Abused Chester toddler suffered fractured skull, kidney injuries and internal bleeding

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comSeptember 21, 2013 

Jeffery Todd Bradley signs forms during his initial appearance in court on Saturday. The Iraq War veteran is charged with killing 11-month-old Madison Stewart.

JONATHAN MCFADDEN — jmcfadden@heraldonline.com

  • Want to help?

    To donate to Madison Stewart’s burial fund, visit http://www.gofundme.com/4esw2o

— An 11-month-old girl who authorities say died from abuse suffered a fractured skull, kidney injuries and internal bleeding in her eyes, according to a warrant.

Sheriff Alex Underwood has requested assistance from a special victims unit of the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate the case.

Madison Brooke Stewart died at 3:42 p.m. Friday, two days after deputies and paramedics were called to her Hardin Strait Road home, near Lowrys. Madison was in the care of Jeffery Todd Bradley, who has been charged with killing her, according to sheriff’s deputies.

Bradley, deputies say, is the boyfriend of Madison’s mother.

Paramedics rushed Madison to Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte on Wednesday, where she remained in the intensive care unit until she died.

On Saturday, Bradley, 27, limped into a Chester County courtroom for his first court appearance since deputies charged him with homicide by child abuse, a felony that carries a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

With his hands and feet shackled, Bradley grasped onto a wall as he hobbled to a seat. He gazed around the courtroom and let out a deep sigh.

Chester County Magistrate Angel Underwood informed him of his rights to a preliminary hearing and jury trial.

Bradley said he did not have a lawyer yet. He stammered before deciding he wanted a preliminary hearing, a court proceeding where prosecutors must present the evidence they have.

“It can’t hurt you,” Angel Underwood told Bradley.

After she signed forms for Bradley’s November hearing, Angel Underwood denied bond because magistrates cannot set a bond on a homicide charge.

In November, Bradley will appear before a Circuit Court judge to get his second chance at bond.

Bradley told Underwood that he’s been living with his “former” girlfriend, Penny Stewart, in her Hardin Strait Road mobile home since April.

He said he is unemployed and has a disability case pending with the Veterans Administration.

According to Army officials, Bradley received at least 10 awards and commendations in his nine-year military career that included service in Afghanistan and Iraq. His rank was private and he worked as a combat engineer. He was last stationed in Fort Riley in north central Kansas.

Deputies are still piecing together the circumstances surrounding Madison Stewart’s injuries, Sheriff Underwood said Saturday.

According to the arrest warrant, Madison Stewart suffered fatal head injuries. Those injuries were not consistent with what Bradley originally told police.

The injuries were not “consistent with a fall, according to doctors,” Sheriff’s Office Major Mary Anne Tolbert said. Bradley was home alone with Madison when she was injured, authorities said.

SLED’s special victims unit investigates child fatalities across the state.

“I don’t want to overlook anything,” Sheriff Underwood said.

Supporters of the family have created an account at gofundme.com to help Penny Stewart raise $8,000 for Madison’s funeral. Gofundme.com allows people to solicit donations.

By Saturday, 62 people donated $1,815. The page had been shared on Facebook more than 1,000 times.

Cynthia Fleming, who lives two houses from the Stewarts, said Bradley “never bothered nobody.”

On Wednesday, about an hour before Madison was rushed to the hospital, Bradley asked Fleming’s son for permission to use his computer.

He left the baby girl inside the house for about 30 minutes before going to retrieve her.

The baby, Fleming said, was wet with urine.

Bradley and Madison Stewart returned to their home. Minutes later, Fleming, her son and daughter-in-law watched as first responders swarmed the home and two ambulances pulled into nearby driveways.

Paramedics ran in and out of the house, Fleming said. Finally, they brought Madison out.

Jonathan McFadden •  803-329-4082

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