A Louisiana woman has been charged with murdering a six-year-old girl, placing her body in a barrel and dumping it on her mother’s front lawn, according to court records.
Police in Harahan, Louisiana, found the body of 6-year-old Bella Fontenelle inside a chlorine drum outside the home of her mother, Jennifer Zeledón. Bella’s father, Michael Fontenelle, reported that both she and her girlfriend were missing.
He alerted police to the missing duo around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sheriff Joe Lopinto told WDSU.
Police believe Mr. Fontenelle’s girlfriend, 43-year-old Bunnak “Hannah” Landon, killed Bella in the house where they lived.
Jefferson Parish Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich determined the girl had been strangled and beaten, according to a report from the New Orleans Lawyer.
“I want to add that Bella’s body was intact and contrary to public speculation, there was no dismemberment of any kind,” he said, according to a WWL report. “Child deaths are always terrible, especially the ones that should not have happened. Honestly, it’s personal for all of us.”
Ms. Landon allegedly placed the girl’s body in a 10-gallon bleach drum and sealed it with a lid before loading it onto a children’s play cart and dragging it over a block to Ms. Zeldon’s home on Tuesday night, according to authorities.
Law enforcement officers found the barrel while searching for Bella and discovered her body inside after they pried open the lid.
Police say they recovered footage from surveillance video showing a woman dragging the bucket toward Ms. Zeledón’s home. The woman in the pictures is wearing white boots, a red shirt, and black pants.
Sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon, Ms. Landon allegedly visited the Harahan Police Department. The officer there transported her to a nearby hospital for unknown reasons. Sheriff’s deputies later arrested her at the hospital.
Ms. Landon was arrested and charged with first degree murder as well as obstruction of justice in the death of Bella Fontenelle. She is currently being held without bail.
Looks like Mrs. Landon and Mrs. Zeledon had bad blood. A 2021 court document discovered by WDSU named Ms. Landon as a suspect in an incident that left Ms. Zeledon with injuries to her face and hands. Ms. Landon was cited for simple assault and later filed a restraining order against Ms. Zeledón.
“This senseless and heinous act has forever destroyed my family,” wrote Bianca Cano, Bella’s aunt, on her GoFundMe campaign for her sister, Mrs. Zeledón. “There are no words to describe the pain that goes through our bodies. It’s really inhuman.”