The story of the short life of Bella Bond could make a stone weep. Bella Neveah Amoroso Bond, the true name of the girl found off of Deer Island on June 25 dubbed “Baby Doe” by authorities, was born on August 6, 2012 and died in her Dorchester home just two-and-a-half years later. But her story is more than just one tragedy — it’s a series of incidents where someone could have intervened and did not.
Intervention could have come even before Bella was born. Her mother, Rachelle Bond, had a criminal record dating from the late 90s. She had been jailed for assault and battery, receiving stolen property, larceny, and prostitution. And that’s only the beginning of it. The most important thing to Bella Bond’s potential well-being was marked long before her birth by her two older siblings. Between 2001 and 2006 Bond’s parental rights to her other children were terminated. Yet when DCF investigated two cases involving Bella herself, in both August to December, 2012, and June to September, 2013, the two cases were closed and Bella was allowed to remain with her mother.
On Facebook, Bond seemed like the image of a doting mother.
“My love, my soul, my life. My heart beats because she’s in my world.”
That quote, posted three days before Bella Bond’s second birthday, sounds like a mother that would do anything for her daughter. Yet when Bond told neighbors that Bella had been taken into custody by DCF in March or April, they believed her. It was only one tipster who eventually called in to say that Bond admitted that her boyfriend had killed Bella, that the story unraveled. The tragedy is only compounded by the time Bella Bond spent unidentified before that tip. Did no neighbor see the image of Baby Doe in the media, or did they merely convince themselves that it couldn’t be her? A neighbor mentioned she hadn’t seen her in months, but didn’t make the connection between her and Baby Doe until investigators asked her on Friday.
Both Rachelle Bond and her boyfriend, Michael P. McCarthy, have been arrested in conjunction with Bella Bond’s murder. Bond’s sister said that she was “volatile and angry” and said she shouldn’t have had children. She also said that while she didn’t think Bella was treated properly, she never saw her sister hit her. McCarthy and Bond have both said the other was responsible for Bella’s death; McCarthy reportedly told others that he thought little Bella Bond had “demons” in her. According to Rachelle Bond, he punched Bella in the stomach until she died. McCarthy’s version of Bella’s murder has not been released. Both have admitted that Bella’s body was refrigerated before being dumped on Deer Island.
Bella’s father, who says that he never met his daughter, also says that Bond wouldn’t have killed her child. He moved to Massachusetts to attempt to get custody of her, but like with so many others in Bella Bond’s life, he was too late.
McCarthy is currently hospitalized at Beth Israel Hospital while Bond remains in custody in an unknown location. McCarthy and Bond will be formally arraigned in Bella’s murder on Monday at Boston Municipal Court in Dorchester.
[Images via Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office/AP]