Father Says 10-month-old Is 'Dead As a Door Nail' to 911 Dispatchers, Contacted Lawyer Before He Called for Help

A Michigan couple who allegedly allowed their baby to starve to death decided to call a lawyer before 911, a court has heard.

Seth Welch and Tatiana Fusari, both 27, have been charged with murdering their 10-month-old daughter, Mary. The couple said they found the baby unresponsive in her crib. An autopsy confirmed the girl died of "malnutrition associated with dehydration due to neglect of adult caregivers."

According to Fox News, Welch's lawyer argued that the child was living with a metabolic disorder that stopped her from absorbing nutrients. A forensic pathologist confirmed the girl had no such condition.

When Welch called 911, he was asked whether the baby was beyond saving. "Oh yeah," he said, according to a recording played in court. "She was dead as a doornail." Speaking to the dispatcher, Welch said he put Mary to bed at 3 p.m. and checked on her again at 10 a.m. As the recording was played, Welch was visibly upset. The dispatcher questioned whether it was normal for the child to sleep for 17 hours, which he responded yes.

"I called my lawyer… to ask what's the best thing I can do, and they said wait until they're here to call police. I was waiting on legal counsel. I guess I don't know if this is the right place to report this to… One of my children is dead." The dispatcher asked Welch how he was feeling, he responded by saying: "You know, just another day. It is what it is."

At the time of her death, Mary weighed just eight pounds. According to healthchildren.org, the typical eight-month-old baby weighs between 17.5 and 22 pounds.

According to M Live in Michigan, police said Welch and Fusari did not trust doctors. Judge Sara Smolenski said Welch showed no signs of urgency while on the phone to 911 and that the crime was "as horrific as it gets." "The skeletal-like posture of the child, in my opinion, speaks volumes for how long the baby was not cared for properly," Smolenski said.

The couple has two older children—a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old. According to Kent County sheriff's crime scene investigator Dawn TenBrink, the family home was dirty, had mouse feces in drawers and mold on the mattress of Mary's bed.