A Louisiana woman has been taken into custody after being accused of murdering a 6-year-old girl and leaving her body in a plastic bucket on the child’s biological mother’s front lawn. The body of Bella Fontenelle, a kindergarten student, was discovered around 8:20 a.m.
The Jefferson Parish coroner conducted an autopsy and concluded that Bella’s death was a homicide, noting that her body bore multiple injuries. Further details regarding these injuries will be released later.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto stated that the girl’s father reported his girlfriend, 43-year-old Hannah Landon, and their youngest daughter missing around 7:30 a.m. after he woke up to find them gone from their home. Investigators believe that Landon killed Bella at the residence on Tuesday night, placed her body in a 10-gallon chlorine bucket, and then used a wagon to transport the bucket to the home of Bella’s biological mother.
A neighbor provided surveillance footage to the police and local news outlet WVUE, showing a woman calmly pulling a wagon carrying a white bucket down a sidewalk without attempting to conceal her actions, even when a car passed by.
Authorities found Landon at a local hospital around 2 p.m. on Wednesday. Upon discharge, she will be booked on charges of first-degree murder and obstruction of justice. The reason for Landon’s presence at the hospital remains unclear.
Detectives have not yet interviewed Landon or established a motive for the killing. An older sister who was at the house on Tuesday night was unharmed.
Bella’s body was found in the bucket as Harahan police were searching the neighborhood for the missing child and Landon. Although the victim’s mother was home at the time, it is not known whether she discovered the body before officers arrived.
Sheriff Lopinto shared that the girl’s parents are devastated by the loss of their young daughter. The father, who was extensively interviewed by the police, is not believed to have been involved in the murder. The couple has been together for several years, and investigators are currently examining records related to Landon’s various aliases. It is too early to release any information about her possible involvement in previous instances of child abuse or violence.
In response to this tragic event, the victim’s school announced its closure on Thursday and Friday. In an email to parents, the school expressed its deep sorrow and acknowledged the impact this tragedy would have.