On 31 October, Georgia State trooper Nathan Bradley was put in a heartbreaking situation when he discovered four costume-clad children in the home of a couple who had died in a vehicle crash. Bradley, who is leading a GoFundMe page for the children, explained why he decided not to tell the children they had become orphans on Halloween.
On the GoFundMe campaign, Bradley explained he received details about an accident with possible fatalities and soon headed to the home of the couple killed. Bradley, along with a county deputy and the deputy coroner, knocked on the couple's front door and were met by four children in costume. Standing in front of them were 13-year-old Freddy Krueger, a 10-year-old daughter of Dracula, an 8-year-old wizard and a 6-year-old firefighting ninja turtle.
The children quickly notified the officials that their parents were not home, leading the three to search for the children's closest relative. Bradley recounted being able to reach the children's paternal grandmother, who was seven hours away in south Florida. "I immediately fell ill. Not only would these children discover they lost both parents, but would spend their Halloween in a county jail until somebody could tend to them; it just wasn't right," Bradley wrote.
Ultimately the trooper decided to hold off telling the children about their parents, instead taking them out for food, burgers and chips from a nearby McDonalds and Burger King. As he took the children to the station, Bradley learned the children had been homeschooled and about their father's service in the US Army. The children were met with candy, popcorn and some Disney films once at post.
Bradley went on to explain that the children's grandmother arrived before dawn. The trooper and the grandmother decided to tell the children of their parents's fate on 1 November to preserve the holiday. Before the children took off, Bradley wrote the eldest a note on the bill of his trooper ball cap saying he should reach out if he's ever in need.
The teenage boy eventually reached out to Bradley to tell him that it would cost $7,000 to transport his parents to Florida and have their funerals. Bradley decided to set up a crowdfunding page to help raise the money. At the time of publishing, the page has received over $333,000 which will go into any funeral costs and a fund for the children and their high education costs.
Bradley told The Washington Post that he hopes he was able to save the children's Halloween, but that the night has definitely left a mark on his life. "I have not been able to sleep straight since," he said. "My mind is constantly running. It has scarred me. It has. Very rarely do you have to do this to four kids."