On Thursday, September 24, 2015, Polk County Sheriff’s Office Homicide detectives arrested 20-year-old Adrianna Bradley, Forestgreen Drive East, Lakeland, charging her with Aggravated Child Abuse and Manslaughter in the death of 8-month-old Jaxon Betts, Northride Trail, Lakeland. Bradley was booked into the Polk County jail late Thursday evening.
At approximately 2:25 pm, on Wednesday, September 23, 2015, PCSO deputies were called to Bradley’s residence to assist Polk County Emergency Medical Services in the process of performing life-saving efforts on the infant-Jaxson Betts. Ultimately, the infant was transported to Lakeland Regional Heath Center where he was pronounced deceased at approximately 5:35 pm.
When the infant was examined at the hospital, two small, parallel marks, approximately two inches apart and each approximately one inch in length, were discovered on the back left portion of the infant’s head.
Through the investigation, detectives learned Bradley, a friend of the infant’s mother, 20-year-old Kristen Rhodes, routinely kept the infant while Rhodes went to work; this has been the routine for the past approximately four months. The infant was dropped off on Wednesday around 9:15 am and Rhodes left for work.
Bradley told detectives around 12:45 Jaxon was playing on the tile floor of her home with her own 10-month-old baby when Jaxon attempted to stand and fell backward onto his left side striking his head on the floor. She told detectives she later placed the baby into a playpen located in her bedroom and began to prepare food and a bottle for Jaxson. Bradley said when she returned from the kitchen, Jaxson was in the same position as when he was laid down, but he was not breathing. Bradley said she began CPR and called for medical assistance.
An autopsy was conducted on Thursday, September 24, 2015. The Medical Examiner determined the cause of death was head trauma consistent with the infant being shaken or thrown and that the injury would not have occurred as a result of the child falling.
Based on the autopsy and Bradley’s inconsistent account of the events, detectives charged Bradley with Aggravated Child Abuse and Manslaughter.