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

Published On: May 22 2014 09:09:00 PM CDT
Mother of mummified baby: 'It was like a bad dream'
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.