This 14 year old girl was trying to get home on 14th December 1981. Unfortunately she never made it and her body was found four days later. It is believed she was picked up on Topsail Road, St. John’s, Newfoundland.
She had been to see a friend and was reportedly hitchhiking home to Patrick Street at about 5 pm. The car was described as either a 1970s Dodge Dart or a Plymouth Valiant.
Topsail Rd is a long one so where on that stretch she was abducted I do not know. She was travelling back home and was expected at her mother’s birthday celebration. Her body was found by a family out looking for a Christmas tree. She is described as being placed in a ‘burial’ manner. She had been sexually assaulted and died from head injuries. Her school books had been placed under her arm. Below is the area of Maddox Cove Road where she was found.
The location this poor child was found is a 25 minute drive south east of where she was seen getting into a car looking like this:
This was a huge effort involving the interviews of thousands of people. As a cop said at the time they also went through a list of possible suspects based on their past records and tips from the public. What appeared to be a break in the case came when they had what looked like a credible confession. It wasn’t. One of the policies the cops had followed was to put out more information than usual in order to get the case rolling. The issue was there was enough information for this guy to come up with a story that fit the evidence.
He even claimed to know where the car was buried. He indicated a place near Robin Hood Bay. This area is east of St John’s about a 25 minutes drive away from where Ms Bradley’s body was found. The area was dug up but there was nothing there.
He claimed later he had been interviewed aggressively for 18 hours and had not killed the girl. The cops said that was not the case though they accepted the confession was only so much garbage. Vital time was lost and the enquiry had to back track. The confessor got two years in jail for messing around.
Later a guy came forward who said he was only six years old when he had been in the car when Ms Bradley was abducted and attacked. The man had been a long time drinker by the time he came forward in 2013. He named the killer. All was looking good. His claims were checked out and it all turned out to be nothing of use. It does sound like this witness had had a hard time as a child. In fairness it appears he at least believed the version of events he put forward.
So that is it. There have been privately funded attempts to find the buried car, if it was buried. I read a 2017 article where the police were interviewed at length about the case. It was still being very actively pursued.
As in a lot of cases there is now a DNA profile that the cops believe belongs to the killer. It has been used to rule out some suspects that have been on the edge of this investigation. It sits there still as the years roll by, it is waiting for the killer.
It is a sad situation that we come across time and time again. What happens to all these potential DNA links.?
Here we have a killer of children or at least of one child. In the UK, Australia, USA and New Zealand we have many unsolved murders of children. We read about the cases and see similarities. We also know that prior to 9/11 you could illegally live as an English speaker for years in any of these countries. If you met a local and were to marry, so long as you had no recorded criminal record there, you could just become legal. I’m just wondering, as I often do, if the killer of a child in one place is now our neighbour in a totally different place.
Other cases that have similarities are