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Bella's mother is now detoxing from heroin and her mother's boyfriend is on suicide watch, a law enforcement source tells PEOPLE

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September 23, 2015 06:05 PM

Bella Bond, the little girl found dead inside a plastic bag near the Boston shoreline in June, had a tumultuous start from the beginning.

The little girl was conceived in a tent at Occupy Boston in 2011, her father, Joseph Amoroso, tells PEOPLE.

Bella’s mother’s boyfriend, Michael McCarthy, 35, has been charged with murdering her, while her mother, Rachelle Bond, 40, has been charged with accessory to murder after the fact. Both pleaded not guilty at their arraignment on Monday.

Amoroso says that he and Rachelle had an immediate connection when they met.

“We met at Occupy Boston and had a connection,” he says. “That’s where Bella happened.”

A Tragically Short Life

Bella was raised in a first floor apartment at 115 Maxwell Street, a public housing building on a tight-knit block in Dorchester Center, Bella’s neighbors and building management tells PEOPLE. She played on the back porch with another neighbor’s little girl, neighbors say. But the the mother of the other little girl didn’t recognize the forensic artist’s composite sketch of Bella when she was known for several months as “Baby Doe,” after her unidentified body was discovered in June.

The building in which Bella Bond was raised

Bella was born on August 6, 2012, just weeks after Rachelle Bond’s release from Boston’s South Bay House of Correction for violating her bail on a prostitution case, multiple law enforcement officials told PEOPLE. Bond has been incarcerated more than a dozen times in the last ten years, according to probation records obtained by PEOPLE.

Bond’s long relationship with the criminal justice system began in 1994 and has had 34 separate charges against her, according to probation records. Her 2012 stint behind bars was her last before last week, when she and McCarthy were arrested in connection with Bella’s death.

A mugshot of Rachelle Bond in 2012, when she was pregnant with Bella
Michael McCarthy's high school yearbook
Michael McCarthy Don Bosco

A Mother’s Dark Demons

Now back in the South Bay House of Corrections, Bond is in solitary confinement where she is allegedly being monitored while detoxing from heroin, a high-ranking Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department official tells PEOPLE. The official says that McCarthy is on suicide watch.

“She is what we call a frequent flyer,” says the official, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the case. “Her last stay with us came in 2012 when she was pregnant with Bella. Poor kid didn’t have a chance.”

The minute Bella was born, a social worker from the state’s Department of Children and Families was assigned to open an investigation into Rachelle Bond’s competency, State Representative Robert DeLeo told reporters. In a statement to PEOPLE, a DCF spokesperson said the agency had contact with Bella from two neglect cases in 2012 and 2013, but in both cases, services were provided and the cases were closed.

Between 2001 and 2006, DCF terminated Rachelle Bond’s parental rights for two of her other children, the statement said. One of the children remains with the maternal grandmother, while the other was adopted by a non-related family.

Chyna Brown, a neighbor of Rachelle Bond’s who attended her arraignment, says the Bond should never had children in her custody.

“How could [DCF] have closed the case?,” Brown says. “I saw that poor girl out on the street with her mother being all strung out like a zombie. I bought the little girl snacks I felt so bad for her. How did DCF not see that?”

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