Bradley, 24, Charged In Death Of Boy, 3; Child Had Numerous Injuries After Left With Boyfriend; Mother Was In Workhouse

Saturday, August 30, 2014
Justin Dale Bradley
Justin Dale Bradley

Justin Dale Bradley has been charged with criminal homicide in the death of a three-year-old child, who was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday and later died. Police said Dakota James Arndt had numerous injuries over his body.

Authorities said Bradley, 24, is the boyfriend of the child's mother, Brianna Kwekel, who was in the Workhouse at the time. Ms. Kwekel was serving 48 hours of a 96-hour DUI sentence when her child died.

The mother earlier took out an order of protection against Bradley, and he was arrested for violating the order.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to 10710 Jenkins Circle, Soddy Daisy, on Wednesday at 8:34 p.m.on a report of a boy having drowned in the bathtub.  Deputies arrived on the scene and immediately took over CPR until Hamilton County Emergency Medical Services arrived, who then took over the life-saving efforts.

It was the boy's uncle, Clifford K. Smith, who was trying the CPR. Bradley was also at the residence.

The child was transported to Children’s Hospital where he was placed in intensive care.  Detectives were notified on Saturday that the child had been pronounced brain dead.

Medical personnel at Children's Hospital "noted the way the child was presenting was not consistent with a drowning."

According to the police report, Dr. Darwin Koller said the child had bruising on his forehead, chest, back, buttocks and groin. Further tests revealed a dislocated shoulder, bi-lateral retinal hemorrhaging and severe brain swelling.

Clifford Smith said Bradley and the child had returned home from the Cleveland, Tn., area at approximately 6 p.m. He said the boy was quiet, but appeared normal. He ate some dinner and was put down for a nap.

Clifford Smith said he then left for Walmart in Soddy Daisy at about 7 p.m. He said when he returned at 8:30 p.m. he heard Bradley yelling at the child to "wake up."

He said Bradley then came out of a back room with Dakota's naked lifeless body." Clifford Smith then called 911.

The child was declared brain dead after several tests could not detect any brain activity.

Bradley gave an interview to detectives at the Sheriff's Office West Annex. He said after Clifford Smith left, he woke the child from his nap because he wanted him to take a bath. He started the water in the tub, but he did not adjust the valves to fill the tub with water.

Bradley said the boy did not want to take a bath. Bradley said he then grabbed the child by the shoulders, picked him up and threw him forcefully into the tub, which was empty.

He said the boy made no noises, but just lay there.

Bradley then went outside to tend to several dogs that were barking.

When he returned about five minutes later, he said the child was lying motionless in the tub.

Detectives with the Criminal Investigation Division along with Child Protective Services are investigating the circumstances surrounding the child’s death.

Brianna Kwekel
Brianna Kwekel

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