A woman who says she was in a long-term relationship with a Jamaican lawmaker was arrested for allegedly hiring three men to kidnap and murder his 10-month-old daughter and her mother, Jamaican authorities announced.
Leoda Bradshaw, a 34-year-old U.S. Navy cook stationed in Miami, was arrested last week in connection to the deaths of Toshyna Patterson, 27, and her baby, Sarayah Paulwell.
The mother and child were kidnapped from their home in Jamaica’s St. Andrew Parish on Sept. 9, Jamaican authorities said. Their remains were later found burned.
“Both were brutally murdered and their bodies disposed of,” Kingston Deputy Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey said in a press conference on Oct. 13. “It is one of the most painful investigations for the team since recent times.”
Bradshaw wrote in a Sept. 10 Facebook post that she and Sarayah’s father, Phillip Paulwell, are in a long-term relationship and have an 8-year-old child of their own. Paulwell is a member of Jamaica’s Parliament representing Kingston East and Port Royal.
“I wish to state categorically that I have absolutely nothing to do with the disappearance of Ms. Toshyna Patterson and her baby girl,” Bradshaw wrote.
She also claimed that she had received a message informing her that Paulwell and Patterson shared a child together. After noticing that Patterson had viewed her profile on LinkedIn, Bradshaw said, she messaged her on Sept. 5 to advise her that if her child was Paulwell’s, they would be taken care of financially.
Prosecutors said Bradshaw then traveled to Jamaica the next day with “the sole purpose of killing” Patterson and her 10-month-old, the Jamaica Observer reported.
According to prosecutors, Bradshaw arrived in Jamaica on Sept. 6 to conspire with her cousin Roland Balfour — who then allegedly hired two other men, Roshane Miller and Richard Brown — to kidnap and murder Patterson and her daughter in exchange for money, the Observer said.
Bradshaw allegedly paid the men the equivalent of $100,000 up front and then promised to pay $400,000 upon the scheme’s completion, according to the outlet.
Prosecutors said that on Sept. 9, Bradshaw had “placed several calls and conversed with Patterson, with a view to lure her away from her premises,” according to the Observer. Surveillance footage shows Patterson leaving her home with her daughter and entering an SUV that Bradshaw was driving, they said.
Bradshaw then handed the other woman and her baby over to the men, who fatally shot them and burned their bodies, prosecutors alleged.
In an Instagram post dated Sept. 15, almost a week after Patterson and the baby disappeared, Paulwell pleaded for the public’s assistance in locating them.
“The last week has been very horrific for me. I have dealt with many things in my life but the disappearance of my daughter and her mother is by far the most difficult thing I have ever had to navigate,” he said.
Bradshaw has been charged with two counts of conspiracy to murder, two counts of conspiracy kidnapping, two counts of kidnapping and two counts of murder. The three other suspects face similar charges
After Patterson’s and his daughter’s bodies were discovered, Paulwell wrote in another post that he was “heartbroken that the worst has happened.” He did not mention Bradshaw or their relationship.
“That anyone could murder a mother and an innocent baby is unimaginable and my heart is heavy with sadness,” Paulwell said. “I am praying for Toshyna’s family who I know are experiencing the unbearable grief and pain of losing their beloved daughter and granddaughter.”