Saturday, January 28, 2023

Trinity Bray, the Mother Who Went Missing with Three-Year-Old Son Over One Year Ago, Booked in the Mendocino County Jail for Child Neglect

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Trinity Bray [Mugshot from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office]

Trinity Bray is the mother who went missing in northern Mendocino County along with her three-year-old son after a single-vehicle accident on November 30, 2020. Four days later, Bray and her son were found on the side of Highway 101.

Over one year later, Bray was booked into the Mendocino County jail yesterday afternoon for a felony charge of abandonment/child neglect. 

In an interview, last December, California Highway Patrol’s Sergeant Matthew Harvey revealed information investigators have gathered regarding the traffic accident and the subsequent disappearance prompted a criminal investigation that could lead to Bray being charged with child endangerment and felony hit and run.

Please note, there has not been any confirmation that the charges described in the booking logs are related to last December’s incident. 

We have an inquiry with both California Highway Patrol Garberville tomorrow morning as well as the Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster for further information and confirmation.

Sergeant Harvey told us initial reports on November 30, 2020, indicated at approximately 12:00 p.m., a single-vehicle accident occurred when a gray Toyota Sienna crashed into a tree going northbound on Highway 101. Officers reporting to the scene found one adult male in the vehicle who had sustained major injuries who was later transported to an area hospital. 

Witnesses told dispatch an adult female was seen walking away from the single-vehicle accident either carrying or walking with the child. Based on these reports, CHP officers canvassed Highway 101 assisted by Leggett Valley Volunteer Fire Department who hiked the embankments alongside the highway.

Trinity Brey speaking with California Highway Patrol Officers while waiting to be taken to an area hospital [Picture from KMUD’s Lauren Schmitt]

Sergeant Harvey explained Bray told investigators that after the single-vehicle car crash, she and her child fell down a steep embankment, falling into the Eel River, and found abandoned marijuana grow across the river to take refuge in throughout the four days they were missing. As of last December, investigators were unable to corroborate these claims, said Sergeant Harvey.

Mendocino County’s Search and Rescue team, Leggett Valley Volunteer Fire, CHP, and other agencies assisted in the search for Bray and her son in the days following their disappearance.

It was at approximately 11:00 a.m. on December 4 when CHP began to receive reports of a naked woman sitting in the middle of Highway 101, according to Sergeant Harvey. A driver stopped to speak with the distressed woman who indicated there was a child down the embankment. Upon receiving these reports, Sergeant Harvey said CHP officers were “confident that it would be Bray and the child.”

Sergeant Harvey said first responders found the child significantly down the embankment along Highway 101 and one witness had told CHP the child was “holding onto a log.”

Sergeant Harvey said this case is specifically difficult to speak about because “we have a young child who is potentially the victim of a crime. We want to be sensitive to that information. Initially, we put out more information about the child than we would because he was missing.”

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a journalist for the everyman. Journalism has become a craft practiced largely by the urban elite. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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