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(NewsNation) — Cynthia Bradford, a former tenant and neighbor of serial rape suspect Sean Williams, told NewsNation she knew “something was not right” about the man, saying he hosted large parties fueled by drugs and alcohol and seemed “a little odd.”
NewsNation correspondent Brooke Shafer reported from Greeneville, Tennessee, speaking with Bradford about her interactions with Williams and the parties he held.
“I never went up there, but he would post them on social media,” she said. “He would open up the refrigerator and have it full of alcohol. And then he would go into the bathroom and say, ‘This is the powder room.’ And of course, there was cocaine.”
A manhunt is currently underway for Williams, who escaped from a prison transport van while on the way to the U.S. District Courthouse in Greeneville, Tennessee, last month.
He faces charges including production of child pornography, child rape, aggravated sexual assault and sexual exploitation of a minor.
Williams is alleged to have drugged and raped several women at the large parties he threw at the downtown Johnson City apartment building where Williams was in effect Bradford’s landlord.
Bradford recalled a time when Williams tried to fix something in her condo, and “he shook the whole entire time.”
“I was, like, OK, something’s not right,” she said.
Bradford noticed that it was largely young women who were attending these parties.
“Women would run onto our floor. People would knock on our doors trying to find the party,” Bradford said.
But the real beginning of the story can be traced to Sept. 19, 2020, when a woman named Mikayla Evans fell out of a window at Williams’ fifth-floor apartment.
Bradford told NewsNation she was home when that happened. She said that she heard the screams and then immediately everyone in the building went outside. They saw this woman on the sidewalk, and then the police arrived.
“I heard it the night she fell because everybody came flying off his floor,” she said. “And supposedly nobody saw anything. It happened right down here.”
“Yeah, we all heard it. It woke us all up,” Bradford said. “I had a little dog at the time. He started going crazy. The whole street was roped off. And when I ran down, the police was holding the side door and she was lying on the sidewalk.”
Evans, the woman who fell to the sidewalk, appeared Wednesday on NewsNation’s “Banfield,” saying exclusively that she believes Williams drugged and attempted to assault her before she was “possibly” pushed out of the window.
“I broke all of my fingers and all of my toes. I pretty much shattered my right foot; most of it is made with plates and screws,” Evans said, explaining the injuries she’s suffered.
Bradford told NewsNation that Williams apparently threatened her after this, trying to tell her not to speak to the police.
Jamie Mosley, the jailer of the Laurel County Correctional Center, said Williams may have managed to escape police custody utilizing a paper clip.
“Further investigation has revealed that he potentially may have used a paper clip that was discovered in the van where the inmate was seated to free himself from the restraints,” Mosley said.
Bradford was not surprised Williams was able to escape.
She said police would sometimes come to their building and Williams would try to hide by climbing up into the air ducts or even the elevator shaft.
“Do I think he could get out of cuffs? Yes,” Bradford said. “Because he would crawl through the duct system, he would crawl through the elevator shaft. Why? Because that’s how he would try to get away. Sean is very, he’s, he’s weird, but he’s kind of got a mastermind. So do I think he was able to get out of cuffs? Yes. But though I think he paid people off, absolutely.”
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.
Liz Jassin and NewsNation affiliate WJHL’s Jeff Keeling contributed to this report.
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Author: Tom Palmer