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Jessica Nicole BRADFORD





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Infanticide
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: September 23, 2011
Date of arrest: November 7, 2011
Date of birth: 1988
Victim profile: Her 4-day-old daughter
Method of murder: Starvation
Location: Whitmore, Shasta County, California, USA
Status: Convicted of first degree murder on June 5, 2014

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Guilty verdict in mummified baby case

By Nate Hauser -

June 06, 2014

REDDING, Calif. - A Shasta County jury found Jessica Bradford guilty of first-degree murder Friday in the death of her baby girl.

The jury returned a verdict of guilty after deliberating for a day and a half. The jury returned yesterday and told the judge they were deadlocked on the issue. The judge ordered the jury to continue deliberations leading to the unanimous verdict today.

Jessica Bradford was accused of giving birth to a baby girl then hiding the body until it was found 48 days later, mummified, in a laundry basket.

The story made national headlines when it was brought to light in November 2011.

Bradford, who was 23-years-old at the time was an employee at the Julian Youth Academy in Whitmore. Julian Youth Academy was a private, Christian school for troubled teens.

Sentencing will be conducted July 25.


Emotional closing arguments in mummified baby trial

By Shay Arthur -

June 4, 2014

REDDING, Calif. - Attorneys gave their final pitches to jurors Wednesday in the Jessica Bradford murder trial.

The case is now in the hands of the jury as they deliberate the future of Bradford.

The trial wrapped up two weeks earlier than planned and was briefly halted during the middle of closing arguments when a juror was questioned about calling Shasta County Senior Deputy District Attorney Kelly Kafael a "bitch" during the questioning of a witness in open court.

The comment was reported by another juror and confirmed by others that they had heard it.

The juror denied making the comment but the Judge ultimately ruled the juror was lying and dismissed him.

He was replaced with another juror.

Wednesday morning Kafael, wasted no time in her closing arguments saying, "This baby never, ever had a chance to live."

Kafael said baby Lily, the infant Bradford is accused of killing was an "it" to her.

"It was a not child to her," continued Kafael.

According to the Senior DA, Bradford knew what labor was and was well aware she was pregnant.

Kafael heatedly told the jury, "She took better care of her hamster."

Kafael said at least the hamster had a name, food and water and that the hamster lived next to Bradford's bed, while the mummified baby was in a pile of clothes on the floor.

Kafael called Bradford selfish.

"This is all about her."

Kafael said during the time of the baby's short life Bradford went to Winco, where food and milk were readily available for the baby.

But she didn't buy anything for the child, instead she drank alcohol and ate cookies.

Kafael explained it is a parent's legal duty to help, care for and rescue their child.

She said failing to do so equates to the killing of a child.

Kafael also explained the baby was only named Lily because Bradford was forced to name her after the autopsy and that Bradford showed no remorse.

Kafael also told the jury at one point Bradford admitted to investigators she starved the baby.

The DA said the fact that Bradford told investigators she was weighing her options indicates premeditated murder.

Kafael said there is no mental defense Bradford didn't know what to do. She was an adult.

In his closing argument, defense attorney, Johnathan Jordan argued Bradford should not be found guilty of first degree murder. Jordan said if Bradford really wanted to kill the baby, all she would have to do is walk 30 feet and dump her in the woods and leave.

"I can tell you there are enough animals there to take care of it," said Jordan.

But he said she didn't do that because that's what a murderer does and she's not a murderer.

At the time of the baby's death Bradford was working at the Julian Youth Academy in Whitmore, which is located in an isolated area.

Jordan argued for murder charges to apply you have to believe she wanted to kill her baby but said there's still no direct evidence indicating exactly how the baby died.

Jordan said his client tried to breastfeed and give the baby water but she didn't want to hurt it. The attorney also said the case of Bradford giving birth before and the baby dying is a completely different situation and should not be compared to the case at hand.

Jordan questioned the murder charge, saying, "When you murder a baby do you keep it in your bedroom?"

Jordan told the jury, "I don't believe any crime was committed except [Jessica] being who she is. She did the best she could."

Besides first degree murder, Bradford could also be convicted of second degree murder or involuntary manslaughter.


Mother of mummified baby: 'It was like a bad dream'

By Kate Hackett -

May 22, 2014

REDDING, Calif. - An emotional day in court Thursday for the woman accused of murder due to letting her baby starve to death.

Jessica Bradford was arrested at the Julian Youth Academy in Whitmore in November 2011.

She told investigators she had the baby in September that year, under a deck at the school without anyone knowing.

Bradford later admitted she hid the baby for four days before the baby died.

48 days after Bradford gave birth, the baby was found mummified and hidden in her laundry basket.

Bradford was 23-years-old when she was arrested.

Tearful testimony during the murder trial Thursday as Bradford’s good friend and boss, Tiffany Morgan, took the stand.

Morgan is an expecting mother. Her emotions overwhelmed her in the courtroom, bringing tears as she testified.

Morgan told the jury two staff members came to her in November 2011, saying they had found a dead baby inside Bradford's room, wrapped in a blanket and hidden inside a laundry basket.

When the prosecutor mentioned how emotional Morgan seemed, she replied "I haven't seen or talked to her" and “I miss her.”

That's when Bradford also began openly weeping.

As Morgan left the courtroom, she mouthed "I love you" to Bradford.

The prosecution then played a second interrogation tape Thursday.

On it, Bradford admitted that she tried breast feeding the child after giving birth, but she wasn't producing milk. So, she tried giving the baby water by dipping her finger in the liquid and putting it in the infant's mouth.

A professor of pediatrics from UC Davis Medical Center then testified that a baby could only be expected to live three or four days without nourishment.

On both interrogation tapes, Bradford told investigators her baby lived four days.

When grilled by Detective Brian Jackson as to how many times Bradford would check on the deceased baby girl, left wrapped in a blanket and hidden in a laundry basket, Bradford said she didn't go to look at the body kept in her room. She replied, "I couldn't look at her, I was so ashamed."

When asked why she didn't name the baby that lived for only four days, Bradford answered "I feel like if I named her then it was real" and "I couldn't name her after all the stuff I did to her."

Bradford called the whole experience of being pregnant, giving birth and allegedly hiding the death of her days-old baby "a bad dream."

A final question posed by the detective to the mother standing trial for her baby's murder - why did Bradford keep the baby’s corpse hidden for nearly two months?

Bradford's answered "because I didn't want to let go of her.”

Prosecutors also played a surveillance video of Bradford along with her boyfriend, Jovan Castillo – the uninformed new father, inside a Redding grocery store.

The video was taken just 14 hours after Bradford had secretly given birth under the deck on the school’s campus.

The tape shows the pair buying something. Bradford admitted to investigators on the interrogation tape that what the pair had purchased was alcohol.

The murder trial will continue Tuesday morning at the Shasta County courthouse.


Mother of mummified baby: ‘I didn't name her’

Interrogation tape played, boyfriend testifies

By Kate Hackett -

May 21, 2014

REDDING, Calif. - Prosecutors in the Jessica Bradford mummified-baby murder trial played an interview tape to jurors Wednesday during the second day of trial.

Bradford is accused of not caring for her baby, which lead to her starving to death.

The defendant was arrested in November of 2011 at the Julian Youth Academy in Whitmore, after a mummified baby was found hidden in a blanket and kept in a laundry basket.

Bradford told investigators she had the baby in September that year, under a deck at the school, and didn’t tell anyone.

Bradford later admitted she hid the baby throughout the school campus and in her car for four days before the baby died.

The baby was uncovered 48 days after Bradford gave birth.

Those in the courtroom Wednesday learned new details heard on her interrogation tape.

Bradford spoke about being adopted herself.

Adoption was something Bradford had looked into when she first learned she was pregnant. Bradford said on the video after she first felt the baby kick, she began Googling “adoption and safe surrender sites.”

Bradford went on to say after she gave birth she even started making the drive to Chico, to give the baby over to a surrender site, but she kept looking down at the baby thinking, “I can't give her away."

Three separate times during the interrogation, a Shasta County detective asked what the baby’s name was. Bradford replied "I didn't name her" and “I don’t know.”

The decision to name the baby Lilly happened after the interrogation interview, which was nearly two months since the birth and death of the child.

The baby was finally given a name because the detective told Bradford she'd need to provide a name to the coroner.

When the detectives questioned Bradford as to why she didn't tell anyone about being pregnant or seek help, Bradford said, “I didn't know what to do. I was scared."

Bradford also said she kept the pregnancy a secret because she “didn't want to disappoint anyone, my family and boss and stuff."

She went on to say her religion played a part in her not wanting anyone to know she was pregnant, "I grew up in a Christian home, don't have sex until you're married."

Bradford then walked the detectives through how she managed to give birth on campus, underneath a deck, and keep it quiet.

She stated that after having contractions on September 19, 2011 she went where no one would see or hear her and, "stood up and she dropped out."

Bradford admitted to detectives she then spent the night in her car with her baby and "held her because I was so devastated."

The baby’s father, Bradford’s boyfriend, Jovan Castillo also took the stand Wednesday. He testified he thought his girlfriend was on birth control, and that she had even, "showed me a packet of pills."

When asked if he ever knew Bradford was pregnant, Castillo said he, “had noticed she gained weight” but the thought of her actually being pregnant - for the second time - “never crossed my mind."

The baby’s father also told the jury that if he had known about his girlfriend being pregnant and giving birth, he would have kept and cared for the baby girl.

The murder trial is set to continue Thursday at the Shasta County Courthouse.


Mother arraigned in death of newborn; baby starved to death in Whitmore, report says

By Jim Schultz -

November 9, 2011

As her parents sat discreetly in the back row of the courtroom, a 23-year-old woman accused of murdering her 4-day-old daughter was arraigned Wednesday in Shasta County Superior Court.

It did not appear that Jessica Nicole Bradford made eye contact with her parents, who quickly left the courtroom following her brief appearance before Superior Court Judge James Ruggiero.

"They are devastated," said Shasta County sheriff's Detective Eric Magrini, who flew down to the San Diego area earlier this week to talk to the parents and to also interview other family members and childhood friends of Bradford. "It's been very hard on them."

None of those interviewed, he said, had been aware that Bradford had been pregnant, including her parents.

"The joy of being grandparents was taken from them," Magrini said.

Bradford, who did not enter a plea and is scheduled to return to court on Nov. 16 for further arraignment, is charged with murder, child abuse and a related enhancement.

She faces life in prison if convicted, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Kelly Kafel, who is prosecuting the case.

Kafel said the circumstances surrounding Bradford's case are hard to bear.

"It's heartbreaking," she said. "A victim doesn't get any more innocent."

Deputies arrested Bradford on Monday for allegedly allowing her 4-day-old daughter to starve to death.

"It's unbelievable," said sheriff's Sgt. Steve Grashoff, saying the case is among the most gruesome and troubling he's encountered during his 21-year law enforcement career.

"It's one of them," he said.

As investigators continue to interview witnesses and develop more information, Detective Brian Jackson said the baby's mummified body was found Sunday afternoon at the Julian Youth Academy in the 12000 block of Tintagel Lane in Whitmore after a school employee alerted authorities.

Bradford is a former student at the private Christian boarding school for troubled teens and had been a staff worker there for about three or four years.

According to a sheriff's two-page summary of events filed Wednesday in Superior Court, a woman identified as Tiffany Morgan called an emergency dispatcher around 5:45 p.m. on Sunday.

She told authorities a dead baby had apparently been seen in a staff member's room inside a laundry basket around 11:30 p.m. Friday while other staff members were looking for a blanket.

Although it's still not clear why deputies were not alerted earlier, Bradford told detectives she gave birth to the child on Sept. 19, but believed the baby was stillborn.

Bradford said she kept the baby hidden in a laundry basket in her room for about a month and a half after she died, but moved the body into a utility closet Friday after realizing the blankets covering her had been disturbed that day.

She said she did not tell anyone that she was pregnant, including her boyfriend of about three years, who has not been identified.

Kafel said Bradford apparently was able to hide her pregnancy by wearing baggy clothes.

During subsequent interviews with investigators, however, Bradford changed her story, admitting the baby was not stillborn and had lived for about four days, the sheriff's report said.

Although she had thoughts of giving the baby up for adoption, she chose not to for various reasons, the sheriff's report added.

Bradford told deputies she kept the baby in a vacant residence on campus and would occasionally check on it.

She continued to go to work, see her boyfriend and drove to Redding at least twice for personal business, the report said.

She told sheriff's investigators she didn't feed the baby, but tried to give the girl water when she cried, the sheriff's report said.

"Bradford admitted she neglected to care for the baby by not feeding it or being able to provide breast milk for feeding," the sheriff's report said.

Bradford also told detectives she never told anyone about the baby or her pregnancy because she feared she would lose her job and her lifestyle.

"She did not want to tell her boyfriend about the baby because she did not want to affect his life and her life," the sheriff's report said.

Bradford is being held in Shasta County jail in lieu of $1 million bail.


'Role model' mother 'starved her newborn infant to death and hid mummified remains at a school'

By Paul Thompson -

November 11, 2011

The baby lived for four days before dying from lack of food and water.

Police said Bradford kept the pregnancy secret from her family and boyfriend of the last three years in Whitmore, California.

Bradford told police she did not give the baby girl a name as she did not want to feel attached to it.

She claimed she thought her daughter was stillborn but admitted to detectives she was alive when she left her alone in an empty room at the Julian Youth Academy.

After the baby died she hid its corpse in a laundry basket in her room, until a co-worker discovered the body and called police.

The sheriff’s office said the baby was a fully-developed, full-term infant and in a mummified state of decomposition.

"It was shocking at least just to see the baby in the condition and given the circumstances that have been reported to us. it was a shocking case and one that we have not seen in some time," said Shasta County Sheriff's Department Det. Brian Jackson.

Bradford worked for a programme at the private Christian school called F.A.C.E.S.S, which stands for Fighting Against Child Exploitation and Sexual Slavery.

She was seen as a role model to young women in the programme and had helped many girls at the school.

Friends said they had no idea she was pregnant and said she always wore baggy clothes.

Even her boyfriend of three years had no idea she was carrying a baby.

An arrest warrant for murder revealed that Bradford said she gave birth to the baby on September 19th under a deck near her dorm room so that no one would hear.

An autopsy was performed on the baby's body at the Shasta County Coroner's office, but because the case is a homicide the Coroner's office is not releasing any information.

Bradford is being held on a charge of murder on $1m bond.



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