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California woman Jessica Nicole Bradford accused of letting baby die

10:38 AM, Nov 9, 2011   |    comments
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WHITMORE, Calif. (CBS13) - A 23-year-old woman gave birth to a baby and then neglected it for about four days until it died, according to the Shasta County Sheriff's Office.

Jessica Nicole Bradford gave birth to the baby girl at Julian Academy near Whitmore, where she worked, on or about Sept. 9, but kept her hidden from anyone, the sheriff's office said. She is being charged with murder and willful injury to a child.

Bradford admitted that she kept the pregnancy hidden from everyone she knew including her boyfriend of three years, the sheriff's office said.

According to the sheriff's office, Bradford said she thought about giving the baby up for adoption but chose not to for various reasons. Bradford admitted she neglected to care for the baby by not feeding it or being able to provide breast milk for feeding and admitted she did not tell anybody, including her family, about the baby for fear of scrutiny, the sheriff's office said.

Bradford reportedly kept the baby in a vacant residence on the campus for troubled teens for four days and would check on the baby periodically while she still worked, visited with her boyfriend and drove to Redding for personal business on at least two occasions. Bradford told Detective Brian Jackson she tried to provide the baby some water when the baby cried. She did not tell her boyfriend about the baby because she did not want to affect his life and her life, he said.

Bradford did not name the baby so there was no personal attachment, the sheriff's office said.

After the baby's death, Bradford reportedly kept the child hidden in her room in a laundry basket for about a month and a half until the baby was seen by another staff member. Bradford moved the baby into a utility closet Friday, where the baby was ultimately located by school staff, the sheriff's office said. Bradford was arrested on Sunday.

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

Bradford remains in custody at the Shasta County Jail on $1 million bail and is expected to be arraigned on Wednesday.

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