LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) – A young woman was arrested and charged with child abuse and manslaughter in the death of an 8-month-old boy, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. She said the baby had fallen and hit his head, but the autopsy proved her wrong, detectives said.
“This rips at your heart,” Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said. “We can’t imagine what occurred that made her so angry or put her in a fit of rage to injure that baby,” he added.
Polk detectives responded to the home of Adrianna Bradley, 20, located on Forestgreen Drive East on Wednesday afternoon. The Polk County Emergency Medical Services crew was already there working to save the little boy, Jaxon Betts.
He was taken to the Lakeland Regional Health Center where he was pronounced dead. Doctors found two small, parallel marks about two inches apart and each approximately one inch in length on the boy’s head.
“The medical examiner tells us that injury couldn’t have occurred from a fall,” Judd said.
Bradley told detectives that she usually babysat for the boy’s mother, Kristen Rhodes, 20, when the mother was at work. On Wednesday Bradley got the boy in the morning, around 9 a.m. She said that the boy was playing on the floor with her own 10-month-old son, when Jaxon tried to stand up and fell hitting his head on the floor.
She said she put him into a playpen later and started preparing a bottle for him when she realized Jaxon was not breathing. She said she called 911 and started CPR.
But the autopsy showed that the boy’s head trauma was consistent with being shaken or thrown.
At her home Thursday, Rhodes told News Channel 8 she was stunned to hear Bradley, who she called her best friend, was charged. Bradley’s fiancé said he knows without a doubt she didn’t hurt the child.
PCSO detectives arrested Bradley and charged her with aggravated child abuse and manslaughter. She was booked into the county jail Thursday evening.