Preschool employee charged with murder in toddler's death

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CHANDLER -- A Chandler preschool worker is behind bars, accused of killing a toddler in her care.

Police arrested Candelaria Bradford, 48, Tuesday afternoon. She was booked on suspicion of second-degree murder.

According to police, Bradford was working at Colorful Kids Preschool (near Ray and Rural roads) on Nov. 5, when a 2 1/2-year-old girl was found unresponsive.

Police said staff members and officers performed CPR on the little girl, identified as Selenia Moreno. The toddler was taken to the hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

Investigators eventually determined that Selenia's death was homicide. The medical examiner said the little girl died of asphyxiation.

Police said a witness told them Bradford was seen leaning on Selenia while the little girl was lying face-down.

Selenia had been at Colorful Kids for about a year. She was in the care of Child Protective Services, and was living with a foster family that was in the process of trying to adopt her.

Bradford, who had worked at the preschool and day-care for about five years, is being held at Maricopa County Jail.

At this point, owners of Colorful Kids have declined to comment.

The following is a press release from the Chandler Police Dept:

CHANDLER _- On November 5, 2008 at approximately 3:00 PM Chandler Police responded to the report of an unresponsive child at Colorful Kids Preschool, 4939 W. Ray Rd. Suite 21.

The child, identified as 2-½ year old Selenia Moreno, was transported to an area hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

During the subsequent investigation the cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation and the manner of death has been ruled a homicide.

Today (January 13, 2009) at about 4:00 pm, Candelaria Bradford, 48 years old was arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder.

Bradford was an employee of the preschool at the time of the incident. She is currently being held at the Maricopa County Jail in Phoenix.