The ex-boyfriend of Breanna Bradford was armed with two guns and appeared “paranoid, furtive, nervous” and “under the influence of some type of illicit narcotic” when he took her from her Fresno apartment on the day she disappeared, according to a police detective’s affidavit made public Tuesday.
The affidavit for the first time gives a detailed account of what James Matthew Gonzales-Gay, 35, did on Sept. 14 and 15 before he was arrested on suspicion of carjacking a federal mail truck. (Police refer to him as Gonzalez-Gay, but he is listed in court records and in the jail logs as Gonzales-Gay.)
Bradford, 22, was found dead Sept. 17 inside her silver Volkswagen GTI after someone reported a foul odor coming from the vehicle parked near Ventura Avenue and Ninth Street around 4 a.m. Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer has said she died of a “traumatic injury.” Gonzales-Gay has not been charged with her murder, but police have pointed to him as the suspect.
An argument ensued and James pulled out two handguns from his clothing.
Fresno police detective Ray Camacho
Detective Ray Camacho’s affidavit gives this account:
Gonzales-Gay showed up to Bradford’s apartment before midnight Sept. 14, causing Bradford to get upset because she was starting a new job later that day.
“An argument ensued and James pulled out two handguns from his clothing,” the affidavit says. Two of Bradford’s relatives, ages 17 and 22, witnessed the confrontation.
The argument lasted about an hour. Gonzales-Gay then grabbed a gun in each hand and grabbed the victim by her arm and took her out of the home. “The victim appeared resistant to James’ force but neither witness heard James verbally threatened the victim,” the affidavit says. “(But) they did hear the victim yell for James to stop waving the guns around.”
They left Bradford’s residence around 1:30 a.m. Sept. 15.
Around 2:35 a.m., Gonzales-Gay placed an order at Jack in the Box in Hanford at 1518 N. 11th St. An employee later identified Gonzales-Gay from a police photo lineup and told police he was driving a silver Volkswagen hatchback, which was owned by the victim.
“The employee also confirmed a black female inside the vehicle and (she) appeared to be moving/alive,” the affidavit says. The employee later identified the woman as Bradford. Two meals were purchased.
Later that morning, around 4:05 am., Gonzales-Gay used Bradford’s bank card to try to get gas at a station in Sanger, but was unsuccessful. Fifteen minutes later, a security camera captured him trying to withdraw $60 from Bradford’s account at Bank of the West in Sanger. But he was unsuccessful there, too because he didn’t have her PIN number.
Breanna Bradford, 22, was found dead Sept. 17, inside her silver Volkswagen GTI after someone reported a foul odor coming from the vehicle parked near Ventura Avenue and Ninth Street.
Around 7:30 a.m., Gonzales-Gay went to his grandmother’s home in Sanger on the 2000 block of Webster Street. His mother told police that he arrived alone and “she observed a grayish car out front. No other person was visible inside the car and James made no mention of the victim,” the affidavit says.
James went into a bedroom “where he keeps some of his property and possibly got clothing items or changed clothing items.” He left 15 minutes later.
Shortly before 10 a.m., he tried to withdraw $100 from the victim’s bank account at an undisclosed gas station but the transaction was denied because he didn’t have Bradford’s PIN number.
At 11:15 a.m., he ran up to a U.S. Postal Service mail truck near Maple and Huntington avenues in southeast Fresno and tried to steal it, the affidavit says. “James and the mailman physically fought for control of the truck after James had moved it approximately 5 feet. During the struggle, the bottom half of a handgun fell onto the floor,” the affidavit says.
A bystander saw the altercation and came to the mailman’s aid. Gonzales-Gay ran, but was quickly captured by police. “James was found to have the upper portion of a handgun in his pants,” the affidavit says.
The handgun matched the description of a weapon that the two relatives had seen earlier at Bradford’s home when “James used this handgun to take the victim against her will,” the affidavit says.
James Matthew Gonzales-Gay, 35, remains in the Fresno County Jail without bail
During his police interview, Gonzales-Gay “made statements that tended to show his involvement in the carjacking and ownership of the handgun. However, he made no mention of the victim or how he got to the area of Maple and Huntington,” the affidavit says.
Gonzales-Gay was booked into the Fresno County Jail shortly before 1 p.m.. At the time of the carjacking, police were unaware that the victim had disappeared earlier that morning, the affidavit says.
Bradford’s family reported her missing around 2:40 p.m. after she didn’t show up to her 7 a.m. shift on her first day of work at the IHOP on Tulare Street in Fresno, and they could not find her anywhere else. They told police she had been taken against her will at gunpoint by Gonzales-Gay. Relatives also told police that Bradford and the suspect had multiple incidents of “unreported domestic abuse by James” and received a scar on her forehead from Gonzales-Gay, the affidavit says.
A friend told police she often went to safe location in Hanford “to escape James psychotic, crazy, erratic, paranoid, and high on meth, or other narcotic behavior,” the affidavit says.
Gonzales-Gay remains in the Fresno County Jail without bail. He has been charged in U.S. District Court in Fresno with assault on a person in order to steal a mail truck. His next hearing is Oct. 3.