NewsLocal News


Authorities believe Ohio nurse found alive in Louisiana was kidnapped by suspect in mother's death

Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 10.45.31 AM.png
Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 10.44.57 AM.png
Posted at 10:08 AM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 19:27:29-05

CLEVELAND — Nichole Bronowski, a 45-year-old Akron Children’s Hospital nurse who had been missing for nearly a week, was found alive at a Louisiana hotel where FBI agents executed an arrest warrant Tuesday for a suspect wanted in her mother's death.

James Hawley, 47, of Cleveland, was identified as the suspect in the death of Bronowski's mother, 69-year-old Norma Matko, who was shot and killed on Thanksgiving at her home in Barnesville, about 115 miles southeast of Cuyahoga Falls.

After Matko's death, authorities in Belmont County notified the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department of their mother-daughter connection, believing Bronowski could be in danger.

Over the weekend, authorities determined Hawley was traveling with Bronowski, who was believed to have been kidnapped and taken to Louisiana, according to Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jeffrey Fortunato.

On Tuesday night, Hawley and Bronowski were found at a hotel in Pineville, Louisiana, where the FBI and multiple law enforcement agencies executed an arrest warrant for Hawley.

During the execution of the arrest warrant, Hawley was shot and killed by FBI agents. An FBI agent was wounded in the shooting.

Investigators determined that the suspect posted numerous photos of himself with firearms on social media, with statements saying he wanted "to kill some cops.” Being a felon and in possession of firearms, the FBI pursued federal charges.

While they didn't elaborate on the relationship between Hawley and Bronowski, police did say there was a relationship between the two.

The murder of Matko hit close to home for deputies and officers in Belmont County.

"These were good people, are good people. We live beside them. It does come home,” said Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas, holding back tears during Wednesday briefing to reporters.

Cuyahoga Falls Police Chief Jack Davis said he couldn't have asked for a better collaboration between departments to ensure the safe return of Bronowski.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better result than her being alive. She has been through a lot…she is going to need time to heal from this ordeal,” said Davis.

The Belmont County Sheriff's Office held a news conference on this case at 11:30 a.m. Re-watch it live in the media player below:

Belmont County Sheriff's Office gives update on missing nurse found alive

No additional details were given as to the motive behind the murder and kidnapping.

The case remains under investigation.

Bronowski is employed by Akron Children's Hospital as a clinical coordinator and a district nurse for Akron Public Schools.

Akron Public Schools Superintendent David W. James, Ed.D. released this statement on Wednesay: "Akron Public Schools is grateful and relieved that Nichole is safe. Our best thoughts are with her and her family as they reunite and process all that has happened in the last week."

RELATED: FBI joins search for 45-year-old missing nurse from Cuyahoga Falls

The Akron Beacon Journal contributed to this report.

Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.

You can also catch News 5 Cleveland on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube TV, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu Live and more. We're also on Amazon Alexa devices. Learn more about our streaming options here.