Two Michigan parents are facing murder charges for allegedly letting their infant daughter starve to death for “religious reasons,” The Detroit Free Press is reporting.
On August 2, Seth Welch, 27, the father of 10-month-old Mary Anne Welch, called police to say that he had found the infant girl dead in her crib. So emaciated was the young girl that the officer who responded said that the little girl’s cheeks and eyes had “sunken into her head.”
At the time, Welch posted on Facebook that his daughter had died.
“Heart is about shattered right now. Woke up to Mary dead in her bed this morning.”
A later autopsy determined that Mary Anne died of dehydration and malnutrition.
The girl’s mother, Tatiana Fusari, also 27, allegedly told the police that she and her husband were aware of the little girl’s “skinny” appearance as early as a month ago, but that neither she nor her husband notified authorities.
The parents were taken downtown and asked why they didn’t seek medical help for the little girl. According to The Express, a police affidavit said that the couple admitted that they didn’t seek help for the infant because of their religion.
“Tatiana Fusari admitted during the interview that they failed to reach out for medical help with their daughter for fear of having her children removed by Child Protective Services, lack of faith and trust in the medical services and religious reasons.”
MI – The parents of a 10-month-old girl who died of malnutrition and dehydration have been charged with felony murder and first-degree child abuse. Seth Welch and Tatiana… https://t.co/cmUhiTuryE
— True Blue Warriors (@TruBluWarriors) August 8, 2018
Seth’s Facebook account contains references to that lack of trust in the medical profession. In one Facebook post, he wrote that doctors are “priesthoods of the medical cult.” In another, he said that God, not doctors, should be in charge of taking care of the sick.
“The righteous shall live by faith. It’s God who is sovereign over disease and those sorts of things and, of course, ultimately deaths.”
At their arraignment on Monday morning, both parents seemed shocked at the magnitude of their alleged crimes. Seth’s jaw dropped when he was told that he faces life in prison. Tatiana, meanwhile, held Seth’s arm and sobbed.
Tatiana asked 63rd District Court Judge Sara J. Smolenski to be allowed out of jail to continue her job at McDonald’s. Seth asked to be allowed to continue to run his farm. Both requests were denied, and the couple remain behind bars, held without bond.
The couple has two other children, aged two and four. They have been placed in the care of relatives.