911 call released in Chester County baby’s death

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comSeptember 24, 2013 

— Deputies on Tuesday released a recording of the chilling 911 call in which an Iraq War veteran accused of killing an 11-month-old baby describes his attempts to revive her after she fell unconscious last week.

For 11 minutes, Jeffery Todd Bradley performed CPR on Madison Brooke Stewart after putting her in a bath of cold water to “shock her awake.”

It didn’t work.

Then, nearly 10 minutes into his conversation with an emergency dispatcher, Bradley, who described his every step in trying to revive the child, said he wanted to put her in a diaper and some clothes, according to a 911 call of the incident released by deputies Tuesday.

Madison died last Friday afternoon, two days after deputies say she suffered from a fractured skull, internal brain bleeding and kidney injuries while in Bradley’s care.

Chester County Coroner Terry Tinker on Tuesday said he did not observe any damage to the girl’s kidneys during an autopsy Sunday morning.

Deputies received that information from doctors at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, where Madison spent two days on life support in the intensive care unit, said Maj. Mary Anne Tolbert of the Chester County Sheriff’s Office.

Bradley, who served two overseas deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, is now behind bars, charged with homicide by child abuse. He faces 20 years to life in prison.

Tuesday evening, he was scheduled to be screened for a public defender, said Sixth Circuit Court Public Defender Mike Lifsey. Bradley indicated during a Saturday bond hearing that he did not have an attorney.

Since April, Bradley lived with Madison’s mother and his girlfriend, Penny Stewart, in a Hardin Strait Road mobile home near Lowrys. Family members have said the two have known each other since they were in high school.

At 7:39 p.m. on Sept. 18, Bradley called 911.

“My daughter’s unconscious,” said Bradley, who is not Madison’s biological father.

He gave the dispatcher his address and Madison’s age. “She’s breathing every so often. She’s got a bubbly saliva coming out of her mouth.”

He tried to perform CPR.

“She’s got a heartbeat but she’s not breathing as much as she needs to be,” he said. “I think she might have gotten shocked, to be honest.”

He blamed it on a phone charging cable that “every so often” fell to the floor. Deputies said Bradley told them Madison put the cable in her mouth before she was electrocuted. He later told them she fell.

On Monday, during an interview with deputies, he detailed a story that doctors found consistent with her injuries, Tolbert said. Officials will not say exactly how Madison was injured.

“Breathe baby … come on, baby, breathe for me … breathe,” he said in the call. “Come on baby, come on … come on baby girl, come on.”

At one point, the dispatcher heard crying in the background.

“She was just moaning,” he tells her.

“Look at me baby girl, come on, look at me,” he said. “Her skin’s still warm ... I’ve never had to do CPR on a baby. I’ve only had to do it on a fully-grown adult.”

Dispatcher: “Do you know how to do it on a baby?”

“As far as I can tell, it can’t be much different than doing it on an adult,” he said.

Army officials last week said that Bradley served in the military for nine years. He worked as a combat engineer and was last stationed at Fort Riley in north-central Kansas. He received at least 10 awards and commendations before leaving the military last year as an E1 private.

“There are several reasons why he could have been an E1 ... anything from him ... having a reduction to him re-enlisting, a break in service,” said Troy Rolan, U.S. Army spokesman. “He could’ve gone AWOL.”

Bradley might have left the Army at a lower rank because of disciplinary actions the military imposed against him, Rolan said. Army officials would not comment on any possible disciplinary actions or criminal charges Bradley might have received in the Army.

Efforts to reach command staff at Fort Riley this week have been unsuccessful.

Records indicate Bradley at some point was on reserve status.

“I don’t think she’s breathing,” he told the 911 dispatcher on Sept. 18. “She does have a heartbeat.”

“If she’s breathing, sir, don’t do the CPR,” the dispatcher warned. “If she’s breathing at all, we don’t want to hurt her.”

He said Madison’s lips turned blue. He told the dispatcher he put her in a bath tub filled with cold water to “shock her awake.”

“That didn’t work,” he said.

He wanted to put her in a diaper and some clothes.

“You let them get on scene and start working on her and then you can get that,” the dispatcher said. “Sir, if you have to, go meet them ... you can pick her up and take her to them if you need to.”

Paramedics worked on Madison for several minutes before she was airlifted to the children’s hospital in Charlotte.

Madison's funeral was Tuesday afternoon at Liberty Baptist Church in York.

Jonathan McFadden 803-329-4082

How to help

Friends of the Stewart family have started a gofundme.com fundraiser to help raise money for medical and moving expenses for Penny Stewart. To donate, visit http://www.gofundme.com/4esw2o.

911 call: (WARNING: Disturbing details)

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