A 10-year-old boy from Indiana, Nakota Kelly, was murdered by his father during a weekend visit. Before the visit, he warned his mother, “My dad is going to kill me.” The father, 37-year-old Anthony Dibiah, allegedly has a history of neglect and abuse, and was previously investigated by child services. Now, Nakota’s family claims that the system failed to protect the boy from his father’s abuse.
Early in the week of July 12, Nakota’s mother, Hayley Kelly let him know that he would be spending the following weekend with his father. The news reportedly prompted a fearful reaction from the boy.
“Oh, I’m dead. Don’t expect me to come home,” he said to his mother, IndyStar reports. “My dad is going to kill me.” Nakota was worried about a recent incident where he had hung up the phone on Dibiah, according to a police affidavit.
While Nakota only mentioned the phone call, his foster parents Debbie and Phil Bogue allege a history of abuse by Dibiah, including starvation and neglect.
“The court system always just didn’t have enough information,” Phil Bogue said. “There’s not enough. We have to drop the case.”
Nakota’s mother called DCS about the comments on July 14, but it is unclear what, if any, action was taken by the department.
“Unfortunately, Indiana confidentiality laws prohibit us from commenting on DCS involvement with a family,” a spokesperson told IndyStar.
An Unheeded Warning
Despite Nakota’s dire warning, Dibiah picked him up as planned on Friday, July 17. The next day, police received a 911 call from a distant relative of the man. The caller said Dibiah had contacted him and confessed to murdering his son.
In response to the call, police arrived at Dibiah’s apartment and heard someone inside, but received no answer. According to police records, they “determined they did not have reason to force entry and they left the building.”
The next day, July 19, a second 911 call came in regarding Dibiah, this time from an acquaintance of his. According to the caller, Dibiah had contacted him and asked to borrow a suitcase before once again confessing to his son’s murder.
The same day, Dibiah sent a text message to Kelly: “Sometimes I hear voices. My son is in heaven.”
Police went to his apartment once again, where a search uncovered evidence of a violent struggle, including blood and brain matter.
Authorities finally caught up to Dibiah Sunday evening as he drove through Indiana toward Missouri. Two days later, police officially charged him with Kelly’s murder.
“The system failed Nakota,” Phil Bogue said, referencing the many prior DCS complaints Kelly filed against Dibiah. “The system failed Nakota and it cost him his life.”
While child welfare rules reportedly bar DCS from providing too many details on specific investigations, they released a statement on Tuesday, July 21 addressing the matter.
“The hardest thing the Indiana Department of Child Services is called to do in its service to Hoosier families is investigate the death of a child,” the statement read. “We grieve the loss of every child and will work with our state and local partners, including court and law enforcement, throughout the investigation regarding Nakota Kelly to ensure we are all doing our part to keep Indiana’s children safe.”
‘My Dad is Going to Kill Me’ — Sources
IndyStar – “Did mother’s report about son’s safety go unheeded? DCS, citing confidentiality, won’t say”
IndyStar – “‘My dad is going to kill me.’ Mother reported boy’s words to DCS days before his death”
People – “Citing Complaints, Grandparents Say ‘System Failed’ Boy Who Allegedly Predicted Dad Would Kill Him”
People – “Missing Boy Believed Dead After Allegedly Telling Mother ‘Dad is Going to Kill Me’ Ahead of Visit”