Woman kills stepdaughter with the help of her sister and girl’s father following a prolonged period of beating, starvation, and repeatedly locking the little girl in small, dark closets; sentenced

A 3-year-old girl died in 2020, and her stepmother was found guilty and recently sentenced for the girl’s cruel death. Devastating evidence showed that the woman had support for what she was doing from her sister and the girl’s father.

The local police department responded to an emergency call at the family’s residence in June of 2020 after someone reported that a 3-year-old child, later identified as Bella, was “unresponsive” in a bathtub. When the first responders arrived at the scene, they immediately performed life-saving measures and transported the girl to the nearest hospital for treatment, where she was pronounced dead. In a statement, the police said that the girl was found in bad condition, malnourished, and with recent injuries all over her body.

The 31-year-old girl’s stepmother, identified as Laura, was taking care of the girl in the family’s Penn. home when the incident took place. She was arrested and placed in jail. In the coming weeks, investigators found out that the girl’s bad condition was a result of stepmom’s tortturing and mistreatment for an extended period of time, something that the suspect’s sister and the girl’s father knew about but supported Laura in how she was “taking care” of the little girl.

According to the investigators’ report, the girl was in such bad shape that her bones were visible through her skin, and she was so malnourished that her hair was patchy and falling out. This was supported by the fact that Bella was just about to turn 4 and weighed less than 30 pounds. Further in the report, investigators said that Bella suffered injuries all over her body; she was not given food for days; and she was constantly locked in dark closets and tied up so she wouldn’t go anywhere. In some text messages to the girl’s father, Laura referred to Bella as an “animal” and a “b—-” and said that she “hated her with a passion.”

Stepmom’s mistreatment of the girl was supported by her boyfriend, Bella’s father, and Laura’s sister. They have also been directly involved in these actions, but Laura was considered the mastermind of the horrific abbuse. Bella’s father, Eduardo, was sentenced to 33 to 66 years in prison after he was convicted in May on one count each of third-degree murder, aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of children, and conspiracy to commit homicide in his daughter’s death. Laura’s sister, Alexis, is facing several charges and is set to begin trial early next year.

Laura also got what she deserved for this horrific incident. Last week, she was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus an additional 37 to 74 years. Laura was found guilty of first-degree murder (life without parole) and several other charges and sentenced to 5–40 years for each of them. The judge in the case ordered the sentences to be served consecutively, meaning one after another.

Lowell Bowen

From the time he was 8 years old Lowell knew he wanted to be on TV. Well, as people say one thing leads to another, that's how Lowell started his career in the news industry. Lowell has been part of The South Florida Daily since the very beginning.

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