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Love and lies: How a single mom from Wabash fell in love with a man with five names

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Posted at 7:36 AM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 09:05:32-04

This is part one of the story of a heartbroken mother who holds out hope that her son’s body will one day be discovered. The boy’s father, Anthony Dibiah, has been charged with murder.

Read the other parts of Nakota's story here: Part 2 | Part 3

WABASH — Hayley Kelly was a young, single mother when a handsome man messaged her through a dating app.

In December 2008, the two had their first date. Kelly had just turned 22, and her daughter, Jazmyn, was 2 years old.

Kelly described the man she met as caring, thoughtful and charming. He wasn’t wealthy, but the couple would rent movies and enjoyed spending time together.

Kelly fell in love. At the time, she thought Miguel Nchama loved her, too. She would later learn that everything, right down to his name, was a lie.

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Anthony Dibiah with Jazmyn Kelly, left, and his son, Nakota Kelly.

According to federal court records, Nchama was one of five different names used by Anthony Dibiah.

Long before he was accused of brutally killing his 10-year-old son at an Indianapolis apartment in July 2020, Dibiah had been living and working in the U.S. under a stolen identity.

“He was charming and now that I know," Kelly said. "I know he was just manipulating me. But I couldn't see past that at first.”

For about eight years starting in 2002, records show Dibiah was lying to Kelly and everyone else.

Looking back, Kelly said she thinks nearly everything he told her at the time was a lie. She can’t remember him ever saying “I love you.”

All he wanted from her, she now believes, was a child. They had been dating for two years when Kelly gave him that child, a son named Nakota who was born May 25, 2010.

In Nakota, Dibiah finally had an American son that tied him to the U.S. even after all his lies came crashing down.

Now Dibiah, 38, is being held in the Marion County Jail awaiting trial for his son's murder. He declined WRTV’s request for an interview.

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Hayley Kelly took this photo of her son Nakota at the Wabash County Fair days before the boy was allegedly killed by his father.

False Identities

Dibiah was born in Nigeria in 1983. His birth name is Ejike Ibe, according to federal court records.

He attended Christ The King Secondary School in Obike, Nigeria, where court records say he took his Christian name Anthony Dibiah.

Dibiah came to America in 2002 at age 19. Court records say he lived for a few months in North Carolina with the family of a Nigerian immigrant named Jude Mbanuzue.

Federal authorities say that Dibiah stole the social security number and other identification records of Mbanuzue’s son Judson, 17 at the time and a Texas-born American citizen.

Court records say Dibiah used Judson Mbanuzue’s name to obtain student loans to attend the Salter School in Massachusetts in 2006. (In 2019, the Massachusetts attorney general shut down all campuses connected to the school’s parent company, Premier Education Group, for defrauding students.)

Dibiah left Massachusetts in 2009. He moved to Indiana, where authorities say he used Mbanzue’s name to lease a car, to work and to rent an apartment in Muncie.

The real Judson Mbanzue figured out what happened and met with FBI agents in Indianapolis in August 2011. Dibiah was arrested on Aug. 31, 2011.

In all, court records say Dibiah used at least five names from 2002 to 2011 when he lived and worked in the U.S. under a false identity.

Coming clean

Facing several felony charges, Dibiah finally told Kelly that he had been lying to her. At the time, he insisted he wanted them to stay together.

Dibiah, records show, pleaded guilty in May 2012 to Social Security fraud, identity theft and misusing documents to enter the U.S.

Nakota was 2 years old when Dibiah went to prison to serve a 34-month sentence. It would be about five years before father and son would see each other again.

“I’m very, very sorry for my actions,” Dibiah said in a handwritten letter to U.S. District Court Judge William T. Lawrence. “Hopefully my kids will not grow up without a father because of the mistakes I have made.”

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Anthony Dibiah gave this letter to a judge in May 2012, shortly before he was sentenced to 34 months in federal prison for Social Security fraud, identity theft and misusing documents to enter the U.S.

Dibiah begged Kelly for forgiveness in a letter dated Feb. 4, 2014.

“Whatever pain I have inflicted upon you I ask you to forgive me,” Dibiah wrote in the letter provided by Kelly. “My goal is to make amends and be a Christian loving family.”

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2014 letter

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials tried to deport Dibiah, but a spokesperson told WRTV his home country Nigeria refused to take him back.

It's not clear why Nigeria refused to issue travel documents for Dibiah. WRTV left messages for the Nigerian embassy in Washington, D.C., and the Nigerian consulate in New York seeking comment.

“World events or country conditions can sometimes impact a country’s willingness to accept its citizens with final orders of removal back to their home countries,” ICE spokesperson Alethea Smock said in an email.

“When these events occur, ICE works both directly with foreign governments and through the Department of State to address the situation. ICE’s expectation is that each country will continue to meet its international obligation to accept its own nationals.”

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Hayley Kelly with son Nakota and daughter Jazmyn.

Dibiah wrote more than a dozen letters to Kelly while he was a federal prisoner. In the letters, he promised to be a good father and help raise Nakota and her daughter Jazmyn.

“I feel like it was just lies,” Kelly said. “I feel like he just wanted to say those things to make me keep in contact and do what he wanted me to do.”

In one letter to Kelly, Dibiah said the government's difficulty in finding a country to accept him was a "good sign."

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Anthony Dibiah wrote more than a dozen letters while he was serving a 34-month federal prison sentence.

"I'm fighting tooth and nail to stay," Dibiah wrote. "Not only because I want to stay but for the sake of our kids."

Dibiah may have been dreaming of a new life with Kelly and the kids, but she said she was not interested in building anything with him.

Dibiah would not be deterred. He was released from federal custody and returned to Indiana in 2016. He went to court that same year and a Wabash County judge granted him joint custody and visitation time with his son.

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Hayley Kelly stands in her son's bedroom, which hasn't changed much since 10-year-old Nakota Kelly last slept here a year ago. Nakota was allegedly killed by his father during a weekend visit in July 2020. Anothy Dibiah has been charged with murder in Marion Superior Court.

Kelly said their relationship had been broken beyond repair. It was over, she said, but Dibiah always wanted more from her. She said she believes he wanted to control what she did and how she raised Nakota.

"I believe that he was using me," Kelly said. "I just don't think he knows what love is. I don't think he's capable of loving anybody."

Part 2 | 'Unsubstantiated:' DCS investigated at least five abuse complaints against Nakota Kelly's father

Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at victor.ryckaert@wrtv.com or on Twitter: @vicryc.