Michigan man Seth Welch says he and his wife Tatiana Fusari are innocent in their daughter’s death. Medical examiners determined that Mary Welch died from malnutrition and dehydration, but her father claimed that she didn’t pass away because of neglect.
“I believe something else has happened here that caused Mary’s body to shut down in such a way,” he argued during a pair of jailhouse interviews given to WOOD-TV. Welch said that dirty diapers and empty containers of baby food showed Mary had been fed. His daughter wasn’t crying, and had died without a sound in her sleep, he said in his defense. She was thin, but that was like the rest of his children, and there were no signs she was badly off, he insisted.
Welch voiced some annoyance with how the case has been covered by the media.
“I would advise you to be careful what you say from here on out,” he said during the first interview. “You will answer to the Lord for everything that is said against me. You go ahead and record it, sir.”
The couple are charged with felony murder and first-degree child abuse. Seth Welch acknowledged he was “shocked” on learning that they faced a possible life sentence for the death.
“I went to my cell and I cried,” he said, during two tense interviews.
Police said the couple acknowledged that Mary was thin. Fusari allegedly admitted that they avoided going to a doctor because they worried about Child Protective Services, lacked trust in medical services, and had religious reasons against it.
In the interview, Welch insisted that his wife is a great mother.
“I believe I am being unfairly charged, being made an example of for my very strong faith,” Welch told WOOD-TV. “Going into the doctor’s office these days is just about as dangerous as not going.”
Court documents obtained by the outlet showed that Child Protective Services got involved with the family in 2014 after THC was found in the body of Welch’s eldest child at birth. At the time, Welch claimed to distrust doctors, and alleged that medical examiners forged documents against him and the child.
Welch’s attorney of record did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon. Fusari’s lawyer Damien Nunzio told Law&Crime in a brief phone interview that he was “unhappy” with the jailhouse interview, but declined to comment further on it or his client’s case.
The couple is scheduled to appear in court August 20.
[Screengrab via WOOD TV]