By Sue Ellen Woodcock
She has become the adopted daughter of Winthrop and the outpouring of grief has been worldwide.
Since her body washed up on the rocky south shore of Deer Island at the end of June people around the world reached out to help identify her and give her a final resting place.
Bella Nevaeh Amoroso Bond, two and a half years old, of Dorchester, was found on the shore June 25 in a plastic contractors bag, wearing white leggings with black polka dots and holding a black and white zebra print fleece blanket.
Last Thursday she was identified after an acquaintance of the accused murderer, Michael McCarthy, 35, of Quincy, tipped off police. Her mother Rachelle Bond, 40, of Dorchester, has been charged with being an accessory to murder. She is being represented by attorney Janice Bassil, who has a history of high profile clients and was a law partner of James Carney, who represented Whitey Bulger.
According to officials, McCarthy, being represented by attorney Jonathan Shapiro, punched Bella in the stomach repeatedly sometime in May and put her in a refrigerator for a few days while he and Bella’s mother used heroin. However, investigators have not yet given a cause of death. There is speculation she may have been suffocated before being punched. McCarthy and Bond then allegedly put Bella in a duffle bag and dumped her in Boston Harbor. Bella floated to Deer Island where she was found.
McCarthy, who claimed he killed Bella because she was possessed, was arrested at Beth Israel Hospital where he was being treated for an abcess. Rachelle Bond was arrested in Lynn at the residence of the biological father Joey Amoroso. Amoroso had been in Florida and never met Bella. He only returned recently and he alleges Rachelle Bond told him what happened. The two had met a couple of years ago at Occupy Boston.
No one in Bella’s family or circle of acquaintances and neighbors ever identified her.
“Bring Bella home to Winthrop,” said Town Council President Peter Gill, after the news broke last Friday. “God bless little Bella.”
The town has offered a burial plot for Bella Bond. The biological father said her great grandmother is buried in Winthrop in a family plot and he has no problem with her being buried there. The district attorney’s office said the body will not be released for a couple of weeks so more testing can be done.
“I can remember very clearly the day little Bella was found. No one, especially a child, should die nameless. Bella, I know you’re watching, and it’s something you might not realize but you are a daughter of Massachusetts,” said Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, of Winthrop, at Monday night’s vigil. “It is my hope that we can now have proper services for Bella and let this beautiful young girl rest in peace.”
Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley thanked all the law enforcement members that helped work this case. “When I got the news Thursday that there had been a break in the case, my heart rose up, but since then it has sunk deeper. These people will pay for their crime.”
Gov. Charlie Baker spoke about his reactions to the whole story. “My first reaction to the news was, ‘God, what must her life had been like.’” He went on to thank the law enforcement officials all over the state that helped give Bella Bond a name.
“For the memory of Baby Bella,” said Kayla Haynes when asked why she came to the vigil Monday night. “I am a mother and this hits hard!”
Monday night’s vigil at Deer Island was filled with prayers, reflection and song. Readings were offered by Rev. James Leo, of St. John’s in Winthrop, Rev. Richard May, of the Winthrop Community Christian Center, and Craig Mael, both from Temple Tifereth Israel of Winthrop and also a town councilor. Winthrop High School students Shannon Stimpson, Emily Nichols and Elizabeth Carsley performed a song they wrote called, “Flying High.” “Go Rest High on that Mountain” was sung by Jilly Martin and Ryan Brooks Kelly. “Amazing Grace” was sung by the crowd.
Bella’s story reached worldwide attention in part largely because of social media like Facebook which had millions of hits.
During her arraignment Monday in Dorchester District Court it was revealed that Rachelle Bond had been homeless for years and had a court record including drug arrests, prostitution and restraining orders. Her two older children 17 and 12, were taken from her by the Department of Families and Children previously. DCF also had a folder on Bella and had visited twice then closed the books.
“DCF deals with difficult situations,” Baker said. “There’s no excuse for bad decision making. There has been a systematic breakdown.”
McCarthy, being held on no bail, and Rachelle Bond, being held on $1 million cash bail, will appear in court again on Oct. 20 for a probable cause hearing.