BOSTON (CBS/AP) — The mother of a young girl dubbed Baby Doe and identified almost three months after her remains washed up inside a trash bag on a Boston Harbor beach was ordered held on $1 million cash bond Monday, and the mother’s boyfriend was denied bail on murder charges.
Rachelle Bond, the mother of 2-year-old Bella Bond, and Michael McCarthy appeared in court for an emotionally charged arraignment. McCarthy is charged with killing Bella, whose body was found by a dog walker on Deer Island in June. Bond, who wore a gray zip-up sweater with the hood up at court, is charged as an accessory after the fact.
Joe Amoroso, who says he is Bella’s biological father, yelled as McCarthy was being led out of the courtroom: “Mike McCarthy, you’re done! You won’t last a day.”
After the arraignment, Amoroso told WBZ he doesn’t blame Bond for the death of their daughter.
A composite image of the chubby-cheeked girl with deep brown eyes had been viewed by millions as authorities tried to identify her. The big break came almost three months later when Boston police received a tip and a search warrant was executed Thursday at her mother’s apartment.
Assistant District Attorney David Deakin said Monday that police got the tip after Bond broke down in tears Sept. 16 and told a friend of McCarthy that McCarthy had killed Bella.
The man said Bond told him she had been off drugs for the last couple of days. When the man told her that was good news, that she’d now be able to get her daughter back from state custody, he said Bond broke down crying and said, “I’ll never see my daughter again,'” according to the prosecutor.
The man told police he had lived with the couple and Bella earlier this year but moved out because he was appalled at how they treated her.
According to the friend, the couple had locked Bella inside a closet at least twice for 30 minutes to an hour while she screamed to be freed, the prosecutor said. The friend said McCarthy and Bond told him Bella was possessed by demons, Deakin said.
During a search of their apartment, police found books there on demons and demonology, Deakin said.
The prosecutor said Bond, 40, told police that one night in late May, Bella didn’t want to go to bed and was fussy. McCarthy, 35, said he would go into the bedroom to calm her down, Deakin said.
A little while later, when Bond realized she didn’t hear any noise coming from the room, she went to check on Bella and found her lying on a bed and McCarthy standing over her with his hand near her abdomen, the prosecutor said.
Deakin said Bond reported that Bella’s head was swollen and she was gray and that she knew her daughter was dead when she picked her up.
According to Bond, McCarthy said, “She was a demon anyway. It was her time to die.”
Bond’s lawyer, Janice Bassil, said McCarthy “essentially held her captive” and would not allow Bond to leave after Bella was killed.
“She wants to see Mr. McCarthy held responsible for his actions,” Bassil said. “This is a very sad case. It is sad for everyone. It is sad for her as well.”
Bassil asked the judge to set a low cash bail of $250 and allow her to be under house arrest with an electronic bracelet. The comment drew murmurs and snickers from people in the courtroom.
McCarthy’s lawyer, Jonathan Shapiro, said McCarthy reported knowing nothing about Bella’s death. The lawyer said Bond told McCarthy that Bella had been taken away by the state Department of Children and Families.
“He is shocked and saddened by the death of baby Bella, but he did not kill her,” Shapiro said.
When McCarthy was told by state police that Bond’s story differed from his own, he indicated that Bond might be lying to save herself, according to a summary included in the criminal complaint against McCarthy.
Judge Thomas Kaplanes granted a request from prosecutors to hold McCarthy without bail and Bond on $1 million cash bail.
The prosecutor said Bond told authorities that McCarthy threatened to kill her if she told anyone what he had done to Bella. Bond said McCarthy got a plastic construction bag, placed Bella’s body inside and put the bag inside a refrigerator, the prosecutor said.
Later, Bond said, McCarthy put that bag inside the trunk of his vehicle, Deakin said. He drove the car to the Boston Seaport, added weights to the bag and dumped it into the water, the prosecutor said.
A woman who said she was Bella Bond’s godmother had an outburst in court during the proceedings, yelling “I hope you rot in hell,” before she was escorted from the courtroom.
“When she sees me, she’s going to know what a horrible, horrible person she is,” Megan Fewtrell told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey Monday morning before court.
Fewtrell says she and Rachelle used to be friends. She also said she had no idea what had happened to Bella.
“If I did, believe me, I would have been the first person at that door,” she said.
Bella’s godmother says she was loved by many people, but because Rachelle was estranged from much of her family, many people didn’t get to see the little girl.
On Monday afternoon, the Department of Children and Families released a statement saying they are looking into Bella’s case again.
“What happened to Baby Bella is a terrible tragedy and while the child’s case was closed over two years ago under the previous administration, the department is looking into the matter in efforts to improve the way the department cares for the children in its custody,” said DCF spokeswoman Andrea Grossman in the statement. “The investigations into the recent tragedies revealed systemic problems within the department and the Baker administration is taking action to improve intake procedures, increase staffing and tackle several other reforms to how the department operates.
“Since taking over, the Baker administration has increased DCF’s funding to the highest level in recent history, supplied caseworkers with updated technology and DCF has hired 300 new social workers.”
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