The toddler found dead inside a garbage bag on the shore of Deer Island and known only as Baby Doe since her discovery on June 25 has finally been identified — and the girl’s mother and her boyfriend are under arrest. Police in Boston plan to charge her mother’s boyfriend with the first degree murder of Bella. Her full name is Bella Neveah Amoroso Bond.
Boston police ID’d the deceased child as Bella, and her mother as 40-year-old Rachelle Bond. Bond’s boyfriend, 35-year-old Michael McCarthy, is was under guard at Beth Israel Medical Center at the time of his arrest, where he was a patient being treated for drug addiction. Rachelle is accused of accessory to murder after the fact.
In June, Bella’s body was discovered on Deer Island, a peninsula off Boston, by a woman who was walking her dog. Since then, the child’s identity has remained a mystery, until today when cops revealed a break in the case. Bella’s body had no obvious signs of trauma, and her exact cause of death is unknown. She was just shy of her 3rd birthday when she was found dead.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Prosecutors Says McCarthy Told Investigators That it Was Bella’s ‘Time to Die’
Speaking to the media, Speaker of the Massachusetts House Robert DeLeo confirmed that both Bond and McCarthy are under arrest. He said that both are blaming each other for the toddler’s death. DeLeo added that McCarthy has a history of drug problems and that investigators believe “they have the perpetrators of the crime.” He also said that Bond was picked up by police in Lynn, Massachusetts, about 10 miles north of Boston. In a press conference, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said “We allege that McCarthy caused Bella’s death…that he did so intentionally, that he and Bond took specific steps to keep Bella’s death a secret to avoid prosecution.” He added “This child whose very name means beauty, was murdered.” WCVB reports that investigators believe that McCarthy punched Bella several times in the stomach causing her death. It’s alleged that one night McCarthy went into Bella’s room at bedtime, she was agitated, which resulted in McCarthy attacking her. He believed she had been possessed by a demon and that it was her “time to die.”
In a court appearance on September 21, McCarthy was denied bail while Bond’s was set at $1 million.
The Boston Globe reports that metro police executed a search warrant at a residence on Maxwell Street in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. Those officers were acting on a tip they received on the evening of September 17. That tipster told WCVB “I am glad she has a name and can rest in peace. And get justice. At least she is not Baby Doe now. She is Bella.”
2. Bond Had 2 of Her Children Taken Away From Her by Social Services
The Daily Beast reports that a tip was made by a member of Bella’s family. The website adds that the family member noticed Bella was missing and that her mother had been saying the toddler had been taken away by social services. In 2013, the Department of Children & Families in Massachusetts opened a case relating to Bella Bond, but the case was closed with no action later that year, reports WCVB’s Kathy Curran. According to David Hurlburt, also with WCVB, the DCF in Massachusetts “terminated parental right on two of Rachelle Bond’s children between 2001 and 2006.” One of those kids was adopted by their maternal grandmother. Another was adopted by an completely unrelated family, reports the Boston Globe.
Bella was last visited by the DCF in September 2013.
Residents of an apartment building on Maxwell Street told the Boston Globe that police had been in the building on Thursday asking about a neighbor who had a young daughter who hadn’t been seen in months. A neighbor of the building, Siomy Torres, told the Globe her daughter used to play with the girl. Another neighbor told the Globe the mom “was nice but yelled at the girl a lot.” Speaking to WCVB, a friend, Yessiomora Torres said about Bond “She tried to be responsible, but she was on drugs. She talked slurred, she’d come out to smoke a cigarette, her daughter would be crying.”
On August 18, 2014, Bond posted a video to her Facebook page (watch it below) of a birthday party she threw for Bella. The clip shows the floor filled with balloons and gifts. Bond tells her daughter, “Come on, monkey. Look what Mama did while you were sleeping.”
In the caption for the video, Bond wrote, “My Bella loved her birthday party and all the awesome things she got. Broke the bank on it but it’s all worth it to see her happy and laughing and smiling. Love it.” It’s one of many effusive, loving captions devoted to Bella in Bond’s Facebook photos.
3. Michael McCarthy Has Been Described as Bond’s ‘New Boyfriend,’ & the Couple Got Together Around the Time Bella Vanished
Michael McCarthy is referred to as Rachelle Bond’s “new boyfriend” in WHDH’s report. The station adds that she and McCarthy went “voluntarily” to speak with police on the morning of September 17 and that Bond had another boyfriend who had been in Bella’s life.
Neighbor Siomy Torres told the Boston Globe that “the woman’s most recent boyfriend had arrived at around the same time the child disappeared.”
In a February 2014 posting on her Facebook page, Bond wrote that she was in a relationship with a man named Gregg. She says they’d known each other since 1998.
4. On Facebook, Rachelle Bond Portrays Herself as a Doting Mother
On her Facebook page, Bond constantly posted photos of her doting on Bella. She writes in her “About” section, “Honesty is the best policy. I’d rather hear it from you then someone else. And don’t ask me questions you don’t want the honest answer to.” Bond adds that she’s single. Among her “Likes” are the Stoner’s Cookbook and Social Security Disability Benefits.
The last publicly visible posts on her page are from Christmas day, showing Bella opening presents with her mother and a man identified by Bond as “Hubby.” Bond is a native of Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
In June 2011, a Rachelle Bond was arrested in Boston for possession of a class E drug with intent. A friend of Bond’s, Dora Enright, wrote on her Facebook page upon hearing about Bella being identified “If you don’t want you’re child give them up there’s nothing wrong with that don’t kill them . If you’re boyfriend killed her or you shame on you you could of given me Bella.” In response to that comment, another person wrote about Bond “She was a hooker in Fitchburg and a heroin addict.”
5. Former ‘America’s Most Wanted’ Host John Walsh Said in July That in Cases Like This, the Mother’s Live-In Boyfriend Is a Likely Culprit
In an appearance on Anderson Cooper’s CNN show on July 10, former America’s Most Wanted host and founder of the National Center for Missing & Exploited children, John Walsh, spoke extensively on the case of Baby Doe. He said that in similar cases, the investigations usually pointed to the “live-in boyfriend” or that the girl may have been “accidentally killed or starved to death.” Walsh then pointed out that a possible reason that nobody went to the authorities about her death was because “people do not want to talk to cops” because they don’t want authorities digging into their lives.