The Death of Bella Bond
I have compiled nearly 450 blogs on this site at this point. Without a doubt the most difficult have involved the deaths of children, which I have done many. It is even more difficult, emotionally, in cases such as this one. Any death of a child, criminal or not, is sad. We will never see what that child could have done in life; we will never see if those who had horrible childhoods could overcome things. I have a relative who lived the life of having an addict for a parent and while none of us are perfect in any way, the one thing that I admire most about her is the fact that she overcame her childhood; she learned lessons and broke the cycle. She has gone on to have a productive life and has been the parent to her children she did not have. That being said, not every child has that opportunity and in the worse cases one has to wonder which situation is worse, death or the continued abuse that they suffered when it seemed clear no one was saving this child.
On June 25, 2015 a woman was out walking her dog when they came across a plastic trash bag along the shores of water of Deer Island in Winthrop Massachusetts. Inside the bag was the body of a child, but that is all that authorities could say. They not only had no idea who the child was but due to decomposition and bloating from water and environmental exposure they could not even say if this child was a male or female just by looking. Initially it was thought that the child had recently died and had been left in the water, which had caused much of the bloating they saw. An autopsy would be required to get more answers. Although the autopsy could not narrow down a cause of death (remember this was the case in Caylee Anthony's death) they were able to determine that the child was a female and they came to believe that the child had likely died a month or two prior to the discovery and that the body had been kept cold until just days before the discovery. Until the child could be identified she was named Deer Island Jane Doe or sometimes Deer Island Baby Doe.
Authorities would start by combing through missing child reports and try to compare DNA. They were coming up empty. They employed a sketch artist to come in and using information from the autopsy create a picture of what they believed the child looked like while she was alive. Over eighty billboards were erected around the state with this sketch and information known, as well as a tip line. Fliers were also distributed. Tips were pouring in but for months still nothing panned out. It was already being speculated that a parent or guardian of this child was involved in her death or at the very least was obviously aware of her death and had not reported it. There seemed to be no other explanation for the lack of a police report of any kind. Authorities were going to have to rely on friends, relatives, neighbors and the general public to solve this one. They were going to have to follow up on general tips from people who would say things such as someone had a child that they had noticed had not been around in a while and/or received conflicting or odd stories from the parents as to the child's whereabouts.
It was not until September, nearly three months after the discovery, that authorities received a tip from a woman who stated her sister had a neighbor who's young daughter seemed to no longer be around and who people believe may have resembled the sketch investigators had released. The woman's sister was a neighbor to Rachelle Bond, a woman in her forties, with a criminal record for many things, including drugs and prostitution. Rachelle had a two year old daughter named Bella. Bella had not been seen in recent months by the neighbor and they had also noticed that it seemed Rachelle had gotten rid of many things belonging to Bella, including toys. When confronted by her neighbor about the whereabouts of Bella, Rachelle told the neighbor that Child Protective Services had taken her. It is likely fair to say Rachelle never thought, and was apparently correct at the time, that the neighbor would not see if this was correct or not. It appears that it was in general conversation with her sister that the neighbor mentioned this and that the neighbor herself was still reluctant to get involved or be accusatory. Her sister obviously did not feel the same way and reported it as a tip.
On September 17, 2015 a search warrant was issued on Rachelle's Dorchester Massachusetts home. On the following day the body of the young child found was positively identified as Bella Bond. It did not take long before both Rachelle and her boyfriend, Michael McCarthy were both arrested. However, the details of the case and the ultimate outcome for the two defendants continues to outrage the public.
Bella Bond was conceived by Rachelle and her then boyfriend, Joe Amoroso, while the two were homeless and living in a tent. They were both addicted to heroin. Theft, drugs and prostitution ruled their lives. Apparently even before Bella's birth, in August of 2012, the couple had split. It has been reported that Rachelle had at least two children previously that had been removed from her care through CPS over the years. Amoroso apparently knew of his daughter's birth but reportedly had never seen her and only spoke to her on the phone. Some of Rachelle's family were unaware that she had had another child. While her addiction apparently continued and some say she sold drugs, as well as herself to support her habit and her daughter, sometime in 2013 Rachelle moved into an apartment in Dorchester. There are some that say aside from her addiction to heroin, and likely other things, Rachelle was also interested or expressed satanic beliefs prior to meeting Michael McCarthy in February of 2015. Whether that is true is unclear but it does seem apparently clear that McCarthy himself, also a heroin addict, did have a belief in the occult.
Initially both were charged with the murder of Bella Bond. What is in dispute to some is what exactly happened. Eventually Rachelle would receive a plea deal that many believe she should have never been offered, and many of those same people do not believe the stories that she told authorities not only to get the deal but the one she would tell in court that would help in ultimately convicting Michael McCarthy. Rachelle would be on the stand for over five days at the trial in June of 2017, defense attorney's would hound her on details of what she said occurred surrounding the death of her daughter. While prosecutors would maintain that they believed her story, defense attorney's would begin their case arguing that she could not be believed and hence the prosecution could not prove their client guilty. They would argue after the trial that they were hindered by the prosecution and the judge in this case as the jury was told that whether they believed Rachelle's story in which McCarthy was the sole killer of Bella or not did not in essence matter. The jury was basically told that as long as they believed McCarthy to be guilty in Bella's death, it mattered not if they believed he acted alone or in conjunction with Rachelle as long as they believed him to be involved.
At Michael McCarthy's trial the jury was made aware of the fact that Rachelle Bond had accepted a deal with the prosecution in which as long as she testified against McCarthy she would be released under the deal with “time served,” and two years probation. Rachelle would plead guilty to being an accessory after the fact and to larceny due to the fact that she continued to receive welfare benefits for Bella after her death. In my opinion, the defense made some very valid points in their arguments at trial, but the problem was the underlying matter, and the prosecutors could not help but agree that it was heroin addiction that got them where they were. The defense would drill Rachelle on the fact that her initial story to the police and the story she told at trial seemed to differ. In her original story she told authorities that Michael had punched and abused Bella on the night of her death because she would not go to sleep. This seems to be about the only part of her story that she seemed to stay with until the end. She told police in her initial story that after she died that Michael had placed Bella in plastic trash bags and placed her in a refrigerator for up to a month and then placed her body in a duffel bag that was weighted down and that he had told her he had placed her in the river. At trial she would leave out the issue of the refrigerator as well as by trial stated she could not even say on what date her daughter died. She had originally told investigators that Bella died on May 27th, two days before Michael McCarthy's birthday. At trial she would only say the beginning of June and indicate that the body was immediately disposed of in the river. She would argue with defense attorney's that at the time of Bella's murder and near the time of her arrest she was highly under the influence of drugs. She would claim that by the time of the trial in 2017 she had been clean and sober (due to being in jail all that time) and therapy had helped her be more clear and concise on things despite the fact that it was clear she had been more specific (regardless if it was true or not) in her initial interview with police than she was at trial. The defense would also obviously argue that a clear cause of death could not be found through the autopsy so that the prosecution's theory that Rachelle's story matched the evidence was not exactly true. The defense would claim that at the time of Bella's murder Michael was not living with Rachelle and therefore Rachelle was the sole killer and not Michael, although I am unsure what evidence they had to prove this. However, at least in my opinion, they made another very good point. Of course the prosecution even had to press Rachelle on the issue that she had never reported her daughter's death at all and that she had admitted to helping or being involved with things after. Rachelle would claim that this was out of fear of Michael and that he had threatened her. However, the defense was able to show that not only had Rachelle outwardly still shown affection to Michael around other people after Bella had died, she had even written in a journal, continuing to call him her “soulmate” and expressing her love for him.
In the end the jury would convict Michael McCarthy on charges of second degree murder. What this verdict tells me is that they could not say they knew for a fact how Bella had died but that they felt McCarthy was involved in some way. Since a cause of death could not be determined there is no way the jury could be sure if Rachelle's story was true. The automatic sentence for this charge in Massachusetts was life with the possibility of parole. He is apparently eligible for parole in 2037 unless he has a successful appeal.
The outrage from the community surrounding Rachelle's sentence continues. Apparently according to her plea deal, along with getting released on “time served” and being sentenced to two years probation she had to also enroll in a rehabilitation program. Initially she was for release the day after McCarthy was convicted as she had testified, according to the prosecutors, truthfully but her release was delayed when a local rehabilitation center that had planned to take her in decided that they could not do so. Now, I am a bit on the fence here on how I feel about this. According to the rehabilitation center that from my understanding was also a shelter and worked through the Salvation Army, rejected her from entering because of her “involvement in this case.” I can completely understand the outrage associated with this case, and truthfully I cannot say that I believe Rachelle was not more involved, but I am unsure that I believe the rehabilitation center should have rejected her. One of the few things not in dispute in this case was that both Rachelle and Michael were severely addicted to drugs. Now obviously one could counter that after spending nearly two years in jail Rachelle was no longer addicted but rehabilitation centers are not just about getting off the drugs but learning how to cope with things in the world to continue their sobriety. In the end Rachelle ended up spending about an extra month in jail when she was released to a new facility in July of 2017.
Like many, including our government, do know that drug addiction has become an enormous issue over the last few years. Every day I see multiple reports in my own town of people who have been found passed out in their homes and on the streets. While some argue this, I do believe that drug addiction is a disease. But, in the same respect while I believe the person needs help in getting, and staying off the drugs, if this is what they finally choose, I do not find it as being an excuse to crimes. While an autopsy could not determine the cause of death for Bella at the very least investigators knew that her body had been dumped. Could she have died from some accident or even a natural cause? Possibly, but that will never be known because someone, whether it was Rachelle and/or Michael, disposed of her body, not only in a disgusting, but an illegal matter. In my opinion, forensically, this was all that could be absolutely determined and hence charges of murder, unless other information was found could not have been determined, or at the very least tell exactly who had been involved. However, I am sure the community at large wanted justice, and I see that also. What I am unsure of is if the right person, or all the correct people are serving time for this.