‘Do your duct tape thing’: Messages detail abuse against Kinsleigh Welty

Posted at 11:26 AM, June 4, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS (Court TV/Scripps News Indianapolis) — Newly released court documents detail the abuse 5-year-old Kinsleigh Welty suffered before her death.

On May 24, prosecutors filed felony neglect charges against Kinsleigh’s grandmother, Tammy Halsey.

child smiles

Kinsleigh Welty (Scripps News Indianapolis)

Halsey faces five counts of neglect and one count of failing to report child neglect or abuse, according to court documents obtained by Court TV. Halsey was initially charged with criminal confinement in the days after Kinsleigh’s death.

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

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 her home. Investigators say she was severely malnourished after being locked in a closet and denied proper food and water.

“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.”

RELATED | 3 charged after malnourished 5-year-old girl dies in Indianapolis

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

combo image of two women

(L) Toni McClure, (R) Tammy Halsey (Marion County Jail)

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 confining 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.

The messages also detailed abuse Kinsleigh suffered:

  • July 7, 2023: McClure messages Halsey asking her to stay in a hotel room and watch the children. Halsey says she doesn’t want to.
    • Halsey: “It’s the no sleep and have to work on Monday.”
    • McClure: “Do your duct tape thing. Sleep. I won’t ask again.”
  • Oct. 6, 2023:
    • McClure: “She broke the lock on the door and the s*** that was in her pants she shoved under the couch.”
    • Halsey: “Tie her f******g a** up.”

The documents also detail McClure’s statements to investigators, including that she believed “Kinsleigh had resentment towards her because she had been taken away by DCS earlier in her life.” McClure also claimed “Kinsleigh told her that she wanted to die just prior to her death.”