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Stark details of Bella Bond’s life, death revealed in court hearing

Prosecutors say toddler held in closet, disparaged

The girl was spanked, yelled at, and demeaned. Her mother and the mother’s boyfriend at least twice locked her in a closet while she screamed to be let out.

And then one night in late May, when Bella Bond was acting unruly, her mother’s boyfriend volunteered to calm her down, a prosecutor said Monday. Instead, the mother found him standing over Bella’s lifeless body, the prosecutor said, and the boyfriend told her: “She was a demon and it was her time to die.”

These were among the grim details of the short life and violent death of Bella Bond that emerged in Dorchester District Court Monday, where a prosecutor revealed how investigators believe the girl was killed and stuffed in a trash bag that would later be discovered on a Deer Island beach on June 25.

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After discarding the body, the two got high on heroin, prosecutors said.

The boyfriend, Michael McCarthy, 35, was charged with killing the 2-year-old and was ordered held without bail. Bella’s mother, Rachelle Bond, 40, was charged with covering up the killing, and held on $1 million bail. Both McCarthy and Bond, who were also accused of improper disposal of a body, pleaded not guilty in the case, which sparked a monthslong, international search as investigators tried to identify the girl who became known as “Baby Doe.”

The breakthrough came when Michael Sprinsky, a man who had lived briefly with McCarthy and Bond before Bella was killed, told investigators that the child’s mother had told him what happened to the girl.

Suffolk Assistant District Attorney David Deakin said Sprinsky told investigators that Bond broke down in tears and told him “I’ll never see my daughter again. Michael McCarthy killed her and I’m an accessory after the fact because I helped get rid of the body.”

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Until that moment, Sprinsky told investigators, he had thought the child was in the custody of the Department of Children and Families.

She broke down and confessed to him, Sprinsky told investigators, only after she told him that she had stopped using drugs, and he said to her: “That’s great. You’ll be able to get yourself clean and get Bella back.”

Sprinsky contacted his sister, Laura, who told him about the case of the child found dead on Deer Island, the prosecutor said. He later texted McCarthy: “Baby Doe ring a bell?” McCarthy denied that the child was dead, Deakin said.

The sister contacted Boston police Wednesday, and Sprinsky spoke to investigators Thursday.

Sprinsky told investigators that Bond and McCarthy were harsh with Bella and had “believed she was possessed by demons.”

He told investigators that McCarthy “had become very interested in the occult — purported to see demons, purported to see ghosts, and purported to be able to exorcise demons and exorcise ghosts.”

On Thursday, State Police searched the Maxwell Street home where they found children’s clothing and books on demons.

They later found McCarthy at a Boston hospital, where he was having minor surgery, and Bond at Bella’s grandparents’ house in Lynn.

McCarthy “continued to maintain that Bella was in DCF custody and that’s all he knew,” Deakin, the prosecutor, told the court Monday.

But Bond told investigators on Friday the disturbing story of how she went into Bella’s room after McCarthy had gone to “calm her down.”

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Her daughter’s face was swollen and gray, and McCarthy was standing over her, the prosecutor said.

According to police records, Bond also told investigators that she saw McCarthy “either striking or applying pressure to Bella’s abdominal area.”

Medical examiners have not yet determined the cause of death, Deakin said.

Deakin said McCarthy threatened to kill Bond if she said anything to authorities.

McCarthy then allegedly stuffed Bella’s tiny body into a garbage bag, placed it into the kitchen refrigerator where she remained for a few days, Deakin said.

The couple drove the body to a remote section of the South Boston Waterfront, where McCarthy put weights into the bag and dumped it, police records show.

The two then got a large amount of heroin, got high, and stayed that way for several days, perhaps longer, Deakin said.

The graphic depiction of the girl’s death led Megan Fewtrell, 36, who identified herself as Bella’s godmother, to storm out of the courtroom Monday, yelling, “I hope you rot in hell!”

Shortly thereafter, Joseph Amoroso, 32, Bella’s biological father, also walked out of the courtroom and said, “Michael McCarthy, you’re done.”

Joe Amoroso, the biological father of Bella Bond, said he and his mother had warned DCF about the girl’s safety in 2012 and 2013.
Joe Amoroso, the biological father of Bella Bond, said he and his mother had warned DCF about the girl’s safety in 2012 and 2013.(Scott Eisen for The Boston Globe)

McCarthy stood, expressionless, throughout the arraignment.

Bond, occasionally wiped her face with her hand and lowered her head as the prosecutor revealed the details of Bella’s death.

Speaking outside, McCarthy’s defense attorney, Jonathan Shapiro denied the allegations and described Bond’s statements as delusional.

“When she was arrested and asked to explain what happened to her daughter, she decided to blame it on Mr. McCarthy,” Shapiro said. “He is shocked and saddened by the death of Bella Bond, but he did not kill her.”

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He said McCarthy is a recovering drug addict.

McCarthy’s attorney did not contest the state’s request to hold him without bail. But Bond’s attorney asked the court to lower the bail.

Defense attorney Janice Bassil said Bond has struggled to improve her life and beat addiction. Prosecutors say she has prostitution and drug convictions, and Bassil said she was homeless for periods of time.

“It was a terrible lifestyle for her,” Bassil said. “She does not want to lose her home. She does not want to lose what is contained there, which is essentially memories of her child.”

Bond said McCarthy “held her captive and duress” and didn’t allow her to come forward, but she found an opportunity when he was hospitalized last week.

“She wants to see Mr. McCarthy held responsible for his actions,” Bassil said.

McCarthy also has a criminal record, though many of the charges had been dismissed.

Fewtrell, of South Boston, said she was struggling to understand the allegations.

“I can’t imagine why she would help some man cover up the murder of her child,” Fewtrell said. “[Bella] was loved. She was a beautiful little girl. I loved that little baby like she was mine.”

Also siting in the first row of the courtroom was Amoroso, who said that Bond told him about Bella’s death last Wednesday.

Amoroso did not contact authorities with the information, the Globe has reported.

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Amoroso and his mother, Patricia Drake, said they had warned DCF about Bella’s safety in 2012 and 2013, but that the agency had done nothing.

The DCF has confirmed that Bella was the subject of two separate investigations in 2012 and 2013 following reports of neglect made to the agency.

Spokeswoman Andrea Grossman said the agency is unable to discuss the details of the case, which was closed over two years ago under the previous administration.

Amoroso said hearing the details of his daughter’s death from Bond last week was “probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to sit through.”

But, he said, “I do forgive her.”

Rachelle Bond (left) and Michael McCarthy (at center on right) before being arraigned Monday.
Rachelle Bond (left) and Michael McCarthy (at center on right) before being arraigned Monday.(JOSH REYNOLDS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE)
Michael McCarthy was led out of the State Police barracks Monday.
Michael McCarthy was led out of the State Police barracks Monday.(Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe)
Rachelle Bond (left), 40, and Michael McCarthy, 35, face charges in the death of Bella Bond, 2, whose body was found in June on Deer Island in Winthrop.
Rachelle Bond (left), 40, and Michael McCarthy, 35, face charges in the death of Bella Bond, 2, whose body was found in June on Deer Island in Winthrop.(Boston police)

Globe correspondents Jennifer Fenn Lefferts and Hattie Bernstein and Evan Allen and Laura Crimaldi of the Globe staff contributed to this story. Jan Ransom can be reached at jan.ransom@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @Jan_Ransom.