INDIANAPOLIS — Nakota Kelly told his mother that his father was going to hurt him during their next court-ordered weekend visit.
“Oh, I’m dead,” the 10-year-old told Hayley Kelly in July 2020, just days before he went to his father’s Indianapolis apartment. “Don’t expect me to come home. My dad is going to kill me.”
Hayley Kelly told the Indiana Department of Child Services what her son had said, but according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday, officials did nothing to protect him from the man accused of killing him.
Marion County prosecutors say Anthony Dibiah killed Nakota at a west-side apartment on July 18, 2020. Kelly's attorney Robert B. Turner called the boy's death "foreseeable and preventable."
"Defendant DCS had a duty to care for and protect the minor child, Nakota Kelly... that said duty of care was breached by DCS," Turner wrote in the five-page civil complaint filed in Marion Superior Court. "but for the breach of the duty of care by DCS the injuries, suffering, death and damages to Nakota Kelly would not have occurred."
Hayley Kelly provided records to WRTV showing that DCS officials investigated multiple complaints of abuse or neglect against Dibiah dating back to 2016. All complaints were unsubstantiated.
Hayley Kelly's wrongful death and negligence lawsuit names DCS and Dibiah as defendants. She is seeking unspecified damages.
A spokesperson for DCS and Dibiah's attorney declined comment.
Dibiah, prosecutors say, smothered his son on July 18, 2020, disposed of the body and fled Indianapolis. He drove through Indiana and Illinois before police caught him the next day in Missouri, according to court records.
Detectives found blood and other evidence of the boy's death in Dibiah's apartment near West 10th Street and I-465.
Authorities have not found Nakota's body.
Read the WRTV exclusive Nakota's story:
Part 1 | Love and lies: How a single mom from Wabash fell in love with a man with five names;
Part 2 | 'Unsubstantiated': DCS investigated at least five abuse complaints against Nakota Kelly's father;
Part 3 | The last visit: Nakota Kelly's short life ends in violence at his father's home
Dibiah was charged with murder in Nakota's death. He has been held in the Marion County Jail since Aug. 2, 2020, records show. His trial is scheduled to begin on May 23.
Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at email@example.com or on Twitter: @vicryc.