A Louisiana woman was arrested for strangling her boyfriend’s 6-year-old daughter, Bella Fontenelle, stuffing her lifeless body into a plastic bucket and wheeling the remains on a cart to the home of the child’s mother, authorities said.
Chilling surveillance footage allegedly captured Hannah Landon, 43, rolling the chlorine drum on a wagon to the Harahan home of the girl’s mother, Jennifer Zeledon, about 10 miles west of New Orleans.
Bella’s father, Michael Fontenelle, awoke April 26 to find his longtime girlfriend and daughter gone. He went to the Harahan Police Station at 7:30 a.m. to report them missing.
The child’s remains were soon located in the front yard of her mother’s home on Sedgefield Drive – less than two blocks from her father’s residence, according to a news release from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.
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The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
“This senseless and heinous act has forever destroyed my family. No words can describe the pain that is running through our bodies. It’s truly inhumane,” Bella’s aunt, Bianca Cano, wrote on a GoFundMe page to raise money for the girl’s funeral and the family’s expenses.
“Where do I start… my beautiful Bella… the world is so unjust,” Cano wrote. “You were given to us for 6 amazing years. You were beyond perfection. Your beautiful little voice, your funny personality, the way you danced, the way you were so delicate and fragile, your smile, your laugh, the way expressed yourself.”
“No person should ever go through what we are going through, [much] less a mother and father having to lay to rest a child,” the message says.
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Sheriff Joseph Lopinto told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday that investigators quickly zeroed in on Landon as their prime suspect and obtained Ring doorbell footage.
The video allegedly shows Landon wearing white boots and a red shirt as she calmly hauls the little girl’s remains to her mother’s home at 9:33 p.m.
Landon made no attempt to conceal the closed 10-gallon bucket even as a white SUV drove by. “We believe Bella was killed at the father’s house and then transported over to the mother’s house and then taken out of a wagon,” Lopinto said.
Jefferson Parish Coroner Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich said at a press conference Thursday that Bella’s manner of death was homicide and her cause of death was “manual strangulation” and “multiple blunt force injuries to the head.”
She was dead when she was put into the bucket, he said. “There was no dismemberment involved,” he added, dispelling online rumors.
Authorities said they do not believe that either parent was responsible for the shocking murder.
Landon was located at a hospital Wednesday, where she was arrested. She is being held without bond on charges of first-degree murder and obstruction of justice.
Julia Bonavita contributed to this report.
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