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"I Will Never Get To Hear My Daughter Call Me Mommy': Mother Of 3-Year-Old Girl Who Died After Alleged Abuse In Oakmont Home Left With Endless Questions

LAWRENCE COUNTY, Pa. (KDKA) -- The mother of the 3-year-old girl who died after alleged abuse inside of a home in Oakmont says she is filled with anger and endless questions.

Three family members are in custody, facing multiple charges in connection with the death of Bella Seachrist.

Nicole Seachrist moved north of Pittsburgh in order to rebuild her life and was planning on filing custody papers to get Bella back. She had no idea the nightmare her child was living until she was gone.

Bella Seachrist
(Photo Credit: Nicole Seachrist)

"Why did they think that was OK to do the things that they did to a 3-year-old little girl, my little girl," Nicole said.

At 20-years-old, Nicole had Bella with the child's father, Jose Salazar-Ortiz Sr., who was married to someone else.

The young mother says she made the decision to hand over custody to Salazar-Ortiz after having difficulty raising the baby alone.

"If she was going to be with me, she was going to struggle and not have what she needed," Nicole said.

Bella's mother feels her daughter was the target of a stepmother's anger.

"She just did it out of spite because number one, that's not her baby. And number two, he had an affair," Nicole said. "I'm disgusted, I'm angry."


Bella's mom says her anger extends to the baby's father, who she says never helped for the eight months she raised Bella alone.

Nicole says she struggled just to get diapers for her child and thought Salazar-Ortiz, his wife and family could give Bella a better life.

"I didn't want her to struggle like I did," Nicole said.

Bella's mom not only wants justice for her little girl, but she also wants everyone to know the pain is unbearable.

"I will never get to hear my daughter call me mommy," Nicole said. "I will never get to see her graduate. I will never get to see her go to college. I will never get to see her get married."

"I want them to pay for what they did," Nicole added.

Alexis Herrera just turned herself in to police Thursday. Salazar-Ortiz and Laura Ramirez are also behind bars at the Allegheny County Jail.

The medical examiner determined Bella died from malnutrition, failure to thrive due to chronic illness and hypoglycemia, plus abuse and neglect.

Ramirez, Salazar-Ortiz and Herrera all face multiple charges, including homicide.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

A vigil will be held for Bella on Sunday at 4 p.m. at Riverbank Park in Verona.

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