WHITE CLOUD, Mich. (WOOD) – The father of Natallya Rich, the Newaygo County baby whose body was found in the basement of her grandmother’s home on Tuesday night, said he woke from a nap on Saturday to find his daughter dead, court records show.
Matthew Bradley, who has been formally charged with one felony count of concealing a death of an individual and being a habitual offender, was watching 4-month-old Natallya on Saturday when he took a nap and woke to find her dead, according to the documents. He also admitted to investigators he had used methamphetamine, norco pills and morphine before and after the baby’s death.
“As far as I knew he was off of [the drugs] but it wasn’t much of a surprise because he’s lied to me before about it,” Natallya’s mother Brittany Rich said Thursday.
Bradley told police he tried to perform CPR on the baby after he realized she wasn’t breathing and had no heartbeat, the records said.
“I trusted him yeah and he loved her I know he did but an accident is accident he should have called 911,” Rich said.
When Rich returned home from work, the records said, Bradley told her to be quiet because the baby was “sleeping.”
“That makes me feel like I should have looked at her better. It makes me feel like part of her — actually, well, if she was obviously gone — but part of her being there as long as she was, and not being reported, I just feel like some of it is my fault,” Rich said.
Bradley admitted to investigators he was “scared to tell anyone Natallya was in fact dead.”
He then allegedly put Natallya’s body in a car seat and put the car seat in a crawl space of the basement of Rich’s mother’s house. The couple and Natallya were living at the White Cloud home at the time.
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“It’s highly possible that that’s what would have happened, and if that is what happened, I still think that’s murder,” Natallya’s grandmother, Heidi Thill, said. “It wasn’t accident. You need to be a responsible parent.”
After Bradley’s arraignment Thursday morning, Rich was very emotional and begged Bradley to “tell the truth.” She said she went to court Thursday morning because “I just wanted him to see the hurt and the disgust on my face.”
Rich said police told her Natallya’s body was found in her mother’s basement Tuesday night. She hasn’t been able to set foot in the home since.
“She was under my feet the whole time,” she said.
She said she was with Bradley when they were picked up by police that same night and said she believed Bradley when he told her their baby was with his sister and then a babysitter.
“I want truthful answers. I want to know why he did it and what happened,” Rich said. ”Something had to happen, but regardless, he should have called 911 — not like she was nothing.”
Police said Bradley admitted to using drugs before and after Natallya disappeared and crime scene investigators found syringes, items to make meth and controlled substances in the family’s home.
Rich admitted to knowing Bradley had a drug problem.
Bradley’s bond was set Thursday at $150,000 – a higher amount than usual due to the fact he previously went to Germany to avoid a police investigation, is a habitual offender and admitted to police he used several illegal drugs.
Authorities are still waiting on autopsy results to determine Natallya’s cause of death. The Genesee County medical examiner confirms the autopsy has been completed but the results are pending.
The White Cloud police chief was in Flint on Thursday, his office said, though the reason why wasn’t specified. It is known that Genesee County conducts autopsies for Newaygo County.
A vigil for Natallya is scheduled for Saturday at 9 p.m. at the family home in White Cloud. A fund to help raise money for funeral expenses has been started at Independent Bank, and there will be collection jars around town.
***Editor’s note: Woodtv.com erroneously reported that Brittany Rich spoke during Bradley’s arraignment in a previous version of this story. However, she spoke after the arraignment and we’ve updated our story to reflect that.