Friday, April 30, 1999

Foster dad defends
accused killer

By Lori Tighe


He remembers seeing Jennifer Edwards asleep on the living room floor with her baby Cedra asleep on her chest.

"It's one of my sweetest memories of them," said Bruce Strandberg, 56, Jennifer's foster father, of Makakilo.

Strandberg appeared to have a change of heart regarding Edwards' role in Cedra's death. He testified yesterday in Edwards' defense at her Circuit Court murder trial, saying she was a good mother who loved her daughter.

Strandberg originally wrote a letter to the governor stating he was not surprised Cedra died in her mother's care. He also filed several complaints with Child Protective Services about Cedra falling off the bed onto a tile floor at least three times while in Edwards' care.

But Strandberg said Edwards took a turn for the worse after she left the Strandberg home and met her boyfriend, Mika Mika Jr. "She was looking beat down," he said.

Edwards and Cedra moved in with the Strandbergs in November 1997 a few months after Cedra was born, in a reunification effort by Child Protective Services to bond mother and child together.

"Our responsibility was to provide the setting and Jennifer's responsibility was to provide care for Cedra. And she did it very well," Strandberg said.

There were some bumps along the way though, he said.

He and his wife heard Cedra fall from the bed onto a tile floor at least three times. Edwards liked to play with Cedra on the bed, even though the room had a crib.

Edwards missed curfews, and a few times didn't come home all night, Strandberg said.

This led the Strandbergs to request that Edwards and Cedra leave their home so they could be better monitored by another foster family.

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