Police: 3-year-old girl died from starvation, abuse; three family members facing homicide charges

Third suspect in custody, father, stepmother charged in toddler’s death

OAKMONT, Pa. — Three people have been charged in the death of a 3-year-old girl, including her father.

The girl’s father, Jose Eduardo Salazar-Ortiz Sr., 29, and the child’s stepmother, Laura Michelle Ramirez, 27, were arrested Wednesday night. Ramirez’s sister, Alexis Herrera, 20, turned herself in to police Thursday morning.

Police said Bella Seachrist died from starvation and neglect in the hands of all three of them.

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Father, 2 others charged in death of toddler who suffered long history of abuse, police say
Father, 2 others charged in death of toddler who suffered long history of abuse, police say (Burket-Truby Funeral Home/Burket-Truby Funeral Home)

Police responded June 9 to the 500 block of 10th Street in Oakmont, where they said they found Seachrist wet, bruised and unresponsive in a bathtub.

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First responders performed lifesaving measures and took the child to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

According to a release from Allegheny County police, detectives determined the child endured prolonged physical and mental abuse.

Police said they have evidence the child was beaten almost daily, usually for wetting her pull-up diapers. She was punched in the head and sometimes tied to a staircase where she was left alone for hours, according to police paperwork.

Herrera and Ramirez exchanged photos and texts of the child, bound and left alone in a closet for hours, police said.

Salazar-Ortiz Sr. and Ramierz were arraigned at the Allegheny County Jail. They are being held without bond. Herrera is also in jail awaiting arraignment.

All three are charged with criminal homicide, criminal conspiracy, aggravated assault of a child, aggravated indecent assault of a child and endangering the welfare of a child.

Herrera and Ramirez have additional charges of unlawful restrain and false imprisonment.

Police investigating death of 3-year-old girl who was found not breathing