Tina Mott’s brief time on earth ended when her boyfriend Timothy Bradford—the father of her child—slit her throat with a fillet knife. The attack was nothing short of vicious. The killer then set about the task of dismembering Tina’s body.
Bradford claims the attack was an accident. He told police that he and Tina were arguing and she charged at him. Instinct and self defense, he said, was the reason he used the hand holding the weapon to lash out at his girlfriend.
Then, out of fear of spending the rest of his life in prison, Bradford used 19 different knives, a meat cleaver, and a hacksaw to methodically skin, behead, and cut Tina’s body into pieces small enough to fit into garbage bags. Some pieces (internal organs and skin) he flushed down the toilet. Bradford’s next task was to cradle Tina’s severed head in his lap where he used a pair of needle nose pliers to extract her teeth (he knew DNA could be found there and then used to identify the skull, if discovered).
Bradford then took those heavy garbage bags to a sewage treatment plant where he hid the remains on the property surrounding the facility.
A short distance away, Bradford tossed Tina’s head and teeth into a lake where they remained until two young boys accidentally hooked the skull while fishing. By this time, months later, the elements and aquatic life had removed all details that could identify Tina.
A coroner’s investigator points to the spot where he found Tina’s skull, subsequent to the two boys leaving it there after catching it with a fishing line.
It was the combination of excellent police work along with the persistence and skills of world-renowned forensic anthropologist Elizabeth (Beth) Murray that finally identified the skull and subsequently led police to Timothy Bradford. Unfortunately, officials were unable to locate the rest of Tina’s remains.
Detective Jim Nugent, Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) Murray, and Sergeant Ed Buns. Writers’ Police Academy attendees will remember Dr. Murray’s presentation a few years ago.
Police divers search the lake for Tina’s remains.
Bathtub where Bradford skinned and dismembered Tina’s body. I took this photo a few years after the murder.
Tim Bradford agreed to confess and to lead investigators to Tina’s remains IF they agreed to charge him with something other than murder, a charge for which he could spend the rest of his life in prison. Anxious to give Tina a proper burial (she had no close family members), the prosecutor agreed to Bradford’s terms. He pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter, abuse of a corpse, felony theft and misuse of a credit card (Bradford used Tina’s card to make purchases after her death).
Timothy Bradford is now eligible for parole, again. He’s been denied freedom at past parole hearings, but as time comes closer to his mandatory release date his chances of parole increase.
With no family to speak at the parole hearing, Tina’s close friends are once again rallying to keep her killer in prison. They feel that his punishment—12 – 25 years—for such a heinous and despicable act does not fit the crime. Many believe that Bradford is the worst sort of monster and should never be allowed to roam freely among us.
This case is especially near and dear to my heart. I wrote about it in a true crime anthology, and while conducting the research I met everyone involved—Tina’s family, friends, investigators, judges, attorneys, coroner, forensic experts, neighbor, and family and friends of the killer.
Discussing the case with Detective Jim Nugent.
With Coroner’s Investigator Andy Willis at the site where Bradford hid Tina’s remains.
During the research and writing of the story I began to feel as if I’d known Tina all my life. She was beautiful, mentally and physically. She was loving, caring, and kind. She adored the baby son left behind when Tim Bradford took her life. She did not deserve the horror that ended her life.
How can you help? For that, I’ve called on one of Tina’s closest friends and tireless advocate, Jennifer Pilon, to explain. Jennifer is asking friends, family, and all concerned to please write to the parole board requesting a denial of Bradford’s release. The tactic has worked in the past and she hopes it will again.
Here’s Jennifer’s plea to you…
My first impression of Tina was that she was very shy, almost timid. But as I got to know her, I realized that she was not timid at all, just soft-spoken. Tina was a beautiful, free-spirited girl, who did things in good faith. I have very strong memories of how much she liked singing. Karaoke was something a group of us girls did a lot to pass the time. Tina’s favorite song was The Rose—and she did not need to hear any music in order to sing it. In fact, she was always singing The Rose….always. Every time I hear that song, memories of Tina come rushing back. I can still hear the sound of Tina’s laughter, see her smile, and smell her hair spray. I cannot tell you how lucky I was to have known her. I often wonder what Bradford sees or hears or smells when he thinks about Tina.
Unfortunately, Tina’s youth was one full of hardships. She had no real family, none competent or mentally strong, anyway. So when Bradford comes up for parole again very soon, he’ll probably think that nobody cares enough to raise their voice and protest. If that’s the case, then he couldn’t be more wrong—Tina was and still is loved by many.
Tina touched the lives of so many people in her short existence, and so much could have been learned from her. Tina had a heart of gold and a love for life (despite her trials). She was the softest, sweetest, kindest individual I knew, and have ever had the pleasure of knowing.
Resiliency was her best quality: she came from nothing and had nothing, terrible things have happened to her throughout her entire life, yet she was determined to make it on her own and displayed so much spirit while she did it.
Her friends, here in Buffalo, were her family. I am her family, her sister, and many others feel the same. And I want to make her proud. She’s not been forgotten. . . I feel that any release before the maximum time the law allots would be an unspeakable and inexcusable offense to society at large, as well as it would be another crime committed against Tina.
Here’s my simple request to each of you. Please, please, please help keep this murderer where he belongs, in prison.
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Tina celebrating one of her few birthdays
For details and more about Tina, please visit the Facebook page, In Memory of Tina Mott.
Tina loved to write, especially poetry. It’s possible she foresaw her own demise and expressed those feelings in one of her poems. Here’s an excerpt.
Each year, Detective Jim Nugent, the investigator who solved the case, places flowers on Tina’s grave site. Jim took this case personally, working tirelessly for Tina.