BOSTON — The world finally knows her name — Bella Bond — and some of the grisly circumstances of how she was killed and later found on a beach in Boston Harbor.
But there are many lingering questions: Why didn’t those who knew the 2-year-old girl call police when they stopped seeing her with her mother, Rachelle Bond? Why didn’t state child protection workers remove her from her home when her mother had a history of drug and prostitution arrests? What’s next in the case?
Bella’s body was found in a plastic bag on a beach on Deer Island on June 25 by a woman walking her dog. Bond’s boyfriend, Michael McCarthy, 35, is charged with murder for allegedly punching the girl in the abdomen until she stopped breathing. Bond, 40, is charged with being an accessory after the fact.
Q: Why didn’t anyone report Bella missing when she first disappeared or after police began an intensive investigation and media blitz to figure out who she was when her body was found?
A: One neighbour said she assumed the girl had been taken by the state Department of Children and Families, given the erratic behaviour shown by her mother. Another said she wondered where the girl went, but never asked Bond because she felt it was none of her business. Others said they did not connect her disappearance with the composite image that was widely distributed on Facebook. Bond’s mother and sister told reporters they had been estranged from Bond because of her drug use.
Q: Why didn’t the state Department of Children and Families take custody of Bella?
A: DCF said the agency had been involved with the girl twice when she was an infant — in 2012 and 2013 — providing neglect-related support. The cases were then closed. The agency had terminated Bond’s parental rights for two older children between 2001 and 2006.
Gov. Charlie Baker said Sunday that the agency will review its involvement with the girl.
Q: What’s next in the case against Bond and McCarthy?
A: Bond is being held on a $1 million cash bail. McCarthy is being held without bail. A status hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 20.
Bond’s lawyer said she was afraid of McCarthy and was essentially held captive by him after her daughter was killed. McCarthy’s lawyer say he claims he knows nothing about Bella’s death.