HARAHAN, La. (WGNO)— A six-year-old girl was pronounced dead after her remains were found stowed in a bucket near her mother’s home in the New Orleans area on Wednesday. However, police say the prime suspect in the case is the girlfriend of the child’s father, who was seen on video pulling a wagon that reportedly contained the remains.
On Wednesday, a report of a missing child and missing person led to the discovery of outside of a Harahan home, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Joseph Lopinto announced in a press conference later that day that at around 7:30 a.m., a father woke to find both his six-year-old daughter, Bella Fontenelle, and girlfriend, 43-year-old Hannah Landon were missing. He immediately went to the Harahan Police Department to file a report.
Minutes later, the HPD began investigations at the man’s home on Donelon Drive. Officers quickly learned that the child’s mother lived around the corner on Sedgefield Drive. When they arrived, officers discovered what they described as a large plastic bucket in the front yard.
Lopinto said the girl’s remains were located inside a bucket near the home, then ruling the case a homicide. Although the cause of death had not been released, officials did say the child suffered many injuries prior to her death.
Both of the child’s parents were interviewed, however, investigators believe neither of them were involved in the girl’s death. Authorities then turned their attention to Landon (also known as Bunnak Lim or Bunnak Landon) — who officers unknowingly had contact with earlier that morning.
Shortly after midnight early Thursday morning, police say Landon arrived at the Harahan Police Department and was taken to the hospital for evaluation. She was arrested on Wednesday and booked into the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center on a charge of first-degree Murder.
Surveillance video obtained from a neighbor showed Landon reportedly pulling a wagon with a bucket inside along Donelon and Sedgefield Drives. Police believe it’s the same bucket that contained the child’s remains. The exact time the video was recorded is unknown.
Disclaimer: The attached video might be disturbing to watch
“It was heartwrenching to think that someone passed right in front of our house with a young child stuffed in a wagon,” said Ken Livaudais, a neighbor in the area.
Fontenelle was a kindergartener at St. Matthew the Apostle School. Neighbors say she had her entire life ahead of her.
“No one in their right mind would kill an innocent child,” said Jeanne DeLasalle, another neighbor in the area.
She and Livaudais, who is actually her father, say they’re holding on to their loved ones a little tighter tonight.
“This doesn’t happen in Harahan,” said DeLasalle.
St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic School will be closed for the remainder of the week to allow children to stay at home with their parents