An American couple was charged with the murder of their baby daughter, who died of starvation.
An American couple was charged with the murder of their baby daughter, who died of starvation. Creative Commons

A married Christian couple have been charged with first-degree child abuse and felony murder of their 10-month-old daughter after it was found that they let her die of starvation. Seth Welch and Tatiana Fusari were charged on Monday for the death of Mary Anne Welch.

An autopsy of the baby determined that she died of malnutrition and dehydration, which, according to Kent County Sheriff’s detectives, the Michigan couple were aware of at least one month before the death. Welch called emergency number 911 to report that Mary Anne was found dead in her crib on Aug. 2.

“Tatiana 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 (via Wood TV).

The responding officer noted in his police report that Mary Anne was so skinny that her cheeks and eyes were “sunken into her head.” The medical examiner ruled the death as homicide.

The couple, both 27, ran Blackacre Farm Products from their home, selling homegrown produce and honey. They raise two more young children together.

On a Facebook page that has not been officially attributed to Welch, the man on video, believed to be him, talked about his distrust of doctors, whom he called “priesthoods of the medical cult.” He also rambled against vaccines, saying his religion decides on who would live.

“The righteous shall live by faith. It’s God who is sovereign over disease and those sorts of things and, of course, ultimately deaths.”

He also said he did not get his other children vaccinated even though someone called child protection services on him because he did not believe they should help people survive.

“It didn’t seem smart that you would be saving people who weren’t the fittest,” he said in a video. “If evolution believes in survival of the fittest, why are we vaccinating everybody? Shouldn’t we just let the weak die off and let the strong survive?”

Judge Sara J Smolenski arraigned Welch and Fusari together on Monday, but she said that the remainder of their cases would be handled separately. She also denied Fusari’s request for a personal release bond so she could continue to work. The couple could face life in prison without parole if convicted. They will be back in court on Aug. 20.