Aunt and uncle worried over girl's frail condition


POSTED: Thursday, September 10, 2009

When Indigo Wright's aunt and uncle visited the 11-year-old girl in the Kinau Street apartment she shared with her mother in May 2006, they said Indigo looked thin and frail.

“;My initial thought was that she must be sick,”; Dennis Wright said. “;Sick like there's a reason why she's malnourished.”;

His wife, Illana Andaya Wright, said Indigo looked to be the same weight as her 11-month-old daughter.

“;She seemed tiny, like she needed to eat,”; she said.

The couple testified in Circuit Court yesterday in the attempted-murder trial of Indigo's parents, Melvin and Denise Wright. They said Indigo's mother told them her daughter is just tiny and doesn't like to eat.

When Dennis Wright later talked to his younger brother Melvin on the telephone, he said that Melvin told him the same thing.

;[Preview]  Uncle and aunt speak up in Wright trial

Melvin Wright's brother and sister in law talked about trying to help after seeing their malnourished niece.

Watch ]


During the visit, the couple said Indigo was eating potato chips and Pop Tarts from a bowl in her lap as she watched television. And she told her aunt she was 9 years old.

When they suggested Indigo needed to see a doctor, they said, Denise Wright told them she didn't have health insurance. They also learned Melvin wasn't living there.

Following the visit, the couple said they bought groceries for Denise and Indigo, bought their niece a new bed and provided Denise the application to get state-sponsored health insurance for Indigo.

But Illana said Denise didn't follow through and told her Melvin was going to help her with the paperwork.

In the months that followed, they said, Melvin and Denise stopped returning calls. They said Denise occasionally responded with text messages that said everything was okay and that Indigo was doing much better.

But Dennis and Illana had not seen Indigo since their May visit and they discussed calling authorities.

“;We struggled with it because if you call CPS (Child Protective Services) and nothing's wrong, then you look like a person who's trying to tear a family apart,”; Illana said.

“;We wanted to believe that everything was OK,”; she said. “;What if we were wrong and we did call CPS and everything was fine?”;

In the end, she said, they didn't call and hoped Indigo's parents would do the right thing.

Then in January 2007, they learned from a television report that Indigo was taken from the apartment near death.

Theresa McGregor was one of the city paramedics in the ambulance that answered the call. She said she found Indigo lying on a bed unresponsive.

She said Indigo's pulse rate was less than half of what is normal for a 12-year-old child, her blood sugar didn't even register and she was breathing intermittently. And she said Indigo was so thin she looked like an elderly patient dying of a terminal illness who can't or refuses to eat, only worse.

McGregor said she received short answers from the girl's parents. When she asked them how Indigo got in that condition, she said the response was, “;She just came like this.”;

When she asked them what they meant, she said, the parents said, “;She just won't eat.”;