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Pittsburgh-area woman sentenced to life for death of 'bruised and malnourished' 3-year-old stepdaughter

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A Pittsburgh-area woman found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of her 3-year-old stepdaughter who first responders discovered "badly bruised and malnourished" was sentenced to life in prison.

Laura Ramriez received a life sentence on Wednesday for the death of Bella Rae Seachrist, according to court paperwork.

Ramriez was found guilty in July of murder and multiple other counts, including aggravated assault, unlawful restraint and child endangerment after a non-jury trial. 

(Photo: Allegheny County Jail)

First responders found Seachrist unresponsive in a bathtub on the second floor of a home on 10th Street in Oakmont in June of 2020. Police said first responders used life-saving measures and she was taken to Children's Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. 

Detectives said she suffered from prolonged physical and mental abuse. The medical examiner determined Seachrist died from malnutrition, failure to thrive due to chronic illness and hypoglycemia, plus abuse and neglect.

According to the criminal complaint, Ramriez's sister Alexis Herrera had numerous videos and pictures of the severe abuse of the child on her cell phone. There were also text messages between Herrera and Ramriez about locking the child in a closet.

(Photo Credit: Provided)

Police also charged the girl's father, Jose Eduardo Salazar-Ortiz Sr., and Herrera. 

Court paperwork shows Salazar-Ortiz was found guilty of third-degree murder and multiple other charges after a non-jury trial in May. He was sentenced to 33 to 66 years in August.    

A trial is scheduled for Herrera in 2024, according to court documents. 

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