Mother and grandmother detailed sickening abuse in Facebook messages leading up to 5-year-old girl’s death

Kinsleigh Welty, who died in April (Carrie Hogan and Tricia Loomis/GoFundMe)
Kinsleigh Welty, who died in April (Carrie Hogan and Tricia Loomis/GoFundMe)

Sickening Facebook messages have come to light revealing the horror that a five-year-old girl endured before her alleged murder.

Kinsleigh Welty died back in April, after allegedly suffering years of abuse.

On 9 April, authorities were called to a report of an unresponsive child at a home in Indiana and found the five-year-old cowering in a corner.

She had allegedly been left there to stare at a wall for misbehaving.

Upon arriving at the scene, the five-year-old “immediately appeared to arriving officers to be malnourished,” authorities said.

She was covered in bite marks, had faeces in her hair and on her feet, had lice crawling on her face and head, and weighed considerably less than she did when she was two years old.

She was immediately rushed to hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Kinsleigh’s mother Toni Renee McClure, 29, and her boyfriend, 27-year-old Ryan Smith, were arrested in connection with her death.

Toni McClure (L) Ryan Smith (R) in mug shots (Marion County Jail)
Toni McClure (L) Ryan Smith (R) in mug shots (Marion County Jail)

McClure was charged with two counts of murder, and one count each of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, battery on a person less than 14 years old, and criminal confinement.

Smith was hit with three counts of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, and one count of criminal confinement, according to Marion County jail records.

Kinsleigh’s grandmother Tammy Halsey, 53, was also initially charged with one count of neglect of a dependent resulting in death. Charges of criminal confinement, failure to make a report, neglect of a dependent resulting in death, neglect of a dependent resulting in injury, neglect of a dependent resulting in bodily injury, and neglect of a dependent were later added, as well as three counts of neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury.

Following her death, police allegedly uncovered evidence that the child’s mother and grandmother had discussed locking the fridge and cabinets to stop the little girl from accessing food and discussed how she attempted to “eat and drink items without permission,” according to court documents obtained by WXIN.

This horrific child abuse had gone on for years and was documented in Facebook messages, the court records show.

In a long Facebook Messenger thread, McClure and Halsey discussed methods used to punish the five-year-old and used pejoratives including “Evil, Demon, Dip****, Dummy, Chunkers and Heiffer” to describe the child.

In one back-and-forth in May 2022, McClure allegedly alerted Halsey that Kinsleigh had escaped from the closet.

“Put something in front so she can’t push the door,” Halsey allegedly replied.

McClure allegedly said she had already tried that, with Halsey responding: “You’re going to have to keep her home one weekend just to show her you mean business.”

McClure then allegedly added that “she hates being smacked on her belly just so you know,” to which Halsey allegedly replied: “Oh, I know.”

Tammy Halsey in mug shot (Marion County Jail)
Tammy Halsey in mug shot (Marion County Jail)

Meanwhile, in another alleged exchange, from May 2023, Kinsleigh was seen in a photo crouching near a couch.

“Did you not wrap her a** up?” Halsey allegedly wrote.

“Yes, I did,” McClure allegedly replied. “She got out.” Halsey then allegedly responded: “Damn do it tighter.”

In texts from two months later, McClure allegedly asked Halsey to watch the girl, with the grandmother refusing and saying she was too tired and had work the next day.

McClure allegedly replied: “Do your duct tape thing. Sleep. I won’t ask again.”

References to taping the child to her bed came up again in messages sent in September 2023 when Kinsleigh’s mother allegedly told Halsey the child had “damn near” escaped from her closet again, to which the five-year-old’s grandmother replied: “Tape her a** down.”

Then in October 2023, Halsey allegedly advised McClure to “tie her f***ing a** up” after the child’s mother said the five-year-old had broke the lock on her door and put excrement under the couch.

Various later messages also revealed the pair’s efforts to keep Kinsleigh away from Child Protective Services, including on the day of her death.

“So I don’t have much in my fridge or my cabinets but DCS is coming out today. Call me on your lunch,” McClure wrote to Halsey on 9 April.

The girl’s grandmother is due back in court on Monday. The girl’s mother and Smith are both due back in court on June 18.

Smith has since been released on bail. Meanwhile, McClure and Halsey are still in pretrial detention.