A Georgia mother allegedly shot her 2-year-old daughter and then confessed to the crime, PEOPLE confirms.
On Tuesday evening, the Covington/Newton County 911 Center received a call from 31-year-old Jennifer Michelle Bellah allegedly saying she had shot her daughter, the Newton County Sheriff’s Office announced in a press release obtained by PEOPLE.
Upon arrival at Bellah’s Oxford home, deputies found 2-year-old Natalya Bellah unresponsive. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Bellah has been charged with murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during commission of a crime.
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While searching the crime scene, deputies located a pistol, spent shell casing and spent bullets.
Authorities believe Bellah and Natalya were alone when the shooting occurred, the release states.
As Natalya’s body is transported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy, Bellah’s family is cooperating with authorities.
“Very terrible, tragic. It’s unimaginable,” neighbor Michael Robinson told WGCL when he heard the news of Natalya’s death.
“Beautiful little girl,” he continued. “She’d be over there in the swimming pool, and you’d hear her over there splashing water and giggling.”
Bellah and her daughter had moved in with Bellah’s mother and stepfather, who owned the home, about a year ago, Robinson said.
The office of Anthony Carter, Bellah’s public defender, released a statement to WFCL that read, in part, “In the weeks and days prior, including the day of the tragic death of her 2-year-old daughter, Natalya, Ms. Bellah sought and received treatment for mental health issues.”
The statement continued: “Mr. Carter’s office will be fully investigating the mental health aspects of this case and their significance as they relate to the events of Tuesday, August 28.”
Carter could not be reached by PEOPLE for comment Thursday. Bellah has not entered a plea.