Toni McClure: Mom accused of killing 5-year-old daughter previously faced neglect charges for horrific living conditions

Toni McClure: Mom accused of killing 5-year-old daughter previously faced neglect charges for horrific living conditions
Toni McClure and her boyfriend Ryan Smith have been arrested in the death of the woman's 5-year-old daughter (Maricon Police Department)

 

Warning: This article contains a recollection of crime and can be triggering to some, readers’ discretion advised.

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MARICON, INDIANAPOLIS: An Indianapolis woman and her live-in boyfriend Ryan Smith, 27, have been arrested in the death of the woman's 5-year-old daughter.

Notably, Toni McClure, the 29-year-old mother, is facing charges of felony murder.

The arrest followed a report of an unresponsive child on April 9, 2024, received by police around 5.15 pm.

Upon arrival, they found the child, Kinsleigh Welty, in a malnourished state, as per DailyMail.

Kinsleigh was rushed to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Hospital staff noted that her weight at the age of five was less than that of a typical two-and-a-half-year-old.

Additionally, the child’s grandmother, Tammy Halsey, was taken into custody for neglect of a dependent on Friday.

IMPD Chief reveals Toni McClure's history of child neglect

Local child abuse detectives and workers from the Indiana Department of Child Services are investigating the child's death.

IMPD Chief Chris Bailey described the death as "horrific," while court documents reveal McClure's history of issues.

In December 2018, McClure visited the hospital for a medical concern while police in Mooresville responded to a residence where she lived with several children.

Among them, a one-year-old and a three-week-old baby were found with soiled diapers, amidst garbage, dirt, and cigarette butts scattered across the floor.

The infants were playing near a "filthy couch, dirty mattress, and a full ashtray," with expired food and sharp objects within reach.

Officers noted that the trash had accumulated, with gnats swarming the kitchen and living room.

Upon discovering these conditions, they deemed the home "one of the worst living conditions" they had ever encountered, expressing concern for the safety of both children and adults.

Upon learning of Child Services' presence, McClure reportedly became distressed.

When Child Services arrived, they found the three-week-old girl, potentially Kinsleigh's age, in a malnourished state, with filth on her head and hands, showing signs of 'failure to thrive' despite her young age.

As a result of the 2018 incident, McClure and a man named Bradley Welty were arrested and charged with neglect. McClure pleaded guilty to one count and received a 900-day jail sentence, later suspended after six weeks, with 540 days of probation.

Kinsleigh Welty (Twitter)
Tricia Welty, Kinsleigh's paternal grandmother, now grapples with guilt for returning the girl to McClure's care after she had lived with them twice before
(Twitter)

Tricia Welty, Kinsleigh's paternal grandmother, now grapples with guilt for returning the girl to McClure's care after she had lived with them twice before.

Tricia recounted pleading with the Department of Child Services for intervention, but her appeals fell on deaf ears.

Now, she has demanded systemic change. "We just don't want her death to be in vain. We want change. We don't want any more kids to have to die because of the failure of the system," she asserted.

Reflecting on Kinsleigh's return to McClure's custody, Tricia mourned, "She was in our home, and she was safe, but she was handed back to her abuser and she's not here anymore.”

This revelation leaves some of the girl's family questioning why the state didn't intervene when it became apparent that McClure was unfit to protect her children.

Kyla Welsh, Kinsleigh's cousin, echoed this sentiment, denouncing McClure as "not a mother, but a monster." She added, "It's unimaginable what we're dealing with right now."

Tricia questioned, her heart breaking over Kinsleigh's ordeal, "If the parents aren't going to love and protect them, and the state is not, who is going to protect them?"

Chief Bailey expressed his sorrow, stating, "My heart breaks knowing what Kinsleigh went through in her short life and how she left this world."

He condemned the circumstances of her death as "horrific and beyond comprehension," emphasizing that if the suspects are convicted, they should never be released from prison.

While DCS is legally restricted from commenting until the conclusion of the criminal investigation, Indianapolis City Councilmember Joshua Bain is advocating for a thorough inquiry.

Bain remarked after urging the State Department of Child Services to take action, "It boggles your mind. It makes you sick to your stomach."

Heartbroken netizens say 'everyone failed' Kinsleigh Welty

Upon learning of the tragic death of the young child, many left angry and commiserating statements online, DailyMail noted.

One user claimed, “At the end of the day everyone failed the children not just protective services.”

Another questioned, "The family is upset with cops? Why didn't they do something? They all knew it was going on.  Shame on them.”

A third shared, “An abortion could have prevented all thhis drama.”

A fourth wrote, “Not everyone is fit to be a parent or caregiver and it's past time to take a hard look at this issue."

Someone else dubbed the world as a "cruel place," writing, “Godspeed, sweet girl. This world is such a cruel place.”

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