Woman Sentenced for Murdering Stepdaughter, 3, Because Girl Was Conceived from Husband's Affair

Bella Seachrist, 3, died in June 2020 due to starvation and neglect

<p>Tressi R Bussey/GoFundMe</p> Bella Seachrist

Tressi R Bussey/GoFundMe

Bella Seachrist

Content warning: This article contains disturbing descriptions of child abuse.

A Pennsylvania woman has been sentenced to life in prison for killing her stepdaughter because the child was born out of an affair her husband had with another woman, according to WPXI, WTAE, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Bella Seachrist, 3, died in June 2020 due to starvation and neglect, police said, according to WPXI.

Her stepmother Laura Ramriez, 31, was found guilty of criminal homicide in July, WTAE reported, just two months after the girl’s father Jose Salazar-Ortiz was found guilty of third-degree murder in May, according to WPXI. He was sentenced to up to 66 years in August, according to CBS.

WPXI reported in June that investigators determined that Ortiz and Ramirez subjected the girl to starvation, torture and physical abuse. Authorities said Ramirez was the prime abuser.

"She had bruises on her face," the child's mother, Nichole Seachrist, told WTAE following the girl's death. "She had a broken nose. Bruises on her body. Burnt cigarette marks on her body. Sores on her feet, sores on her back. And she had bruises in her pelvis area."

Eilene Boggs Airhart, who babysat Bella, testified in court in June against Ramirez and said Bella “had lots of love in her.”

“She wanted to be held and loved,” Airhart said, according to WPXI.

“I’m grateful, and I thank the Lord that I was the one who was able to give her the love, change her diapers, and to feed her, and to put her hair up in the little ponytails that no one else was doing,” she said.

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Ramirez's sister, Alexis Herrera, is also accused of witnessing and participated in the abuse of Bella.

Ramirez's sister, Alexis Herrrera, is also facing a slew of charges in this case, including homicide, child endangerment, and false imprisonment. Her charge of “unlawful restraint” was dismissed. She is scheduled to go to trial in January, WTAE reports. Justin John-Earl Ketchel, an attorney listed for Herrera in court records, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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