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Grandmother charged with neglect in 5-year-old Kinsleigh Welty's death

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Posted at 12:00 PM, May 30, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — Prosecutors filed felony neglect charges against the grandmother of Kinsleigh Welty, a 5-year-old who officials say died of starvation and dehydration at a southwest side home.

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Tammy Halsey faces five counts of neglect and one count of failing to report child neglect or abuse, Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said in a news release Thursday.

"These charges are a direct result of law enforcement’s commitment to justice for Kinsleigh," Mears said. "We will continue to pursue leads and information and file charges, if warranted, as the investigation continues."

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In April, prosecutors charged Kinsleigh's mother, Toni McClure, with murder, criminal confinement and battery in the little girl's death.

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McClure's boyfriend, Ryan Smith, was charged with three counts of neglect resulting in death.

Prosecutors believe Kinsleigh died of starvation and dehydration on April 9 after she was found unresponsive at a home in the 6500 block of Denver Drive.

Investigators say the little girl was severely malnourished after being locked in a closet and denied proper food and water.

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"Kinsleigh was thin and her eyes were sunken," IMPD Detective Shane Nicholsen wrote in a probable cause affidavit. "Kinsleigh had what appeared to be fecal matter on various parts of her body including the bottom of her feet and in her hair."

The child had lice in her hair and on her face and sores on her abdomen, Nicholsen wrote.

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Prosecutors say Halsey frequently cared for Kinsleigh over several years, including the time shortly before the girl died.

In the court documents, prosecutors say Facebook messages between Halsey and McClure included "references to withholding food from Kinsleigh, controlling her intake of certain items, as well as Kinsleigh’s desire to eat and drink items without permission."

The pair also discussed locking the refrigerator, preventing access to food and confinement of Kinsleigh, according to the documents.

In the messages, prosecutors say Halsey and McClure referred to Kinsleigh as "evil, demon, dummy, chunkers" and other derogatory names.

According to the documents:

"It’s the no sleep and have to work on Monday," Halsey said in a July 7, 2023, message.

"Do your duct tape thing. Sleep. I won’t ask again," McClure messaged back.

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