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Criminal Complaint Charges Trinity Bray with ‘Endangering or Abusing’ Her 4-Year-Old Son After Fleeing Scene of Traffic Accident and Disappearing One Year Ago

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

35-year-old Trinity Leigh Bray left the scene of a single-vehicle traffic accident near Leggett just over one year ago with her three-year-old son in tow. The pair would not be seen again until four days later when Bray was found kneeling naked in the middle of Highway 101 showing signs of distress. Soon after, first responders located Bray’s son holding onto a log down a steep embankment from the highway.

Now, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Mendocino County District Attorney, Trinity Leigh Bray stands accused of felony abusing or endangering the health of a child for her actions following the accident. The penal code stipulates Bray willfully caused or permitted the child to suffer, or inflicted unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering. The charges also can include Bray’s actions willfully causing or permitting the person or health of that child to be injured, or willfully causing or permitting a child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health is endangered.

Many aspects of Bray and her son’s disappearance caught the attention of investigators as they pieced together the events. California Highway Patrol Sergeant Matt Harvey told us last December a controlled substance was found in the back of the vehicle. An eyewitness had told law enforcement that they saw Bray flee the scene and her child was visibly injured, which upped the stakes for first responders and initiated a call out for more searchers including Mendocino County Search and Rescue and nearby volunteer fire agencies. Child Welfare Services began actively investigating what occurred starting the first day Bray and her child fled the scene

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

When Bray was discovered, she told an investigator that she and her son had fallen 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.

These charges were over a year in the making, and Sergeant Harvey told us last year Bray could face charges of both child endangerment and felony hit and run. Because the includes a child being the victim of a crime, Sergeant Harvey told us, “We want to be sensitive to that information. Initially, we put out more information about the child than we would because he was missing.”

Bray bailed out of the Mendocino County Jail on December 14, 2021, the same day she was booked. She is scheduled to be arraigned in the Mendocino County Superior Court on January 5, 2022, at 9:00 a.m.

And, as always, with due respect to the victim of the circumstances described, it must be stated that the charges described have not been proven in a court of law. In accordance with the legal principle of the presumption of innocence, any individual(s) described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
Educator🔸Reporter for KMUD/ Redheaded Blackbelt/Founder of Cold Case Mendocino🔹Local News Junkie

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