By Reg Chapman

NEW RICHMOND, Wis. (WCCO) — Friends and family are mourning the deaths of a young mother and her daughter in New Richmond, Wis.

Police say they were called to their home after someone reported smelling smoke.

That’s where they found the bodies of Courtney Bradford, 30, and her 10-year-old daughter, Jasmine.

Cristian “Danny” Nunez-Ortega, 37, was arrested in El Paso, Texas. Police say he is a person of interest in the case.

Cristian "Danny" Nunez-Ortega

Police say Nunez-Ortega is Bradford’s ex-boyfriend. He’s charged with fraud and operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

Investigators believe Nunez-Ortega used Bradford’s credit cards and car to get to Iowa, from where he flew to Texas.

Yellow crime scene tape and investigators from Wisconsin’s Department of Justice are a rare sight in New Richmond.

And many residents drove by the house on Hallewood Blvd to get a look at the site where the city’s first homicide in 39 years occurred.

“A lot of it is shock disbelief,” mayor Fred Horne said. “It’s that disbelief of, How could this happen in our town, our community?”

Police say Bradford’s ex-husband was dropping her son off at the home around 12 p.m. Wednesday when he noticed broken windows, smoke, and water running downstairs.

Fire crews discovered the two bodies inside the home.

The victims’ bodies have been taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office to determine their cause of death.

A detective from New Richmond is on his way to Texas to speak with Nunez-Ortega.

There’s no word on when he will be brought back to Wisconsin to face charges.

Bradford’s 5-year-old son, who was not in the house at the time of the killings, is safe with family.

Kiara Johnson lives just down the street. She said it’s hard to imagine Bradford and her daughter are gone.

“I waved at her and she waved back,” Johnson said. “She was a sweet girl.”

An investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call 715-246-6131.


Reg Chapman