Rachelle Bond was sentenced today to time served and probation in the death of her two-year old daughter Bella. The woman’s former boyfriend, Michael McCarthy, was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to death for killing the child.
Rachelle cut a deal to testify against McCarthy and was sentenced for being an accessory after the fact for her role in disposing of her daughter’s body two years ago. The dead child was put into the refrigerator in a trash bag, then, days later, into a duffle that was weighted down and tossed into the ocean. It washed up on a Boston harbor island a month later.
Rachelle’s penalty is time served – less than two years, and probation. She is a former heroin addict. She will be released from jail, likely later this week, when a bed opens in a residential substance abuse treatment facility.
Her attorney told the media:
“[Rachelle] really doesn’t have family. She doesn’t have friends. People are very hostile towards her. She has nothing. She is scared about her future. And regardless of what people think about her involvement or not, she grieves the loss of that child every single day.” (Source: Boston Herald, July 12, 2017).
I have never spent a moment in jail. I am not a heroin addict. I’ve never been subjected to domestic violence. I’m lucky. I have so much and I’m grateful. Perhaps Rachelle would call me “privileged”.
I have never lived with someone who threatened me such that I allowed him to step between me and my child, kill my child and, following her death, held me in such a state that I would help him wrap her up and throw her away like last night’s garbage.
I have family and friends, a good job, health insurance, no mortgage on my home, and a good man in my four-plus decades husband. I don’t live frightened about my future. Rachelle Bond and I are as different from one another as two people might be.
Except that we have each lost a child. My daughter died a few weeks shy of age 26. She lived a life that she filled with friends, great times, personal challenges, ups, downs and experiences that carved her into the fine young woman she became. Her death was shattering and I miss her terribly.
Rachelle’s daughter was two. Bella was beaten and stuffed into a bag and tossed into the ocean like a bag of trash. She didn’t get to go to school and probably hadn’t yet learned how to tie her shoes. She didn’t have a career, likely hadn’t taken a cruise, gone to Aruba or London, played the clarinet, fallen into and out of love a few times, enjoyed a good raw bar, or developed a taste for a nice Riesling, and Marker’s Mark whiskey.
From the moment I heard the news about the discovery of little girl in the bag on the beach, I wondered who missed her, who loved her, who was worried about what had happened to her. Little girls should never end up in bags on beaches—no one should—but please, not children, not beautiful little girls. There was outrage, horror and tremendous sadness when child was found, but not from anyone who knew who she was.
She remained unidentified for almost three months. He mother told people that her daughter had been taken by child protective services and then admitted to a friend that wasn’t true. The friend notified police and the little girl who had been known as Baby Doe finally got her name back.
Now her mother is free, or almost so. Rachelle will feel sun on her face and the wind in her hair. She’ll have a chance, perhaps, to go to Aruba and London, find work that brings her satisfaction, fall in love with a better person than Michael McCarthy, and enjoy a whiskey by a campfire with new friends.
Bella will never do any of those things in our world.
There is a part of me that wants to contact Rachelle’s attorney and tell her that I would like to meet her client. Tell her that as a mother without a daughter, I know how hard it is to grieve the unforgiving loss of a child. I live with that heartbreak in my private hell every single day.
Perhaps Rachelle could tell me about her private hell. Maye she could explain to me how heroin, a bad relationship and poor decisions made it OK to let someone kill her child and then help him cover it up.
Maybe I’d then I’d know why but I doubt I’d ever understand why.