OAKMONT, Pa. (KDKA) – There are more details about what happened to a little girl who died after alleged abuse inside of her Oakmont home.
Tonight, three people are in custody, facing multiple charges in connection with her death.
Alexis Herrera just turned herself into police Thursday. The child’s father, Jose Salazar-Ortiz Sr., and her stepmom, Laura Ramirez, are also behind bars at the Allegheny County jail.
The community of Oakmont is in a state of shock as the details in this case continue to come out.
“I told my daughter last night I was up in the middle of the night crying many nights after I found out,” said neighbor Somporn Hall.
Oakmont couple Somporn and Joe Hall live a few doors down from the duplex where little 3-year-old Bella Seachrist was allegedly abused on 10th Street in Oakmont.
“After seeing this girl brought out, and then learning what happened, I assumed it was an accident, rough housing because the boys are rough. Then, finding out what actually happened, we were shocked,” said Joe Hall.
Police were called to the home on June 9 for an unresponsive child.
Bella was found in the bathtub wearing just a diaper. She was wet and had bruises on her legs and arms and a brown substance coming out of her nose.
She was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. Doctors say she had signs of physical abuse, sexual abuse and extreme malnutrition.
Police said Bella’s dad and stepmom have been in a relationship for 15 years. The couple have three kids together. The complaint goes on to say Ortiz had an affair with Bella’s mom and Bella was later born.
Ramirez told police she and Ortiz had custody of Bella since her mom lost custody of her over concerns of substance abuse.
“She thought she couldn’t provide the life Bella deserved and Jose was supposed to care for her and he didn’t,” said friend of the child’s family Arika Summers.
The complaint said Alexis Herrera is Ramirez’s sister and stayed with the family and also watched Bella. Neighbors said they would have helped if they had known Bella was living here, too.
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“I couldn’t identify this child. I didn’t know who it was. I just assumed it was a cousin visiting. It turns out she had been there for some time, I guess,” said Joe Hall.
The complaint also states that Bella weighed 29 pounds when she died.
The medical examiner determined that she died from malnutrition, failure to thrive due to chronic illness and hypoglycemia plus abuse and neglect.
Ramirez, Ortiz and Herrera all face multiple charges including homicide.