Baby Natallya case: Mother’s boyfriend allegedly hid baby’s body for several days

Posted at 11:44 AM, May 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-14 11:44:28-04

WHITE CLOUD, Mich. -- Matthew Bradley was charged Thursday in connection with the death of baby Natallya Rich. Bradley was arraigned on a five-year felony charge of concealing the 4-month-old's death.   He was also charged with a concealed weapon felony in connection with an unrelated outstanding bench warrant.

Natallya's mother, Brittany Rich, said these charges are not harsh enough. She said she wants the truth.

“He left her down there, like she was nothing" she said. "He made me believe that she was somewhere else, and obviously he had had to have done something."

Rich's body was found early Wednesday morning in the basement of her grandmother's White Cloud home. According to probable cause testimony, Bradley admitted he was on drugs such as meth, norco pills, and morphine on the days before and after Natallya died. Investigators found syringes, drug residue, and paraphernalia in the living room of Natallya's grandmother's home, where Bradley was staying.

“I knew that he previously was using drugs, yes, but I thought he was done," Rich said. "He told me he was done. But he also hid the fact when I was pregnant with her. So he’s a really good liar.”

Bradley told investigators he was in charge of watching Natallya on Saturday when her mother went to work. He took a nap, and when he woke up, Natallya was unresponsive. Bradley said he tried CPR on the baby, but it did not work. When Brittany came home from work, he told her the baby was sleeping and hid Natallya's bod-- in her car seat -- in the crawl space of their basement.

Bradley said he was too afraid to tell anyone. Ruth Byrd, Bradley's aunt, said she is not blaming Bradley or Rich but said drugs are an issue in this case.

“Don’t page him as a murderer without knowing exactly what happened," said Byrd. "Just give him a chance: if he did do something wrong, he should be punished. But if not, then they need help, for the drugs and everything else. And, as you heard, I said they need help.”

Rich and Bradley were arrested in Big Rapids Tuesday night. Rich said when she was in handcuffs in a patrol car, a police officer told her that her four-month-old baby girl was dead.

Natallya Rich (Courtesy Photo)

Natallya Rich (Courtesy Photo)

"He had to have done it, he’s the one," she said. "And besides, he told the deputy she was dead in her car seat, so something had to have happened. So I keep telling everyon, regardless he should have called 911."

More details on the cause of baby Natallya's death are expected after her autopsy, which was scheduled for Thursday morning.   Officials said it could take up to one month to get autopsy results.

Bradley is currently being held on a $150,000 bond, higher than usual because of his past criminal record, having broken his previous bond conditions by using drugs, and the worry that he is a flight risk. In a previous, unrelated investigation, Bradley fled to Germany to evade police.  He is scheduled back in court May 28 for the concealing death charge.