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Woman held in death of baby found hidden at Christian school

November 9, 2011 |  9:15 pm

Jessica Nicole Bradford, 23A Shasta County woman has been arrested on suspicion of failing to feed her newborn daughter until she died, authorities said Wednesday.

Jessica Nicole Bradford, 23, kept the baby hidden after she was born Sept. 19 and allegedly neglected the infant, who died four days later, the Shasta County Sheriff's Department said.

"Bradford admitted she neglected to care for the baby by not feeding it or being able to provide breast milk for feeding," Sgt. Steve Grashoff said in a statement.

Bradford made a court appearance Wednesday, but she did not enter a plea and was assigned a public defender, according to online Shasta County Superior Court records.

After the baby died, Bradford allegedly hid the body in a laundry basket in a vacant room at the Julian Youth Academy, a Christian boarding school for troubled teens in Whitmore, where she worked, according to the Sheriff's Department. The body was found about six weeks later by a worker at the school.

"The baby was in a mummified state of decomposition," the statement said. "Bradford stated she did not name the baby so there was no personal attachment."

Bradford allegedly told investigators that she checked on the infant periodically and gave her water when she cried. The department said Bradford kept her pregnancy secret, including from her boyfriend of three years "because she did not want to affect his life and her life."

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-- Robert J. Lopez
twitter.com/LAJourno

Photo: Jessica Nicole Bradford. Credit: Shasta County Sheriff's Department

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