A 31-year-old Wisconsin woman has been arrested after she reportedly admitted to investigators that she beat her infant daughter to death. The baby's father, who she had previously accused in the child's death, has been cleared and released.
Renae Bellis, 31, of Boscobel, Wisconsin, allegedly beat and shook her 3-month-old daughter, Summer, to death sometime on July 8. The woman reportedly told police that she was depressed and had taken it out on the baby.
When the little girl became fussy and refused to feed from a bottle, Bellis reportedly struck her multiple times in the face and buttocks. After wiping the blood off the baby with a ladybug onesie, she allegedly held the infant at arm's length and shook her, according to WISC-TV.
According to a criminal complaint filed against her, Bellis then placed the crying infant into a swing. After the baby stopped crying, Bellis said she thought she was sleeping.
When the baby's father, 39-year-old Mark Rand, got home, he allegedly found Bellis calm and watching TV in bed while the baby appeared to be sleeping, WISC-TV reported.
The next morning on July 9, Bellis called police to report the baby's death. She initially told investigators that she had seen Rand shaking and hitting the baby late the night before but had waited until the next morning to call police.
Police noted that the woman was very unemotional during the investigation, including when she showed authorities the bloodstained ladybug onesie, The Washington Post reported.
After Rand was arrested, police interviewed Bellis again on July 10. At this point, she reportedly broke down under questioning and confessed that she, not Rand, had beaten the child to death.
Bellis has been charged with first-degree reckless homicide and obstructing an officer. She is currently being held at the Grant County Jail on a $25,000 bond. Her next court hearing is scheduled for July 14.
Rand has been released from custody following Bellis' confession, The Washington Post reported.
The coroner initially ruled the baby's death a blunt force homicide. An autopsy on the child revealed numerous bruises on the infant's face, head, neck, and buttocks and "pools of blood" in the brain.
According to the CDC, 1 in 10 new mothers experience frequent symptoms of postpartum depression, which could include indifference towards the baby or concern about hurting the baby, The Washington Post noted.
However, authorities have not confirmed that Bellis was suffering from the disorder.
Sources: The Washington Post, WISC-TV / Photo Credit: Grant County Sheriff's Department via The Washington Post