Hunter Bragg was a healthy 7-year-old who died of “blunt and sharp force injuries of head and neck” that were the result of a dog attack, according to the medical examiner’s report on the boy, who was killed in June by a pit bull in Corinna.

The town animal control officer’s dog bite report on the June 4 attack, released several days after it happened, said Hunter’s throat was attacked by the male pit bull, but didn’t specify whether the wound was a bite or more.

The medical examiner’s report, however, dated June 6 and released this week, details a brutal mauling, with injuries to the head, face and neck, including a perforated larynx and trachea, sharp force injuries to the esophagus, hemorrhages in the neck and mouth, and “multiple” wounds to the scalp, face, left shoulder and armpit. It says the 911 call was made at 5:13 p.m. and Hunter was pronounced dead at 5:33 p.m.

The Office of Chief Medical Examiner mailed the report to the Morning Sentinel after a public records request, and it arrived at the newspaper Wednesday.

The report also provides a brief, tragic narrative not earlier detailed by law enforcement:

Hunter’s father Jason Bragg, 35, who lived in a camper on the 207 Moody’s Mill Road property, carried his son inside after the attack, called 911 and started CPR. When Sgt. Andrew Whitehouse, of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office, arrived on the scene, Bragg still was attempting to revive his son.


The boy had been playing with two other children in the yard at the time of the attack, and the dog was believed to be chained when it attacked the boy, Charles Gould, Corinna’s animal control officer, said shortly afterward. The dog was euthanized after the attack at owner Gary Merchant’s request.

The report says that Hunter was visiting his father, who lived on the property owned by Merchant, who had been caring for the dog. The dog had belonged to his daughter in Vermont and wasn’t registered with the town.

Law enforcement and animal welfare officials wouldn’t comment in June on reports the dog, Dakota, had attacked other dogs and that’s why Merchant’s daughter had given it to him, but said the dog’s history was part of the investigation.

Penobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton wasn’t available to comment Wednesday on the progress of the investigation. He said June 28 that police still were compiling state agency reports and he expected to have a report “in a few weeks.” No update has been available since then.

A representative of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry animal welfare office Wednesday directed all questions to the Penobscot County sheriff’s office. The probe into the dog’s history had been taken over by that office, Gould said in June.

Morton said in June that the dog’s history is an important part of the investigation.


“I think knowing where the dog lived and where it had been and its history, those are probably key factors,” Morton said. “We do have some of those answers, but we’re not prepared to release them.”

Morton also said in answer to questions about any concerns about the seven other dogs on the property that “those issues are being addressed.”

“This is a big investigation. It takes a long time,” he said in June. “Those are pieces of it that will be reviewed to see if any or no action needs to be taken.”

A pit bull isn’t a specific breed, but a general term for several different breeds of bull terrier.

Gould said in June that he had never dealt with the dog before the fatal attack, but he had been sent to the Moody’s Mills Road property last year to deal with a noise complaint related to the dogs. At the time, he found that several of them were not registered, but Merchant addressed the problem shortly after it was brought up, according to Town Clerk Serena Bemis-Goodall. At the time of the attack, the other seven dogs were registered.

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