Father’s family spent hours with him before arrest

An undated photo of Matthew Bradley and Natallya Rich. (Courtesy: Facebook)

WHITE CLOUD, Mich. (WOOD) — In the hours before his arrest after the death of his 4-month-old daughter Natallya Rich in White Cloud, the father hid out at his family’s home about a half-hour away.

His family says they were trying to get the truth out of Matthew Bradley.

Where was his baby?

“We were trying to find the baby,” Bradley’s mom, Kathleen Bradley, told 24 Hour News 8 on Wednesday, shortly after she spoke with Newaygo County detectives.

It was Bradley’s mom who thought she might have the best chance of finding out what her son had done with Natallya.

“He kept saying she was alright, she was with a babysitter,” his mother said.

Bradley’s sister, Stephanie Wert, who also lives in the home in Morley, said this started Saturday when she agreed to lie for her brother — to say that he had dropped off the baby with her at the family’s home, even though he hadn’t.

“My brother asked me if I would please cover for him because him and his old lady have had problems in the past where she gets very angry and upset with him,” Wert said.

The home on Swain Street in White Cloud where Natallya's body was found. (May 13, 2015)
The home on Swain Street in White Cloud where Natallya’s body was found. (May 13, 2015)

The sister said she had no idea the baby was already dead, concealed in the basement of the White Cloud home where she lived with her parents and other relatives.

Then Tuesday afternoon, Bradley and the baby’s mom, Brittany Rich, showed up together, spent several hours there, knowing police were looking for them, relatives said.

“Brittany and them thought if they brought him here he would open up to my mother and tell my mother where that baby was,” Bradley’s sister said.

The baby’s mom also could not get any answers, the sister said.

“They weren’t ready to turn themselves in, they were scared,” Wert said. “I don’t know if they were scared for themselves or they were scared because of what happened. I don’t know.”

By that time, Natallya had been reported missing.

“He kept saying, ‘Mom I need help, I need help,” his mother said. “He has said that before this, but he was really saying it yesterday.”

She said he continued to insist the baby was with a sitter.

“Something tells me he’s trying to cover something,” his mother said.

Bradley’s family acknowledges he has a drug problem and has been in trouble before — convicted of home invasion, recently arrested on a weapons charge — but they don’t believe he killed his baby.

“Matt’s never been a perfect child, never, I don’t claim it, but I can’t picture him doing whatever,” his mother said. “I’m not sticking up for him, but I can’t still can’t see him killing that baby.”

The family said the couple got a ride from the home in Morley to Big Rapids and that he was planning to turn himself when they were picked up by police Tuesday night.

A short time later, Bradley told police they could find the baby in the basement of the home in White Cloud. Relatives said he still won’t say what happened to her.

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