‘Baby Doe’ Identified, But Why Didn’t Anyone Miss Her For Months?

Months after the child known as “Baby Doe” captured the attention of the nation, the little girl finally has an identity. She is 2-year-old Bella Bond. Knowing who Baby Doe is can’t be called much of a victory. It doesn’t change the fact that in late June, this small child’s remains were found in a trash bag in the Boston Harbor.

Giving the toddler an identity meant helping to determine her cause of death. Specifically, who killed her. Police believe they’ve answered this grim question. According to the Associated Press, two adults were arrested in relation to the former Baby Doe’s murder.

Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley told the press Bella’s mother, Rachelle Bond, was arrested as an accessory to murder in her daughter’s death. Rachelle’s boyfriend, Michael McCarthy was directly charged with Bella’s murder. Multiple reports indicate McCarthy is not the child’s birth father.

How did authorities zero in on these two suspects? Boston.com reports a break in the baffling Baby Doe case came via a crucial anonymous tip provided on Thursday. Conley said that the unnamed source “acquired information” about the toddler and then contacted the Boston Police Department.

“We were able to build this case in 24 hours and solve it.”

A search warrant was issued for Bond and McCarthy’s home on Maxwell Street in Dorchester, Mass. Soon after, the toddler’s 40-year-old mother and the mom’s 35-year-old boyfriend were charged in connection with her murder. “We allege McCarthy caused Bella’s death,” said Conley. “That he did so intentionally, that he and Bond took specific steps to keep [Baby Doe’s] death a secret and to avoid prosecution.”

In cases like this, the DA’s statement isn’t too surprising. When a very young child turns up murdered, and there are no ongoing “missing child cases” to connect with their death, police often focus on the adults closest to the child. In this case, such suspicions by investigators could be valid after all.

Even though an anonymous tip has broken the Baby Doe case wide open, there is a lingering, and rather frustrating, question that must be asked: Why didn’t any of the neighbors recognize Baby Doe as Bella Bond? Commenters on various social media sites have complained that the lack of similarity between the rendering and actual photographs delayed identification. Yet, that doesn’t change the fact that a child went missing for months and no one seemed to notice.

Fox25/MyFoxBoston spoke with a woman who claimed to be the godmother to “Baby Doe” Bella Bond. She told the news source that though she was there for the birth, nearly a year had passed since she last saw her god-daughter. The Boston Herald reported that Siomy Torres, who lived not too far from Bella’s family, had answered police questions about the missing toddler. She admitted that she hadn’t seen the little girl in months.

She and others related the girl’s disappearance to the Department of Children and Families, which had been in contact with the toddler’s family. They just assumed her absence meant she’d been removed from her mother’s custody. As for the DCF, Bella’s case wasn’t flagged in relation to the “Baby Doe” discovery because it was closed just prior to her death and disappearance. The DCF had already removed two other children from the home between 2006 and 2010. One is currently living with the maternal grandmother, and the other was adopted by a non-relative.

Do you think the difference between the artist’s depiction and how Bella Bond looked in real life caused a delay in the Baby Doe case? Share your thoughts below.

[Photo courtesy of Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office]