The life of a child is a precious one; this is why whenever their safety has been compromised, it is seen as a huge tragedy. On June 26, a woman was out walking her dog when she came across a plastic bag along the Deer Island shore. After the woman looked into the bag, she called the police. They investigated and found the body of a toddler (thought to be around four years old with brown eyes and brown shoulder-length hair, weighing about thirty pounds and was three and a half feet tall). The little girl had no shirt but was wearing polka-dot leggings and was beside a zebra print blanket. Unaware of her identity, the police referred to her as ‘Baby Doe’. Police said she was in the early stage of decomposition when Baby Doe was found, and a computer-generated image of her shown what she might’ve looked like. The photo was shared or been seen by more than 53 million people, but this did not lead the authorities any closer to understanding what happened to Baby Doe or who she was. Although many tips suggested that Baby Doe was a 3-year-old girl named Aliayah Lunsford, who went missing in West Virginia in 2011, this was later ruled out.
Baby Doe’s body had shown no signs of violence. Investigators began looking into the possibility have her being poisoned. Despite being found by the shore, police did not believe she had been in the water and was most likely a local who had been dropped off by the shore. The police could not identify the exact cause of her death and encouraged the caregivers to come forward.
On September 18, Baby Doe was identified as a girl named Bella Amoroso Bond, who was “just shy of three years old”. Following her identification, Rachelle Bond, Bella’s mother, and her boyfriend, Michael McCarthy, were arrested. McCarthy was charged with intentionally killing Bella while Bond was charged with as an accessory to murder. A friend of Bond had asked about the location of Bella. When Bond admitted that Bella was dead, this friend then informed police about her death which led to Bond and McCarthy’s arrests. “The tragedy of her death is compounded by the fact that her short life ended not by illness or accident, but we believe by an act of violence in the very place where she should have felt safest, in her home,” Daniel Conley, Suffolk District Attorney, said. Bond had had a long history of criminal record which included drug and prostitution cases, which led to the termination of Bond’s parental rights over two children between 2001 and 2006. Bella was not exempt from abusive treatment and was often yelled at, demeaned, spanked, and on two occasions, locked in a closet for half an hour to an hour. Bond said that Bella was “possessed by demons” and claimed that McCarthy had told her he had the ability to exorcise demons. Books on demons and demonology were reportedly found in the home.
On the night of Bella’s death, Bond says Bella had been “unruly and had refused to go to bed.” McCarthy went into the toddler’s room to “calm her down”, and when Bond went to check on them, she saw McCarthy standing over Bella; his hand near her stomach, her face grey, and her head swollen. Bond told police McCarthy had killed Bella by “punching her in the stomach until she stopped breathing.” McCarthy also told Bond, “She was a demon anyway. It was her time to die.” McCarthy refrigerated the body and then proceeded to inject Bond’s neck with heroin. The two remained intoxicated for days before McCarthy took Bella’s body to the South Boston seaport where he weighed down Bella’s body and threw her into the water. Janice Bassil, Bond’s attorney, states that McCarthy had held Bond “captive and under duress during the period after the child died.” The attorney also stated that “Bond was not free to call 911 after Bella’s death McCarthy had kept a close watch over her. She was not free to leave and she was not free to use a phone.” McCarthy is pleading not guilty and his attorney, Jonathan Shapiro, states that McCarthy did not know Bella was dead until police had told him on September 18, and that he “is shocked and saddened by the death of Bella Bond, but he did not kill her.”
Joe Amoroso, Bella’s biological father, had never met Bella in person since he had left Bond when he discovered of her pregnancy three years ago. Amoroso had spoken to Bella over the phone before, and whenever he spoke with Bond he would constantly ask about her, he would even send money for the girl. Amoroso had realized that Bella was in a bad situation and called the Department of Children and Families, in the hopes that they’d get Bella out of the house. Bond had also called the department at least once. “Cases were opened up and then they were closed. I told a lot of this, you know, DCF responsible,” It is unknown why the DCF did not follow through with Amoroso’s call. When Amoroso was asked if he had anything to say to McCarthy, he said he wanted him to know “he wasn’t going to last a day and he’s done.” Amoroso sat in the front row during the court case and was often seen tensing his jaw and pursing his lips during the secession. Amoroso told reporters he knew Bond had not killed their daughter, and stated “I was with her for quite some time and I know more about Rachelle than most people do.”