(CNN) — Before the end of her short life, little Bella Bond was allegedly punched by her mother’s boyfriend because he thought she was possessed, a law enforcement source involved in the investigation said.
On Monday, Bella’s mother, Rachelle Bond, and the boyfriend, Michael McCarthy, appeared in a Boston court, where a judge granted a prosecutor’s request that McCarthy be held without bail. The judge also set bail for Bond at $1 million “to ensure her appearance.”
It’s unclear whether the punches killed the toddler who became known as “Baby Doe” after her remains, wrapped in a trash bag, were found in June on a rocky shoreline in Boston Harbor.
“The tragedy of her death is compounded by the fact that her short life ended not by illness or accident, but we believe by an act of violence in the very place where she should have felt safest, in her home,” Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said.
McCarthy, who is not Bella’s biological father, and Bond were arrested last week in connection with the death.
On Friday, McCarthy, 35, was charged with murder, Conley said. Bond, 40, was charged as an accessory to murder after the fact.
“We allege that McCarthy caused Bella’s death, that he did so intentionally, that he and Bond took specific steps to keep Bella’s death a secret and to avoid prosecution,” Conley said.
The mystery of the girl with big brown eyes and a cherubic face — as rendered by forensic artist Christi Andrews and distributed by authorities — captivated the nation for months.
But it wasn’t until a person staying with Bella’s mother provided the crucial tip that investigators were able to identify her, the law enforcement official said.
The tipster asked Bond about the child’s whereabouts, and the mother admitted after being confronted that Bella was dead, according to the source.
“This child, whose very name means beauty, was murdered,” Conley said.
He declined to comment on the motive or manner of death.
Court records show that Bond’s criminal history includes arrests for heroin possession and prostitution, CNN affiliate WCVB-TV reported.