Nakota Kelly, the ten-year-old Wabash, Indiana boy who authorities believe was murdered during a weekend visit with his father not quite two weeks ago, was the focus of a case with the Indiana Department of Child Services when he died on July 18, 2020.
On July 14, Nakota told his mom that his father, Anthony Dibiah, was going to kill him, believing his father was furious after the boy hung up on him. Nakota’s mom, Hayley Kelly, reported the comments to DCS, but she had no choice but to allow her ten-year-old son to go with his father on their scheduled weekend visit. It is unclear if DCS followed up on the report.
Hayley has been trying for years to end Anthony Dibiah’s unsupervised overnight visits with the former couple’s son.
DCS has said that “confidentiality laws prohibit us from commenting” on its involvement with the Kelly/Dibiah situation.
As you may recall, Indianapolis police were summoned to Anthony Dibiah’s apartment for a welfare check on the evening of Saturday, July 18 after a relative called 911 to report Anthony had called him to say he had just killed his son by suffocating him with a plastic bag before taking him into the bathroom “to make sure he was dead.”
Police knocked, heard someone inside the apartment, but saw no reason to force entry and left.
A second call, this one from a friend of Anthony’s on Sunday morning, again sent police to Anthony’s apartment. This time, they entered with a key provided by building management and found a gory crime scene inside the apartment, including some blood in the entryway and a great deal of blood in the bathroom, as well as brain matter. The findings at the scene led police to believe Nakota was no longer alive.
To date, Nakota’s body has not been located.
Anthony Dibiah was long gone by that time. On Sunday, he sent Hayley a text message reading, “Sometimes I hear voices. My son is in Heaven.”
Anthony was arrested in Missouri later the same day. He has been ordered to be extradited back to Indiana before August 3. He has been charged with murder in Indiana.
Debbie and Phil Bogue, who became Hayley’s foster parents when she was 11, consider Nakota their grandson, confirmed the open DCS investigation to the Indy Star, saying that Hayley had complained multiple times to DCS and the court about Anthony’s abuse of Nakota.
“The court system always just didn’t have enough information,” Phil Bogue lamented. “‘There’s not enough. We have to drop the case.’’
They listed examples of Anthony’s abuse, including his failure to feed Nakota properly, ignoring his son during their scheduled visits, and worse. They said Hayley repeatedly voiced her concerns, providing evidence to back up her claims, to the court, begging for the unsupervised visits to stop, but no one listened to her.
Hayley and Anthony broke up while Hayley was pregnant with Nakota, and the Bogues said he essentially wanted nothing to do with his son until after he finished a 34 month prison sentence in 2015. He pleaded guilty in 2012 to charges of Social Security fraud, identity theft, and misuse of immigration documents to stay in the U.S.
Nakota called Debbie Bogue his Mamaw. “I just look at Nakota’s picture and see this big, trusting smile,” she said. “And I just think of all the people that have let him down.”
Phil said, “The system failed Nakota. That’s the bottom line. The system failed Nakota, and it cost him his life.”
Debbie considers one of the last photos of Nakota, which was taken less than a week before his death at the Howard County Fair, a snapshot in time. “He was just a shining little smile that’s now gone.”
The Bogues reminisced to the Indy Star about Nakota, saying he loved baseball most of all but also enjoyed the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Marvel superheroes, and eating at McDonald’s.
“The little trooper,” she called him, remembering how Nakota would always give it his all on the football field. “He’s a little bitty, skinny thing, but man, he had speed and he had drive.”
Debbie said she gave Nakota $30 in spending money for his tenth birthday in early July. On their way to the store, he reached over the backseat to hug her, saying, “You’re the best mamaw ever.”
At the store, he eventually picked out some Ninja Turtles and Marvel action figures, bringing them with him when they went out to eat after their shopping excursion. Debbie said, “He was so appreciative of just the littlest things.”
A vigil was held for Nakota on July 26 outside the Wabash County Courthouse, where several people gave speeches and attendees lit candles in memory of the spirited ten-year-old. Donations were accepted at the vigil, totaling over $400, which, along with the proceeds of a GoFundMe set up to benefit Nakota’s mother, Hayley, will ultimately go toward laying Nakota to rest.
Sources: The Indy Star, Facebook