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Father of suspect in Middlesex Fells assault says his son has battled mental health problems for years

After Brady McCue had Thanksgiving dinner with his family Thursday at his sister’s Medford home, his father asked him to go home with him to New Hampshire, but McCue declined.

McCue, 28, who has battled mental health issues for years, had been discharged from Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport on Monday and had initially seemed fine, Harry McCue said in an interview Saturday, but by Thursday night he was starting to show signs of aggression. Harry McCue had started to drive with his son to his home in Merrimack, N.H., but turned around.

“I noticed a little bit of anger that he didn’t want to go to New Hampshire with me, so I calmly said, ‘Let’s head back,’ ” Harry McCue said. “Once we started heading [back to Medford], he wasn’t angry.”

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In hindsight, Harry McCue said, “Obviously something was still there that I didn’t see.”

The next morning, Brady McCue allegedly attacked a 48-year-old woman as she was walking about 8 a.m. near a hiking trail at the Middlesex Fells Reservation, according to the Middlesex district attorney’s office.

He is expected to be arraigned Monday in Somerville District Court on charges of armed assault to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, kidnapping, and four counts of aggravated rape, the district attorney’s office said.

Brady McCue did not know the victim, who was taken to a Boston hospital with serious injuries, according to the district attorney’s office. She was walking alone near the Leslie Road Trail Head when McCue allegedly hit her multiple times with a rock, sexually assaulted her, and then fled the scene.

Harry McCue said he hasn’t been able to talk to his son since he was arrested Friday. His greatest concern now, he said, is for the woman.

“I feel awful for this woman. I can’t find the words,” he said. “That’s my biggest issue right now is making sure she is OK.”

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Harry McCue said his son has been under the care of the state Department of Mental Health for nine years and has been able to live on his own as long as he takes medication. Mental health workers with the Program for Assertive Community Treatment under the Department of Mental Health were checking in on him, his father said.

“I believe the mental health department is overwhelmed with patients and understaffed, and I don’t believe they have the right facilities out there to help mental health patients,” he said. “There are all different kinds of mental health patients, and they’re certainly not the priority of the state of Massachusetts.”

Messages left with the Department of Mental Health late Saturday afternoon were not immediately returned.

Things began to unravel in August when Brady McCue went missing for several weeks, his father said. He was located after he called his mother, who lives in Florida, from the Pine Street Inn in Boston.

Earlier this month, Brady McCue was taken to Anna Jaques Hospital because his father and the team at the Program for Assertive Community Treatment team felt his condition had been regressing and he was reluctant to take his medication because of side effects, Harry McCue said.

“He realized he needed the help, but he wanted to leave after three days,” Harry McCue said.

Harry McCue said he checked in with the hospital frequently and suggested they keep his son for more than three days. Brady McCue ended up staying for another week.

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“They felt that he was adequately prepared to leave the hospital,” his father said.

When he picked his son up from the hospital on Monday, Harry McCue said, they embraced “and he seemed OK.”

“He hugged me and said, ‘I love you, Dad,’” Harry McCue said.

They went back to Brady McCue’s Medford apartment, stopping at Dunkin’ along the way. At the apartment, Harry McCue said, he did four loads of laundry for his son and they folded the clothes together.

The next day, Harry McCue called his son to check in. He had set up a landline phone at the apartment because McCue would often lose his cellphone.

“He was fantastic when he answered the phone,” Harry McCue said.

Harry McCue called again on Wednesday, he said, to remind his son that he would pick him up Thursday to take him to his sister’s house for Thanksgiving.

At McCue’s Medford apartment after the Thanksgiving dinner, Harry McCue asked his son if he needed anything and offered to have some food delivered. His son declined and said he was OK. Harry McCue went home.

The next day, he said, he was shocked by what he learned of his son’s alleged actions.

“He just got out of the hospital this week,” he said. “He could have been on a lower dose [of medication] than he should have, or they didn’t observe him enough.

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“This situation has really rocked me,” he said. “It isn’t him at all. He’s a pleasant, quiet guy. I just don’t get this.”

John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


Nick Stoico can be reached at nick.stoico@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickStoico.