BOSTON (CBS) – The child known around New England as “Baby Doe” has been identified as Bella Bond of Dorchester.
Authorities say Bella was murdered by her mother’s boyfriend, 35-year-old Michael Patrick McCarthy.
“This child whose very name means beauty, was murdered,” Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley said. McCarthy allegedly murdered Bella in the Dorchester apartment where she lived.
McCarthy is currently hospitalized for a medical condition unrelated to this case. Bella’s mother, 40-year-old Rachelle Bond, has been charged as an accessory after the fact.
“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 and to avoid prosecution,” Conley said.
Earlier Friday, House Speaker Robert DeLeo told reporters that Bond and McCarthy are blaming each other for Bella’s death.
The cause of death has not been released. “We have a very good idea of what happened to her based on the evidence,” Conley said.
Conley says more information will be released on Monday when McCarthy and Bond are arraigned.
Authorities say Bella was about 2 and a half years old at the time of her death.
Her body was found in a trash bag June 25 by a woman who was walking her dog along the beach on Deer Island. Sources said they are unsure of the girl’s connection to Winthrop but one of the people being questioned has had contact with Winthrop police in the past, WBZ’s Lauren Leamanczyk reported.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports that Boston Police obtained a tip into possible information about the girl and passed it on to Massachusetts State Police.
As a result of that information, State Police executed a search warrant at an apartment on Maxwell Street in Dorchester Thursday night.
“It was a very valuable tip,” Conley said. “It’s just a very good example of someone who acquired some information and called the Boston Police and from there with that little information we were able to build this case in about 24 hours and solve it.”
Two residents of that building told reporters Friday that police were asking about a woman who lived there named Rachelle Bond.
The neighbors confirmed Bond had lived there with her boyfriend and little girl, and that the toddler had played with other children in the neighborhood. However, they said the girl had not been seen in a long time.
“It’s been months, probably since April. March or April,” one resident told WBZ-TV.
When WBZ’s Christina Hager asked her if she had ever heard anything going on, the woman said the couple “used to argue a couple times. Yelling back and forth.
Other than that I hadn’t heard the little girl in a while and her room is right next door to my room.”
That neighbor said it appeared the Bond had problems with drug addiction. The woman said Bond told her the Department of Children and Familes (DCF) had taken Bella and her other children into custody, so when residents stopped seeing the toddler they assumed she was in state custody.
When asked about a DCF connection to Bond Friday afternoon, Governor Charlie Baker told reporters the agency opened an investigation into Bond in 2013 and it was closed that same year.
“Her other children, as I understand it were a lot older,” Baker said, adding that Bond’s other kids were at least 10 years older than Bella.
“I didn’t know anything about it,” another resident told reporters outside the home. “It is shocking. My stomach is bubbling,” she said.
Both neighbors said they had followed the extensive media coverage of the Baby Doe case and they had seen the image police had been circulating, but they never made the connection until police showed up Thursday night.
Bella’s aunt, Tamera Bond, says her sister Rachelle has had a very troubling life and she was not fit to be a parent.
Investigators had tested her DNA and posted a computer-generated image of her across social media, billboards and television all summer long, but had not come up with any substantial leads until Friday’s announcement.
Hundreds of leads had been looked into, and investigators coordinated well-being checks on children throughout the state, as well as in nearly three dozen other states and several countries.
Police had ruled out more than 200 girls as being Baby Doe.
A range of forensic testing, including tests on pollen found on the girl’s hair and clothing and testing oxygen ratios in isotopes in her hair and teeth, suggested she was from the New England area, authorities said.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karyn Regal reports