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Published: Friday, 7/11/2008

Girl, 3, loves Toledo father charged with assault

BY LAREN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Thomas Bragg, 46, right, accused of felonious assault and attempt to commit an offense, appears with his public defender, James MacHarg, in Toledo Municipal Court yesterday. Thomas Bragg, 46, right, accused of felonious assault and attempt to commit an offense, appears with his public defender, James MacHarg, in Toledo Municipal Court yesterday.
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Most troubling about the allegations that Thomas Bragg tried to kill himself and his 3-year-old daughter by asphyxiation is that the little girl often talks about how much she loves her father, her great aunt said.

"The saddest thing about this is that she adores her father," Pam Feher said.

Mr. Bragg, 46, of 4129 Willys Pkwy. was arraigned yesterday in Toledo Municipal Court.

He remained last night in the Lucas County jail in lieu of a $400,000 bond.

He was held on charges of felonious assault and attempt to commit an offense.

Pam Feher is the great-aunt of Haylee Bragg. Pam Feher is the great-aunt of Haylee Bragg.
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According to court documents, Mr. Bragg purposely attempted to "cause the death of Haylee Bragg by carbon monoxide poisoning."

Sitting in the front row of the courtroom, Ms. Feher kept her eyes focused on Mr. Bragg as he was escorted into the room in his jail-issued jumpsuit.

She said she was there on be-half of his wife, Trista Bragg, who is her niece.

"She's too emotionally distraught over this," Ms. Feher said. "I needed to be here for her."

Police said Mr. Bragg put his daughter in his sport utility vehicle about 4 a.m. Wednesday and drove to a parking lot at Telegraph and West Stateline roads near the Ohio-Michigan border.

He apparently told his daughter they were going camping.

Mr. Bragg, a truck driver, attached a hose from the vehicle's exhaust pipe to a rear passenger window and sealed that window with duct tape, leaving the vehicle running, police said.

A truck driver noticed the vehicle and called police.

Mr. Bragg and Haylee were found by police lying in the rear of the vehicle.

Both appeared to be asleep or unconscious, a report said.

It is unclear how long they had been there before police were called.

When Ms. Bragg arrived at the scene, she said there were pillows and blankets in the back of her husband's sport utility vehicle.

Her daughter's favorite Dora the Explorer blanket was among them.

"She's got to sleep with her Dora blanket," Ms. Bragg said.

Ms. Bragg said she is in the process of filing for divorce and told her husband last week she was leaving him.

Although Haylee continues to ask for her father, Ms. Bragg said she can't bring herself to explain to her what police say happened this week.

"The only thing I can tell her is, 'Daddy is sick and we can't talk to him,' " she said.

Ms. Feher, who visited Haylee on Wednesday, agreed that it's best she doesn't know.

Contact Laren Weber at:

lweber@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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