On October 31, 2015 Georgia State Trooper Nathan Bradley was monitoring his radio while on patrol when he heard a call from another Officer stating she was at a vehicle accident that had fatalities. He responded t assist in the investigation and found that two persons had died in the accident. Perhaps one of the worst of the unfortunate duties of officers is to make death notifications to surviving members of families of such tragic events. But it was about to get very bad for the Trooper.
Trooper Nathan Bradley took the duty of making the notification along with a County Sheriff’s Deputy and the County Coroner at the residence of the deceased. When they arrived they knocked at the door and were greeted by ” four children in full costume – a 13-year-old Freddy Krueger, 10-year-old daughter of a Dracula, 8-year-old wizard and a 6-year-old that appeared to be a firefighting ninja turtle.”
Bradley asked if there were any adults in the residence and were told no and his heart sank knowing what he had feared. The adults in the home had been killed in the accident and these were the survivors. He was told by the eldest of the four children “My parents went to the store to get more face paint. They told us not to open the door for anybody, but they should be back soon.”
Officers did not leave but rather sat in their patrol vehicles while they searched national databases for possible next of kin hoping for someone to take responsibility for the now four orphaned children. After an extensive search a grandmother was located in the State of Florida who in her disbelief and shock was hoping that the news of the death of her son and daughter in law was a Halloween prank. It was not an easy task to make such a call but the grandmother finally agreed to come to Georgia immediately and take the children. She would arrive in seven hours. She also gave the Trooper permission to wait to notify the children of the deaths of their parents.
Bradley initially had contacted social services to take custody of the children and have them placed in temporary care for the evening since he had no experience with children of his own nor did he really have the facilities to care for them then he couldn’t allow this to happen. he did not want their lives to always be filled with the memory of their parents passing on Halloween being filled with a night of being held in a strange surrounding that was a shelter.
He received permission to take the children with him and have them placed in his custody for the seven hours until the paternal grandmother arrived. He told the children that he had spoken with the grandmother and that she would be coming for them and until that time they would be going with him.
He took them to dinner and then he took them to the local barracks where they were joined by other officers who brought their families. They watched movies and other families came and brought toys and treats so that the children’s Halloween was somewhat eventful. The trooper spent the evening bonding and talking with the children, noting how well behaved, intelligent, respectful and grown up they all were for their ages.
He learned that they all had great family values, were home schooled and appreciated their parents and he was closely drawn to the children and bound to them now.
The children were each given a separate room in the barracks where they slept until the grandmother arrived and the Trooper spoke with her in the early hours of the morning and made arrangements with her for financial responsibilities of moving the children and their dogs and the remains of the grandmothers departed children.
The financial responsibilities would be greater than she was prepared to handle.
Trooper Bradley started a go fund me page where he explained everything in full detail with the hopes of raising $7,000. to have the remains of the deceased shipped to Florida from Georgia. Any extra money that was donated would go toward the children’s education in the future. To date the fund has exceeded his hopes and stands over $56,000.00.
The story has been carried on several news stations including:
Valerie Hoff with 11 Alive – WXIA.
Sophia Choi with WSB-TV.
Deidra Dukes with FOX 5 Atlanta.
The official GOFUNDME Page can be found here along with the complete story of the Trooper and his call to help: