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"Top priority is child safety": DCS responds following 5-year-old's death

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Posted at 4:44 PM, Apr 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-16 16:44:51-04

The Indiana Department of Child Services is responding following the death of 5-year-old Kinsleigh Welty.

As WRTV reported, Indianapolis City-councilor Joshua Bain represents the district Kinsleigh was found in before she died.

In a letter to the Indiana Department of Child Services, he is demanding information on what happened in Kinsleigh’s case and the steps DCS is taking to prevent this from happening again.

“There were multiple instances where the system failed her,” said Bain. “I don’t just mean DCS, I mean the court system."

Prosecutors say Kinsleigh was malnourished.

"My 13 month old weighs more than this 5 year old weighed," said Bain.

On April 16, WRTV contacted DCS to find out if they had received Bain’s letter.

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A DCS spokesperson said they became aware of the letter through the media.

“DCS’ absolute top priority is child safety,” read the DCS statement. “We are always saddened when a child tragedy occurs and partner with stakeholders from across the state to thoroughly investigate all child deaths in Indiana that involve abuse or neglect. We are unable to comment on individual cases due to strict confidentiality requirements.”

Records show Toni McClure, the girl’s mother, has a history with the Department of Child Services.

Police arrested McClure, for Murder and Child Neglect Resulting in Death, as well as her 27-year-old boyfriend, Thomas Smith, for Child Neglect Resulting in Death.

Police say Kinsleigh Welty was kept in a closet that had small handprints of what appeared to be feces on the door. There was also soiled clothing and a strong smell of urine.

Riley Hospital reports Kinsleigh was so malnourished that she weighed more at two-and-a-half years old than at five.

According to police reports, just before Kinsleigh died, DCS was at the house following McClure’s newborn testing positive for THC. Kinsleigh did not test positive.W

WATCH | Family of Kinsleigh Welty appears in court

Family of Kinsleigh Welty appear in court

McClure allegedly said Kinsleigh frequently expressed that she wanted more food or that she was thirsty but had a desire for her to be out of her life.

“I would hope an investigation would be neutral and you wouldn’t have DCS investigating DCS,” said Bain. “First of all we need to figure out what went wrong. There has to be accountability for this.”

On Sunday, April 14, IMPD announced Kinsleigh's grandmother, 53-year-old Tammy Halsey, was also arrested in connection with this incident. She faces charges of Neglect.