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ELLSWORTH, Maine — A frantic search for a missing 1-year-old ended with the discovery of the baby in a car seat in a cold vehicle, police said.
The mother, Ashley Bragg, 32, of Ellsworth allegedly left the child facedown in the car seat overnight Wednesday into Thursday when temperatures dropped into the teens.
The child, who is in the custody of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, was taken to a hospital for treatment of hypothermia and frostbite on Thursday, according to police.
Bragg is charged with aggravated assault and assault on a child under the age of 6, both felonies, and endangering the welfare of a child and domestic violence reckless conduct, both misdemeanors, according to the Hancock County District Attorney’s office.
It was unclear how long the child had been missing when police received a 911 call at 11:20 a.m. Thursday. The mother allegedly last saw the baby between 9 and 10 p.m. Wednesday.
An officer who arrived at the home found the baby in a parent’s car, and the mother arrived moments later, police said.
Bragg made her first appearance before a judge Friday afternoon from the Hancock County Jail in a remote hearing before Superior Court Justice Bruce Mallonee. She was not asked to enter pleas because she has not yet been indicted by a grand jury.
Assistant District Attorney Delwyn Webster urged the judge to set bail at $50,000 cash for her “shocking and disgusting actions.”
Defense attorney Dawn Corbett of Ellsworth asked that an unsecured bail be set. She told the judge that her client did not remember leaving the baby in the car.
Mallonee set bail at $1,000 unsecured and ordered that Bragg have no contact with her child or other witnesses. He essentially placed Bragg under house arrest, ordering that she leave her home only to work, attend weekly support meetings and to shop for groceries.
Bragg is next due in court on April 15.
An emergency hearing is scheduled for Feb. 26 to determine where the baby will stay while Bragg’s case moves forward.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.