Five-year-old girl tragically starves to death in feces-covered closet

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – A 5-year-old girl, identified as Kinsleigh Welty, lived a horrifying life of severe neglect before her tragic death, say Indianapolis authorities. The young girl died of extreme malnutrition and was forced to live in a feces-covered closet, rarely allowed to eat, according to law enforcement. Indictments have been issued against the child’s mother, the mother’s boyfriend, and are anticipated soon against the grandmother.

Toni McClure, the mother, and Ryan Smith, her boyfriend, both residents of Indianapolis, have been charged following Kinsleigh’s death on April 9, confirmed Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears on Monday. Tammy Halsey, Kinsleigh’s grandmother, has also been taken into custody in connection with the deplorable case.

Emergency services were alerted to a report of an unresponsive child at a residence in the 6500 block of Denver Drive on the city’s southwest side just before 5:15 p.m. last Tuesday. When authorities arrived on the scene, they found Kinsleigh, who bore signs of malnutrition. She was covered in lice and fecal matter, according to a report that was given by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD). Kinsleigh was taken to Riley Hospital for Children, where she tragically succumbed to rigorous malnutrition, weighing less than when she was two years old.

Law enforcement discovered a small feces-soaked closet within the home where the ill-fated child was forced to spend most of her days. According to Prosecutor Mears, Kinsleigh’s caregivers placed a dresser in front of the closet, leaving the child trapped in these conditions. He pointed out that all she required was “a safe place to sleep and food.”

Toni McClure, Kinsleigh’s mother, allegedly confessed to regularly placing her daughter in the closet and providing her scant food while the child complained of hunger. She acknowledged the awareness that her actions would lead to her daughter’s death but admitted to wanting the child out of her life.

Ryan Smith, McClure’s boyfriend, reportedly revealed to the authorities the horrifying fact that Kinsleigh had been confined to the closet since the previous Thanksgiving. Despite noting the significant weight loss in the child, Smith refrained from alerting 911 due to his affection for McClure.

IMPD Chief Chris Bailey criticized the tragic incident as “horrific” and “beyond comprehension.” Tammy Halsey, Kinsleigh’s grandmother, too, came under scrutiny after her admission of being aware of the Child Services’ attempts to locate McClure and Kinsleigh, owing to the concerns over the child’s welfare.

Despite witnessing Kinsleigh’s physical health deteriorate significantly over the last six months, Halsey refrained from intervening to prevent losing custody of her other children.