BY Natasha Strydhorst ON March 22, 2017

On June 25, 2015 a pet dog discovered a trash bag on the shore of Deer Island, Boston. It contained the remains of a two-year-old child. Investigators christened her “Baby Doe,” brought in their own cadaver dogs, and began the quest to find Doe’s identity—and her killer’s. They quickly hit dead ends. There didn’t seem to be enough data to clinch the case, until the United States’ only full-time forensic palynologist, or pollen expert, arrived on the scene. Andrew Laurence, head palynologist at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, read the pollen signature clinging to the toddler’s hair and clothing to trace where she had lived. Though prolonged exposure to the damp had rendered her fingerprints unreadable, her pollen print was clear enough: two species of cedar trees that could not have grown wildly but were certainly present in the Boston Arboretum had left their mark on the body: she had to have lived close by. Having established the child was local, detectives were able to tighten their search and close in on an eventual lead. A neighbor’s tip led investigators to her mother, Rachelle Bond, and the discovery of Baby Doe’s name: Bella Neveah Amoroso Bond.