All of the cases I cover hit me hard, but some really suck the breath out of me. This is one of those cases.
A 37-year-old man in Indianapolis has been charged with murder after reportedly confessing to a family member and a friend that he killed his son. Police found a grisly crime scene in the man’s apartment, caught up to him two states away, and charged him with murder. The boy is still missing.
For several years, Nakota Kelly’s mother, Hayley, who has full custody of Nakota, has been trying to prevent his father, 37-year-old Anthony Dibiah, from having court-ordered visitation with their 10-year-old son. At one point, she refused to send him with his father, and the police arrived and forced her to allow Nakota to go.
Three years ago, Hayley was sitting in church when she received a “weird text,” which prompted her to try calling and texting Anthony. After nine hours of panic and uncertainty, Anthony finally returned her call to say everything was fine. They hadn’t been busy; he just hadn’t bothered to respond to her frantic messages.
In December of 2017, she posted on Facebook, “I hate it there is no one out there that will help kids anymore”
In June of 2018, she made a post that read, “…i am stressing about what happened when i picked my son up from his dad his dad spit in my face threatened to beet my ass because I told him not to hit my son ever again yeah some of u will say well report it to dcs they have not helped my son got overdosed by his dad they did nothing he got pulled down the staircase and left bruises on his hands they did nothing…”
A friend replied, “You CAN NOT let him teach Nakota that it is ok to treat a woman that way”
Hayley responded, “I know but i dont know how to get the visits to stop i told the judge i dont feel safe with him with him”
In August of 2018, Hayley posted, “Please keep me and my son in ur prayers as I might be going to court Tuesday if I can’t get a later court date for a later time i am tring to find a lawyer i can afford i am doing this cause Nakota needs the abuse to stop”
Later the same month, she posted again: “So mad why ask for visits with ur kid and hit them got to do something just dont know what”
In January of 2019, she posted an image that read: “I would give my last breath so my child could have another.”
My heart is utterly broken for her, because as of today, I’m sure Hayley is feeling that sentiment more powerfully than ever. Hayley is the kind of mom who makes her kids’ birthday cakes every year; who makes crafty valentines for them; who spends hours learning new ways to style their hair; and who pays attention to every detail. Her entire Facebook profile is filled with photos of her two children, and she is obviously bursting with pride to be their mom.
Last week, Nakota, who lived in Wabash, Indiana with his mom and his 13-year-old half-sister, made an alarming statement to Hayley. Nakota was afraid to spend the weekend with Anthony, knowing his father “would not have forgotten about Nakota hanging up the phone on his father because Nakota did not want to speak with him,” according to court documents.
Hayley told a caseworker with the Department of Child Services (DCS) that on July 14, after being informed that he would be spending the weekend at his father’s home in Indianapolis, Nakota replied, “Oh, I’m dead. Don’t expect me to come home.”
Nakota told his mother, “My dad is going to kill me.”
Let’s back up for a moment. There was a period of time, possibly a year or more, during which Hayley didn’t hear from Anthony at all. When he did get in touch with her, he demanded a DNA test to prove Nakota’s paternity.
A couple years later, he was granted visitation with his son. It seems that almost immediately, he began abusing Nakota, who hasn’t had the easiest life to begin with. On top of having problems breathing while he slept, necessitating surgery in 2014, Nakota was also diagnosed with several conditions, including severe ADHD; sensory processing disorder; pervasive developmental disorder; a mild learning disability related to autism; and a speech impediment. He was, at least at one point, on medication for his conditions.
We’ve seen it time and time again, and statistics bear it out: children with mood, behavior, or learning difficulties are at a higher risk of parental abuse than neurotypical children. Yes,these kids can be hard to deal with. Hayley reported that one of her challenges with Nakota was that at times, he had such a hard time getting to sleep that he would stay up the entire night. Of course that, among Nakota’s various other behaviors, could be frustrating.
But… Anthony didn’t have to deal with it. He chose to. He wanted visitation with his son.
Anyway, Nakota ended up spending the weekend with his father despite his apprehension about doing so. A lot of commenters online are spewing blame and vitriol in Hayley’s direction over this, saying she should have kept him home if he expressed such a concern. To them, I say (quite vehemently) SHUT THE FUCK UP.
- It’s easy to say that now, after this tragedy has already occurred, especially when you aren’t (and weren’t) in the situation.
- Hayley was court ordered to allow visitation. Remember, when she refused, the police forced her to comply. Refusing could have landed her in jail, and what good would she be to her children behind bars?
- Kids say things like “my parents are going to kill me” all the time, and it’s generally considered a euphemism for getting in trouble. It’s not likely anyone could have predicted it would actually happen.
On the evening of Saturday, July 18, Anthony’s cousin in Texas called 911 and said he had received a text message and then a call from Anthony Dibiah. Anthony and this cousin hadn’t spoken for nearly 20 years until they reconnected about a month ago. The witness told the dispatcher that Anthony, who was weeping, repeated over and over, “I just killed my son!”
Anthony asked for the cousin’s address, but the cousin refused to provide it. This apparently upset Anthony, and the cousin hung up.
According to court documents, when the witness asked Anthony why he had killed Nakota, Anthony replied that “his son’s mother had given him a very hard time and had cost him a lot of money in court.”
Just after 10:00 PM on Saturday evening, Indianapolis police went to the Ashton Pointe Apartments at 6007 West Lake South Drive to perform a welfare check. Anthony’s vehicle was parked in the parking lot. Officers knocked on the door of apartment E and heard someone inside, but they felt they did not have a reason to force entry, so they left.
On the morning of Sunday, July 19, police received another report, this one from a friend of Anthony’s. The friend said he had received a call from Anthony on the morning of Sunday, July 19, asking to borrow a suitcase, to which the friend agreed. Shortly after that call, the friend said, “Anthony said he used a bag to suffocate his son until he stopped breathing,” according to Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Detective Jonathan Schultz in a probable cause affidavit filed in Marion Superior Court. The document continued, “Anthony told [the friend] he then took his son to the bathroom to make sure he was dead and he has now dumped the body.”
When police arrived at the address again at around 11:45 AM, Anthony’s vehicle was no longer parked in the lot. This time, because of the second report, authorities were taking the situation seriously enough to deem it necessary to enter the apartment, which they did after obtaining a key from building management.
Inside, they found neither Anthony nor Nakota. What they found instead was a crime scene straight out of a gruesome horror film.
There was a small amount of blood in the apartment’s entrance. Worse, in the bathroom, police found blood splattered on the walls, floor, and ceiling and brain matter on the bathroom floor.
Based on the evidence inside the apartment, authorities do not believe Nakota is alive.
IMPD homicide detectives, child abuse detectives, the Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Services Agency, and the Marion County Coroner were summoned to the scene.
Investigators obtained surveillance video in which Anthony is seen making numerous trips from the apartment to his vehicle, placing items into the back of the vehicle with each trip. During one trip, he is seen placing a bag inside the complex’s communal dumpster. Between 2:27 AM and 8:30 AM on July 19, Anthony’s vehicle is seen leaving the parking lot and returning several times.
Also on July 19, Hayley contacted the DCS caseworker again after she received a text message from Anthony at 2:01 PM reading, “Sometimes I hear voices. My son is in heaven.”
(How much do you want to bet he’s trying to set up an insanity defense?)
After searching the apartment, investigators traced Anthony’s cell phone location and were able to ascertain that he was driving through Illinois toward the Missouri border.
The same afternoon at about 4:00 PM, Anthony Dibiah was located and detained when the Missouri State Highway Patrol spotted him traveling alone in his white Jeep Patriot near Highway 38. IMPD detectives traveled to Missouri to follow up on the investigation, but Anthony refused to give them a statement.
Anthony Dibiah was arrested and has been charged with murder in the presumed death of his 10-year-old son, Nakota Blake Kelly. He was transported to the Macon County Jail.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office said a conviction in this case would result in either life without parole or the death penalty.
Investigators are still searching for Nakota’s remains. They say Anthony’s phone pinged near Eagle Creek, around the 4500 block of West Vermont Avenue. Police have been searching in the area, spending several hours on Monday searching heavily wooded areas near Eagle Creek with the assistance of K9s while a police helicopter passed repeatedly overhead.
Anthony Dibiah, who also goes by the alias Miguel Nchama, filed for bankruptcy on January 2, 2020 in Indianapolis. According to the Indy Star, he listed about $31,000 in debts, including $3,000 listed as a domestic support obligation and $2,800 to a Warsaw, Indiana law firm. He listed $6,645 in assets at the time. He was dismissed from debt by a judge on March 31.
Interestingly, Anthony has an open case in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana for charges of aggravated identity theft filed in August of 2011. Charges were pending for fraud, misuse of visa/permits, misuse of Social Security number, and fraud with identification documents. According to the Indy Star, “He was accused of using a former friend’s name and identifying information while working at Sallie Mae in Muncie, where ‘he had access to people’s financial information.’” The disposition of the case is unknown, as it is listed as open despite the last action on the case taking place on September 21, 2011.
Court documents also show that Anthony was ordered by a judge in 2011 to be held in custody, stating, “Dibiah is not a citizen of the United States and could be the citizen of Nigeria.” The documents reveal that Anthony possessed identification documents in the names of three other people.
Community members gathered on Monday, July 20 at around 5:30 PM in the parking lot of the Bachelor Creek Church of Christ for a prayer vigil for the safe return of Nakota, who reportedly attended the church.
Today, the church made an updated Facebook post: “Please join us in prayer for Nakota’s family during this difficult time. Nakota will be missed by all who knew him. He loved playing baseball with his friends and had a smile that lit up the room. We long for the day when death will be no more.”
Nakota Blake Kelly was born on May 25, 2010 at 7 pounds, 10 ounces. Nakota was a happy, playful little boy with an utterly charming smile, gorgeous brown eyes, curly black hair, and glasses. He played baseball for the Wabash Little League, but he loved other sports, too, like bowling, football, and wrestling. He loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for most of his life. He and his older sister bickered like most siblings do, but they adored each other and enjoyed playing and spending time with each other. Nakota was, according to his mom, a mama’s boy; whenever Hayley was sick, he refused to leave her side. Of course, being a 10-year-old boy, he also loved video games.
During Monday night’s baseball game, Nakota’s team, the Pirates, saved a spot for him on the roster and on the field, and a moment of silence was held for him.
One friend from church reminisced about Nakota: “He had a smile you cannot forget. He was always dressed like a little gentleman. He was ornery and kept me on my toes. I loved his spunky, yet sometimes bashful personality. I’m heartbroken… I’m so thankful we know Who holds this precious boy now until he can be reunited with those who loved him dearly.”
Rest well, Nakota. Wherever you are, I hope you’re hitting every ball out of the park.
The IMPD is asking the community for assistance in this case; if anyone has information or has seen Anthony Dibiah since July 18, please contact Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-TIPS (8477).
Click here for my ongoing coverage of Nakota’s case.
Sources: The Indy Channel, WishTV Crime Watch 8, WTHR, Indy Star, Fox 59