Baby Natallya’s family reacts to infant’s cause of death

Posted at 10:11 PM, Jul 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-08 22:11:31-04

WHITE CLOUD, Mich. -- A death certificate released Wednesday shows the medical examiner’s findings confirm 4-month-old baby Natallya Rich, who was found dead in a crawlspace in her grandmother’s home in May, died of asphyxiation caused by unsafe sleeping conditions.

“He shouldn’t have been sleeping with her, and he should still pay for what happened,” said baby Natallya’s grandmother, Heidi Thill, said of Matthew Bradley, who pleaded guilty to charges he concealed the baby's death.

“I dream about her all the time,” Thill said.

Bradley admitted he was on drugs when he was watching Natallya, and tried to conceal her death. He pleaded guilty this week to concealing the baby's death, and he's likely going to be sentenced anywhere from 28 months to 7 years in prison for that charge alone.

The family told FOX 17 News that, because of all the lies Bradley told before and after Natallya's death, they aren't sure if they can ever forgive him.

“I don’t know. I guess they say you should forgive. I won’t ever forget, but maybe someday I will be able to forgive. Not today though.”

Thill believes accidents can happen, but the lies Bradley told the family poured salt on the wound.

“All of the stuff that happened before and after. All the running around, and all the lies, it was so crazy,” she said.

Thill said Bradley being on drugs while watching her grandchild, and refusing to tell the family where the baby was, making them believe Natallya was missing is unforgivable.

Thill insists that she and Brittany Rich, her daughter and Natallya's mother, have attended every court proceeding and plan to continue, even if it means reliving that painful day over and over again.

“I just want to see justice for Natallya.”

The night Thill found out her grandchild was dead in her basement, she told FOX 17 News she couldn’t believe it all unfolded in her own house. She still feels that way and is now going to counseling, she said.

The medical examiner ruled Natallya's death an accident and said Natallya was moved into the crawl space after being moved from the prone sleep position. Bradley is expected to be in court again on August 24 for sentencing.