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Murder victim's daughter relieved after month-long manhunt comes to an end

Nicholas Rucker arrested near where body was found
Posted at 6:07 PM, Jul 05, 2019

KNOX COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — A month-long manhunt led to the arrest of a man accused in his girlfriend, Vicki Conner's murder. Now, Conner's daughter is speaking out about the mother she misses every day.

Ashley Burke told LEX 18's Mike Valente that she refuses to let her mother's life and legacy be defined by her final moments.

"She wanted to help everybody, she wanted to see the best in everybody, she wanted to fix everything," said Burke.

One of the things Conner hoped to fix was the often turbulent relationship with her on-again off-again boyfriend, 38-year-old Nicholas Rucker. Burke said that in public, Rucker would often flatter her mother, but Burke said that Rucker had a mean streak. Behind closed doors, Burke said there were instances of abuse, and she tried to convince her mother to leave Rucker.

"Mom, just come home, 'No, no it'll be okay, he's just upset about this,or he's going through a lot,'" said Burke.

When Burke received the devastating call about her mother's death, she had no doubt that Rucker was responsible.

"It was the most painful, heartbreaking moment I think I've ever gone through," she said.

For the next month, Burke and her family were on edge as Rucker was on the run. She was worried that he would hurt someone else. Burke said her children didn't even want to go outside. That anguish subsided somewhat on July 4, when police cornered Rucker and arrested him, not far from where Conner was found dead.

The pain isn't gone, but Burke said the fear has been replaced with hope.

"Everybody's safe now, the kids can feel safe again. We're okay," she said.

Rucker is scheduled to be arraigned on several charges, including murder, in Knox County on Monday.