A 31-year-old woman from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the death of her three-year-old stepdaughter in June 2020.
Bella Seachrist’s death was the result of severe starvation and neglect. She was found unresponsive in a bathtub. Laura Ramirez and the child’s father, Jose Salazar-Ortiz, were both implicated in Bella’s torment, with Ramirez recognized as the primary abuser.
According to reports, Bella’s untimely demise resulted from a twisted motive. Ramirez’s animosity towards the child stemmed from Bella being the offspring of her husband’s affair with another woman. Investigations into the incident revealed that Bella had been subjected to starvation, torture, and physical abuse. When discovered, the child weighed under 30 pounds, displaying evident signs of malnourishment and abuse.
Speaking about the horrific condition in which Bella was found, the child’s biological mother, Nicole Seachrist, detailed the various injuries visible on her body. These ranged from extensive bruising, a broken nose, cigarette burns, and painful sores. She believed that Bella was specifically targeted by Ramirez due to the nature of her conception.
More insight into Bella’s life came from Eilene Boggs Airhart, who had babysat the child. She testified in court that, despite the horrors she experienced, Bella still had a lot of love to give. The child, she said, “wanted to be held and loved,” shedding light on the depths of her yearning for affection and care.
Ramirez was found guilty of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison. Salazar-Ortiz was convicted of third-degree murder and was sentenced to between 33 to 66 years in prison. Alexis Herrera, Ramirez’s sister, is also implicated in the case. Allegedly having witnessed and participated in Bella’s abuse, she is facing multiple charges, including homicide, child endangerment, and false imprisonment. Herrera’s trial is scheduled to take place in January.