Records show why parents didn't get help for starving baby

SOLON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) —  A Kent County couple charged with felony murder and first-degree child abuse in the starvation death of their 10-month-old daughter didn't seek medical help partly for religious reasons, court records show.

Seth Welch and his wife, Tatania Fusari, both 27, are charged in Thursday's death of Mary Anne Welch, who was found dead in their home on Algoma Avenue NE in Solon Township. They were to be arraigned Monday in 63rd District Court.

An autopsy determined the baby died of malnutrition and dehydration.

Kent County Sheriff's detectives interviewed both parents.

"During interviews with both parents, admissions were made that they were aware of Mary Welch's skinny appearance and low weight for at least one month prior to this date," according to an affidavit signed by a detective.

"Tatania 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," the affidavit states.

Deputies say they found the baby unresponsive at the family's home on Algoma near 20 Mile Road in Solon Township.

The couple were raising three young children and ran Blackacre Farm Products at their home.

At the home, Seth Welch displayed his faith on handpainted signs nailed to trees and on the fence out front. "Repent. Believe. Obey," one message painted in white reads.

In Facebook videos, he often read from the Bible and preached against "wordly" things.

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