The family of a young girl who was strangled, stuffed into a chlorine drum and dumped on her mother’s lawn have decried the ‘senseless and heinous act’ that they say has forever destroyed their family.
Louisiana authorities found Bella Fontnelle, six, dead inside the drum outside her mother Jennifer Zeledon’s home in Harahan on Wednesday, just hours after the girl’s father reported her and his girlfriend missing.
Jefferson Parish officials now believe Hannah Landon, 43, the longtime girlfriend of the girl’s father, Michael, killed Bella at the home she shared with him nearby.
They say Landon stuffed the body into the 10-gallon chlorine bucket and covered with a lid, which she put on a wagon meant for a child that she pulled over a block away to Zeledon’s home Tuesday night.
Chilling surveillance footage from the night shows a woman nonchalantly dragging a wagon with the plastic bucket on it in the direction of the house. The woman in the clip was wearing tall white boots, a red top and black pants.
Landon — who also goes by Bunnak Lim and Bunnak Landon — has since been arrested on charges first degree murder and obstruction of justice in Bella’s death, and is being held without bail.
‘This senseless and heinous act has forever destroyed my family,’ Bianca Cano, Bella’s aunt, wrote in a GoFundMe for Zeledon, her sister.
‘No words can describe the pain that is running through our bodies,’ she continued. ‘It’s truly inhumane.’
Bella Fontenelle, 6, was a kindergartener at St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic School in River Ridge. Her death has been ruled a homicide
Hannah Landon, 43, has been arrested on suspicion of murdering her boyfriend’s six-year-old daughter, stuffing her body into a chlorine bucket and dumping it at the girl’s mother’s house
Security footage captured a woman — presumably Landon — pulling the bucket on a wagon meant for a child the night of April 25
Cano described her young niece as ‘an amazing little soul’ who was taken too soon.
‘The world is so unjust,’ she said in the description for the online fundraiser.
As if speaking to Bella, Cano continued: ‘You were given to us or six amazing years. You were beyond perfection.
‘Your beautiful little voice, your funny personality, the way you danced, the way you were so delicate and fragile, your smile, your laugh, the way you expressed yourself. I can go on and on about how amazing this little soul was.’
She then thanked ‘everyone again from the bottom of our hearts during these horrible, trying days.
‘No person should ever go through what we are going through [much] less a mother and father having to lay to rest a child.’
The GoFundMe has already raised over $30,000 for the young girl’s funeral expenses.
Bella is pictured at one of her birthday parties dressed as Jasmine from Aladdin
Bella is pictured here blowing out the candles at her third birthday party
Her aunt described her as ‘an amazing little soul’ who was taken too soon
Authorities say Bella’s father reported his girlfriend and youngest daughter missing at around 7.30am on April 26, sparking a missing persons investigation.
At some point during the search, Harahan police decided to search Jennifer’s property less than two blocks away, where they found the bucket with the body inside.
An autopsy later confirmed that Bella, a kindergartener at St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic School in River Ridge, had been murdered with ‘multiple injuries’ reported.
Coroner Gerry Cvitanovich said the cause of death was ‘manual strangulation, with blunt force trauma to the head,’ FOX 8 reports.
During the ensuing investigation, sheriff’s deputies spoke to friends and neighbors, eventually discovering that Ken Livaudais’ Ring camera caught a woman dragging a wagon with the plastic bucket on top of it down the road at around 9.35pm Tuesday night.
‘To know that she was pulling a little baby stuffed into a bucket makes you physically ill,’ he told NOLA.com.
After she allegedly dumped the body, authorities say, Landon entered a police station asking for transport to a local hospital.
She was then located and arrested at the hospital the next day.
A GoFundMe for Bella’s funeral expenses has already raised over $30,000
Authorities do not believe Bella’s mother or father were involved in her death
Harahan police are seen here investigating the Harahan, Louisiana home Landon shared with Bella’s father
Authorities say Bella’s father called the police station on April 26 to report that his youngest daughter and girlfriend were missing
A motive for the murder remains unclear, but police records and divorce papers show that Landon and Bella’s mother have been in physical altercations in the past.
In 2021, the two women got into a physical fight at a swim meet for one of the daughters, and the father had to intervene.
Police records obtained by NOLA.com show Jennifer called the police, and told officers that Landon had tried to block another relative from hugging her daughter.
She said Landon slapped away her hand, grabbed her hair and began attacking her.
Jennifer was left with scratches on her face and hand, records show.
The report also says that Landon was ‘extremely uncooperative’ before accusing Bella’s mother of attacking her first.
In the aftermath, Landon was given a Harahan municipal summons for simple battery, and she filed a restraining order against Bella’s mother, which was later denied.
Several months later, FOX 8 reports, the two women got into another physical altercation at one of the daughters’ soccer games.
Authorities, though, say they do not believe Bella’s mother or father were involved in her death.
Neighbors and friends have described Bella as a sweet little girl who was extremely friendly
Police Chief Ed Lepre says his office is working to get justice for the little girl
Neighbors and friends have described Bella as a sweet little girl who was extremely friendly.
‘She was the first one to approach you and smile and giggle,’ one neighbor said.
He and others said Bella could often be seen riding her bike to the nearby levee or playing with her 7-year-old sister.
Now, Police Chief Ed Lepre says his office is working to get justice for the little girl.
‘We’re going to work to the end to make sure we get a conviction,’ he told FOX 8.
‘This is a small baby and any family would be devastated,’ he added. ‘I could only imagine what the mother and father are going through right now.’