Cox was gunned down.

She said that the two had argued a few days before and she had asked him to stay with his mother for a few days to give her space, but he apparently took this as a precursor to a break-up and it pushed him over the edge.

Cox first took her to a hotel in Wheat Ridge, Colo. where he raped her and told her that he would kill her if she tried to run because he could not live without her, Kilgore said. After seeing reports about the abduction on the news, she said Cox moved them a few times before finally ending up at a Ramada Inn in Laramie, 135 miles north of Brighton.

Kilgore and Cox were junior high sweethearts who dated on and off in high school before she refused his marriage proposal and he joined the Marines. They reunited after meeting again at a 2008 high school reunion and a romance blossomed quickly.

At times Cox was caring during the ordeal, Kilgore said, bringing her carrot juice and telling her to hide if the cops found them and bullets starting flying. But he also told Kilgore more than once that he would kill her the next day at 10 a.m. only to change his mind when the time came. She also says he raped her repeatedly.

Kilgore's mother, Colleen, told the Associated Press that her daughter was in survival mode and was only just beginning to be able to talk about the ordeal. She also said that the family never saw this coming. "The person we are reading about in the paper and on TV is not the Dennis we knew," she said.

Kilgore told the Denver Post that she had no idea about the extent of Cox's checkered past. Cox lived in Durango, Colo., before moving to Brighton to be with Kilgore, according to The Denver Post. He was married three times and arrested 41 times for various charges ranging from domestic violence to drug possession.

He had just been released from parole for a menacing charge when he met Kilgore at the 2008 reunion.