The forensic artist who created the haunting image of "Baby Doe'' that closely matched little Bella Bond said she feels a connection to the girl whose body was found in a trash bag on Deer Island this summer.
"I feel a good sense of relief that we now know who she is,'' Christi Andrews said in an interview posted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, where she works. "And a kind of sadness because of what happened to her."
The body of Bella Bond was found in Winthrop on June 25, and authorities launched a massive public relations campaign to try to learn her identity. That effort relied heavily on the composite image Andrews crafted using morgue photos, autopsy data, forensic science, and her own artistic skills, according to the center.
The image created by Andrews appeared to have played a role in solving the mystery. Bella's mother, Rachelle D. Bond, and her boyfriend, Michael P. McCarthy, have been charged in the case. The mother faces charges of accessory after the fact to her daughter's murder, and McCarthy has been charged with killing the child.
Both have pleaded not guilty.
Andrews said the turbulence that surrounded Bella Bond's short life and the violent end that befell the child haunts her.
"She was not treated well,'' she said. "And when you hear about cases like that, it breaks your heart.''
According to the center, there are an estimated 700 deceased children whose names are unknown around the country.