INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis man went to court and pleaded guilty but mentally ill after murdering his 10-year-old son.
During a change of plea hearing, 40-year-old Anthony Dibiah answered a series of yes or no questions and admitted in court to killing his own son.
As part of the plea agreement, the accused killer could be sentenced to between 45 and 55 years. The deal comes as a relief to the victim’s mother.
“I feel like it’s come to an end, which I’m glad,” Hayley Kelly said.
Kelly has waited for justice for her son, 10-year-old Nakota Kelly, for more than 3 years. During that time, the murder trial had been rescheduled more than a dozen times.
“It just felt like it was going to keep going on and on and on,” Kelly said.
According to IMPD, officers were dispatched on July 19, 2020, around 11:45 a.m. for a welfare check of a child at the 6000 Block of West Lake South Drive. A caller told police that he had received a call from Anthony Dibiah in which Dibiah said he’d killed his son and disposed of the boy’s body.
According to court documents, Dibiah called at least two people and told them he’d killed his son.
“I just killed my son,” Dibiah said, according to a relative who told police that Dibiah repeated the phrase multiple times. Dibiah was crying during the call.
A probable cause affidavit stated investigators found what appeared to be “blood spatter, blood smears and brain matter” in the apartment’s bathroom. They also found a small amount of blood in the apartment’s entrance.
According to court records, just days before the murder, Nakota predicted he would be killed by his father during a court-ordered weekend visit because he said his dad was angry with him.
When Hayley told the boy he was going to see his father, the boy said, “Oh, I’m dead. Don’t expect me to come home.” The boy added Dibiah was angry with him because the boy hung up during a phone call.
Dibiah was eventually located in Missouri and then charged with murder on July 20, 2020. He reportedly declined to provide a statement during an interview with detectives.
By pleading guilty but mentally ill, Dibiah will be sent to prison just like any other guilty plea. The only difference is the judge could recommend he receive some mental health treatment, but he won’t be forgiven for his crime.
“He took my son away, and there’s no forgiveness on that,” said Kelly. “He’ll get 55 years in prison maybe, but it’ll never bring my son back.”
Despite extensive search efforts along Eagle Creek and elsewhere in the summer of 2020, Nakota’s body was never recovered.
“It’s been hard, and he still hasn’t said where the body is,” Kelly said. “I’m still hoping that he talks.”
That’s why Hayley has one question in mind when she sees the suspect in court at his sentencing.
“I do plan to ask him where my son is so he can give us at least that because I want to put my son to rest,” said Kelly.
Formal sentencing is set to take place in late October.
A civil lawsuit filed by the boy’s mother against the Indiana Department of Child Services is still pending.
The lawsuit claims the department shares responsibility for the death by ignoring red flags in the case.
Previous reports detailed how a detective had spoken with a Department of Child Services worker managing the 10-year-old’s case. The worker described a “concerning comment” the son reportedly made to the mom on July 14, 2020.