Complaint: Woman admits she beat, shook baby, initially blamed baby’s father

A Boscobel woman accused of causing the death of a 3-month-old baby at her home Saturday admitted she lied about the baby’s father shaking the girl.

Renae L. Bellis, 31, of Boscobel, faces a first-degree reckless homicide charge in the death of an infant in Boscobel, officials said.

At a news conference in Tuesday afternoon, Boscobel police Chief Todd Stenner said the man initially arrested in the case, the baby’s father Mark T. Rand, 39, was cleared and released. Stenner said the case is especially difficult because the victim is young.

“We all have worked many years in law enforcement,” Stenner said. “But anytime there’s a death of a child and even more so an infant, it affects us and makes it very challenging.”

A criminal complaint filed in Grant County court Monday said Bellis had initially told police she saw the infant’s father hitting her and shaking her early Saturday morning. The next day she told police that she had lied and was sorry. According to the complaint, Bellis said she was depressed and took it out on the baby. She said she had tried to feed the baby a bottle, but the girl didn’t want it and kept screaming. Bellis told police she snapped, slapping the baby on her face multiple times and on her butt. The baby suffered cuts from where Bellis had hit her, and Bellis used a onesie to wipe the blood off the baby, the complaint alleged.

Bellis also said it was Bellis, not the baby’s father, who held the girl at arm’s length and shook her, then placing her in her swing still crying, according to the complaint. When the baby’s father got home, Bellis was calm and in bed watching TV. She told police she thought the girl was sleeping.

Bellis initially told police the father had harmed the baby, and she found her dead Saturday but that she went back to bed before calling police later in the morning.

An autopsy of the baby found bruises on her face, head, neck, torso, buttocks, hands and legs, the complaint said. The autopsy also found the baby had suffered blunt force trauma, and there were pools of blood inside the skull and brain area.

In addition to the reckless homicide charge, Bellis also faces one count of obstructing an officer.

Bellis was in custody at the Grant County Jail on $25,000 cash bond. Her next court date is Thursday at 1:30 p.m.