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Family of murdered toddler speaks out

For the first time, a parent of a murdered Mid-Missouri toddler is speaking out. Jayden Bradds was pronounced dead last November in Randolph County. Court documents show the toddler had a head injury.

The man accused of the boy’s death went before a judge on Wednesday. He is charged with murder, assault and child abuse, and will face a jury for the crimes in October.

ABC 17 News crews sat down with Jayden’s family on Thursday. Currently they’re just trying to keep Jayden’s memory alive. His father wants his short life to be a reminder to others that a death like this should never happen again.

“Jayden was amazing,” said his older sister, Madalynn Ahrens. Gary Bailey, the toddler’s father, said Jayden was also a “Fun-loving kid… That’s all he ever was, a fun-loving kid.”

For the family, the boy with the contagious smile is never really gone. As they thumb through the many photos, they hold Jayden’s memory close to heart. “There ain’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him … every day,” said Bailey.

While Jayden’s memory lives on, the question of why he is gone will never make sense. “Why did you do that? How, just how?” said Madalynn.

“He was just a baby. I can’t see anybody hurting a baby,” said Bailey. According to police, Joseph Laswell did just that. He allegedly got angry after Jayden answered his cellphone. At that point, court documents said, he pushed Jayden and caused the boy to hit his head, then dropped the phone on him. It is abuse family members said they didn’t see coming.

Now for Jayden’s father, thinking of the horrific crime is overwhelming. “What I think about each and every day is what my son went through, what was his last thought,” said Bailey.

Now those left behind from Jayden’s life hope others learn from their child’s heartbreaking death. “I need people to know when they see something like this or they think something is going on, they need to come out and say something before something bad happens,” said Bailey.

Jayden’s father said he doesn’t wish any harm to Laswell; however, he hopes that justice will be done for Jayden.

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