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Father grieves death of daughter he never met

By now, most Massachusetts residents are likely aware that police have discovered the identity of the child known as "Baby Doe." The toddler's body was discovered along the shore of a beach near Boston back in June.

The child's biological father, who had never met his 2-year-old daughter but had spoken to her on the telephone, allegedly informed police that his daughter's mother told him that her boyfriend had punched their daughter repeatedly in the abdomen until she died.

According to media reports, the girl's mother struggled with addiction and had prior run-ins with the law for prostitution and drug offenses. Prior to the birth of her now-deceased daughter, the mother had lost custody of one child in 2001 and another in 2006.

Both the mother and her boyfriend were arrested last week on charges related to the toddler's death after police obtained a warrant to search the mother's apartment. They face arraignment in Boston Municipal Court's Dorchester Division.

According to other media reports about the case by CNN, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families had twice investigated allegations of neglect towards the child, but closed both cases.

When biological fathers of children do not assert their paternal rights and become an involved presence in their children's lives, the risk of abuse and neglect can become much higher. Because there is no other parent around to observe marks, bruises or disturbing behavioral changes that could be harbingers of abuse, children can be forced to endure assaults and mistreatment. This can be at the hands of their custodial parent, or as often is the case, by their parent's romantic partners.

If you have children out of wedlock with someone, establishing legal paternity can provide them with an extra layer of safety and allow you to be involved with their lives right from birth. If you are concerned about their safety, contact a family law attorney or the DCF with your suspicions.

Source: NYSE Post, "Baby Bella's father speaks," Sep. 21, 2015

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