There are thousands of unidentified bodies like Boston's 'Baby Doe'

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New Details Emerge in Baby Doe Case

The identity of "Baby Doe"—Bella Amoroso Bond, the 2-year-old girl whose decomposing body was found wrapped in a garbage bag on the shoreline of Boston Harbor in June—is now allegedly known after months of investigation. But there are still thousands of bodies across the country that authorities are unable to I.D., thousands of people who will never get justice.

There currently are 12,356 sets of unidentified human remains in the U.S., according to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, a database maintained by the Department of Justice to help put a name to unidentified remains. Other crime experts put that total closer to 40,000—a total that includes the unidentified remains of people who weren't necessarily victims of a crime. The large number of unidentified bodies has been described by the National Institute of Justice as "The Nation's Silent Mass Disaster."

Of the 12,356 cases identified by NMUPS, about 85 percent remain open. The roughly 15 percent that have been closed aren't necessarily actually solved; in this situation "closed" can sometimes just mean that authorities are no longer actively investigating the cases.

Of all the states, California has the largest number of unidentified remains with 2,068, according to NMUPS data. 7.2 percent of those cases have been closed. In Massachusetts, where Bond was found, there are 98 sets of unidentified human remains that have been reported to the NMUPS, 78 of which remain open cases.

Michael McCarthy, the live-in boyfriend of Bond's mother, Rachelle Bond, has been charged with the girl's murder. At his arraignment on Monday, prosecutors claimed that McCarthy was fascinated with the occult and that he believed the 2-year-old girl was possessed and that "it was her time to die." Rachelle Bond has been charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact for allegedly helping McCarthy dispose of her daughter's body.

See photos of the Bella Bond case:

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The Search for the Identity of Baby Doe
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There are thousands of unidentified bodies like Boston's 'Baby Doe'
BOSTON - SEPTEMBER 21: Rachelle Dee Bond was arraigned for acting after the fact in helping to dispose of the body of her daughter, who was known for a while as Baby Doe. Michael Patrick McCarthy was arraigned in the death of Bella Neveah Amoroso Bond in Dorchester District Court, on Monday, September 21, 2015. (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - SEPTEMBER 21: Michael Patrick McCarthy was arraigned in the death of Bella Neveah Amoroso Bond in Dorchester District Court, on Monday, September 21, 2015. Rachelle Dee Bond (not shown) was arraigned for acting after the fact in helping to dispose of the body of her daughter, who was known for a while as Baby Doe. (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - SEPTEMBER 21: Megan Fewtrell, godmother of Bella Bond, clutches 'Ducky,' Bella's favorite stuffed animal that was kept at Fewtrell's home. She waits for the proceedings to start. Michael Patrick McCarthy was arraigned in the death of Bella Neveah Amoroso Bond in Dorchester District Court, on Monday, September 21, 2015. Rachelle Dee Bond was arraigned for acting after the fact in helping to dispose of the body of her daughter, who was known for a while as Baby Doe. (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - SEPTEMBER 21: Joseph Amoroso, biological father of Bella Bond, speaks to the media after the arraignment. Michael Patrick McCarthy was arraigned in the death of Bella Neveah Amoroso Bond in Dorchester District Court, on Monday, September 21, 2015. Rachelle Dee Bond was arraigned for acting after the fact in helping to dispose of the body of her daughter, who was known for a while as Baby Doe. (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - SEPTEMBER 21: Rachelle Dee Bond was arraigned for acting after the fact in helping to dispose of the body of her daughter, who was known for a while as Baby Doe. Michael Patrick McCarthy (not shown) was arraigned in the death of Bella Neveah Amoroso Bond in Dorchester District Court, on Monday, September 21, 2015. (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - SEPTEMBER 21: Rachelle Dee Bond was arraigned for acting after the fact in helping to dispose of the body of her daughter, who was known for a while as Baby Doe. Michael Patrick McCarthy was arraigned in the death of Bella Neveah Amoroso Bond in Dorchester District Court, on Monday, September 21, 2015. (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley briefs the media on developments in the Baby Doe case and arrests of her mother Rachelle Bond and her mother's boyfriend Michael McCarthy in DA Conley's Law Library in Boston on Sept. 18, 2015. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WINTHROP, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: MWRA officials and employees bow their heads in a moment of silence for Baby Doe during a small ceremony honoring the memory of the girl known as Baby Doe at the site where her body was found last month on Deer Island in Winthrop, Mass., on Sept. 18, 2015. They had planned this small dedication ceremony before they knew the identity of the girl was found earlier in the day. They raised money and bought a bench, a tree, and a statue of a baby deer. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WINTHROP, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: A memorial at the site where Baby Doe was found last month on Deer Island in Winthrop, Mass. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WINTHROP, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Left to right, Frederick Laskey, Ria Convery and Susan M. Brazil absorb the news of learning the identity of Baby Doe near the spot where she was found last month on Deer Island in Winthrop, Mass., on Sept. 18, 2015. MWRA officials and employees had prepared for a small ceremony honoring the memory of the girl known as Baby Doe at the site where her body was found before they knew the identity was found earlier in the day. They raised money and bought a bench, a tree, and a statue of a baby deer. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WINTHROP, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Winthrop resident Renee O'Brien came to see the small memorial planned by the MWRA honoring the memory of the girl known as Baby Doe at the site where her body was found last month on Deer Island in Winthrop, Mass., on Sept. 18, 2015. They had planned a small dedication ceremony before they knew the identity of the girl was found earlier in the day. They raised money and bought a bench, a tree, and a statue of a baby deer. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WINTHROP, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Frederick Laskey of the MWRA reacts to learning the identity of Baby Doe near the spot where she was found last month on Deer Island in Winthrop, Mass., on Sept. 18, 2015. MWRA officials and employees had prepared for a small ceremony honoring the memory of the girl known as Baby Doe at the site where her body was found before they knew the identity was found earlier in the day. They raised money and bought a bench, a tree, and a statue of a baby deer. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WINTHROP, MA - AUGUST 20: Lorraine Noel tends to the memorial at the site where Baby Doe was found at Deer Island in Winthrop, MA on August 20, 2015. Noel is a coordinator of Justice for Baby Doe, earlier in the day the group gathered at Saint John the Evangelist Parish where they hope to build a source of local volunteers to help identify the young girl by posting fliers throughout the Boston metro area. (Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WINTHROP, MA - AUGUST 20: Volunteers Jeannie Spinazola, left, and her daughter Jillian Ashley Grimes pickup fliers at Saint John the Evangelist Parish in Winthrop, MA on August 20, 2015. Members of Justice for Baby Doe gathered at Saint John the Evangelist Parish where they hope to build a source of local volunteers to help identify the young girl by posting fliers throughout the Boston metro area. (Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WINTHROP, MA - AUGUST 20: Mike Rapaglia posts a flier on the rectory door at Saint John the Evangelist Parish in Winthrop, MA on August 20, 2015. Members of Justice for Baby Doe gathered at Saint John the Evangelist Parish where they hope to build a source of local volunteers to help identify the young girl by posting fliers throughout the Boston metro area. (Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WINTHROP, MA - AUGUST 20: An image of Baby Doe is surrounded by gifts at the memorial at the site where the girl was found at Deer Island in Winthrop, MA on August 20, 2015. Earlier members of Justice for Baby Doe gathered at Saint John the Evangelist Parish where they hope to build a source of local volunteers to help identify the young girl by posting fliers throughout the Boston metro area. (Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WINTHROP, MA - AUGUST 20: Debbie Larson and Lorraine Noel visit the memorial at the site where Baby Doe was found at Deer Island in Winthrop, MA on August 20, 2015. The women are the coordinators of Justice for Baby Doe. Earlier in the day the group gathered at Saint John the Evangelist Parish where they hope to build a source of local volunteers to help identify the young girl by posting fliers throughout the Boston metro area. (Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WINTHROP, MA - AUGUST 20: Coordinator Debbie Larson, left, talks with volunteer Jeannie Spinazola at Saint John the Evangelist Parish in Winthrop, MA on August 20, 2015. Members of Justice for Baby Doe gathered at Saint John the Evangelist Parish where they hope to build a source of local volunteers to help identify the young girl by posting fliers throughout the Boston metro area. (Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WINTHROP, MA - AUGUST 20: Volunteer Wayne Davidson picks up fliers and information at Saint John the Evangelist Parish in Winthrop, MA on August 20, 2015. Members of Justice for Baby Doe gathered at Saint John the Evangelist Parish where they hope to build a source of local volunteers to help identify the young girl by posting fliers throughout the Boston metro area. (Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WINTHROP, MA - AUGUST 4: Winthrop Detectives Timothy Callinan, far right, and Wayne Carter knock on doors following up on a tip that a child was seen in a nearby park who matched the Baby Doe description. They speak with Andrea Mesa and her four year old son Anthony in Winthrop, Mass., on Aug. 4, 2015. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
SUDBURY, MA - JULY 31: A trooper brought body samples to the State Police Crime Laboratory in Sudbury, Mass., on July 31, 2015. They will then be sending it to a private lab in Utah where they will conduct isotope analysis to see what water she's been drinking, which they can match to different geographic areas in the US. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WINTHROP, MA - JULY 31: People have brought toys, dolls, flowers, stuffed animals to a shrine above the spot on the beach on Deer Island in Winthrop where Baby Doe was found. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WINTHROP, MA - JULY 31: Massachusetts State Trooper Daniel Herman, lead investigator of the Baby Doe case, stands at the rocky beach where Baby Doe's body was discovered on Deer Island in Winthrop on July 31, 2015. He has returned to the site multiple times for investigative reasons. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WINTHROP, MA - JULY 25: A memorial for Baby Doe where the unidentified young girl's body was found last month on Deer Island in Winthop, Mass., on Saturday, July 25, 2015. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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