- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2020

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - The father of a 10-month-old girl who died of dehydration and malnutrition was convicted of murder Monday in western Michigan.

Jurors in Kent County saw startling photos of Mary Welch, who weighed just 8 pounds, a newborn’s weight, when she died in 2018.

Seth Welch faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Welch and his wife didn’t seek help because of their religious beliefs, defense attorney Charles Clapp told the jury.

“Ineptitude and mistaken religious beliefs do not equal child abuse,” he said.

But prosecutors argued that Welch, who has three other children, believed Mary would be too weak to help on his farm near Cedar Springs.

“This is torture,” assistant prosecutor Kim Richardson said.

Welch called 911 about 90 minutes after he found his daughter dead in her crib. The dispatcher asked how he was doing.

“You know, just another day. It is what it is,” according to a recording of the call.

Welch’s wife, Tatiana Fusari, also faces child abuse and murder charges.

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