Child left in car recovering from hypothermia, frostbite

ELLSWORTH — A 1-year-old child left in a car is recovering from hypothermia and frostbite at a local hospital, according to police. The child’s mother, Ashley Bragg, 32, of Ellsworth, was arrested on Feb. 18 and charged with aggravated assault, Class B and assault on a child less than 6 years old, Class C, in addition to the Class D charges of domestic violence assault, endangering the welfare of a child and domestic violence reckless conduct.

Bragg was released from jail on $5,000 unsecured bail later that day and then arrested again on Feb. 22 for allegedly having contact with the child’s father, a violation of her bail conditions.

Police had responded to Bragg’s Surry Road residence on Feb. 18 after the child’s paternal grandmother called 911 at 11:20 a.m. to report the child missing. According to Officer Shawn Merchant’s report, Bragg had called the child’s father to say she could not find the child. The father then called his mother, who failed to reach Bragg by telephone and called 911. In the meantime, Bragg had called her own mother, who helped check the residence. Bragg cleaned the residence, according to the probable cause report, before going with her mother to her mother’s residence.

When Merchant arrived at Bragg’s home, he found it unlocked and unoccupied. He then checked Bragg’s vehicle that was parked near the front porch and saw the baby in a car seat in the back seat, buckled in and face down, backward in the seat, wearing a thin, one-piece outfit. The temperature at that time was 25 degrees. Bragg then arrived with her mother and was told where the child had been found. Her mother took the baby inside to get warm and Bragg agreed to have her baby evaluated by medical personnel, who diagnosed hypothermia and possible frostbite.

Bragg told Merchant she had last seen her child in the apartment the night before at around 10 p.m.

After consultation with the Hancock County District Attorney’s Office, Bragg was taken into custody, initially charged with assault, endangering the welfare of a child and domestic violence reckless conduct, with the more serious charges added later. She is scheduled to appear in court on April 15.

Bragg’s bail conditions include having no contact with children under 10 years of age or her mother or her child’s grandmother, no use or possession of alcohol and drugs with searches of herself, home and car for alcohol and drugs without probable cause, and a 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 a.m. curfew except for Narcotics Anonymous meetings and essential groceries. As of Feb. 23, Bragg had not yet appeared before a judge for a bail hearing on the new Class C charge of violating bail conditions.

Correction: An earlier version of this article contained an error. The probable cause report stated that Bragg cleaned the apartment.

Anne Berleant

Anne Berleant

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Anne Berleant covers news and features in Ellsworth, Mariaville, Otis, Amherst, Aurora, Great Pond and Osborn. When not reporting, find her hiking local trails, reading or watching professional tennis. Email her at [email protected]