GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A Kent County father charged in the starving death of his 10-month-old daughter defended himself from jail Thursday, saying he is being unfairly charged because of his strong faith.
Seth Welch and his wife Tatiana Fusari, both 27, are facing charges of murder and child abuse after their daughter, Mary Ann Welch, died of malnutrition and dehydration August 2, officials said.
Fusari admitted to detectives that they failed to reach out for medical help due to fear of having their children removed by Child Protective Services, lack of faith and trust in medical services, and religious reasons, according to an affidavit.
Welch spoke from jail with Leon Hendrix of WOOD-TV on Thursday, defending himself in his daughter's death, saying, "God knows how much I loved that child."
Watch WOOD-TV's report below:
"Our family had such a great life on our farm together, and it's all been told apart," Welch said.
Welch and his wife ran Blackacre Farm Products from their home, selling fresh produce, syrup, honey and other goods.
Welch said there was no ill will or neglect in his daughter's death. "When they found her body, she had a dirty diaper, showing clearly that she had received nourishment," he said. "We did the best we could for Mary, according to our faith."
According to court documents obtained by WOOD-TV, there were dirty diapers in the trash in Mary's room. They also stated that the infant's mattress was "wet and soiled" and had a rip in it.
Fusari told investigators she found the baby dead after returning home from work about 10 a.m. August 2. She said the last time the child had eaten was 2:30 p.m. the previous day.
The documents said that after Mary was found, Welch waited an hour before calling police.
"I believe I am being unfairly charged, being made an example of for my very strong faith," Welch said. "Going into the doctor's office these days is just about as dangerous as not going."
Welch had posted frequently about his Christian beliefs on his personal Facebook page. He also expressed his views on the medical industry. In a video posted May 2, he referred to doctors as "priesthoods of the medical cult," and explained that he thinks doctors would have to believe in creationism to successfully treat patients.
"I would advise you to be careful what you say from here on out. You will answer to the Lord for everything that is said against me," Welch said to WOOD-TV's Leon Hendrix during the interview. "You go ahead and record it, sir."
Watch the full interview below:
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