State Senator James Sanders Jr. said: "As a father and as the elected official who represents most of the Rockaways, I am angered and outraged by the death of 3-year-old Bella Edwards who was allegedly physically and sexually assaulted by her mother's boyfriend, a man who was supposed to be taking care of her, but instead allegedly beat her to death. This is disgusting and reprehensible. If convicted, this man needs to be punished to the full extent of the law. We must make sure that this never happens again in our community. I stand ready to lead that fight and I encourage all people of good will to join me. My thoughts and prayers are with Bella's family during this difficult time."