Couple to face judge in child torture, death
A Sumpter Township couple is set to appear before a judge Saturday to face murder, torture and abuse charges in the death of a four-year-old girl.
Candice Renea Diaz, 24, and Brad Edward Fields, 28, are set to be arraigned in 34th District Court in Romulus on charges of felony murder, second-degree murder, torture and first-degree child abuse in the Jan. 1 death of Diaz’s daughter, Gabrielle Barrett, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office said.
The pair has been locked up in a Georgia county jail awaiting extradition after they were arrested in Lake Park, Georgia, on Jan. 9.
Gabrielle was found severely burned New Year’s Day at a residence on Greenmeadow Drive in the Rawsonville Woods mobile home community near Willow Road.
The girl was rushed to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Ann Arbor and pronounced dead.
The Washtenaw County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a homicide, citing evidence of multiple traumatic injuries and battered child syndrome, investigators said.
Separately, state officials have moved to sever the couple’s parental rights to Diaz’s other daughter. A hearing on the petition is scheduled for Jan. 25 in Wayne County Circuit Court.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services filed the request with the court to terminate their custodianship of Gabrielle’s one-year-old half-sister, according to court documents.
In its filing, the state agency provided horrific details on Gabrielle’s death. The child was found unresponsive and in cardiac arrest in the home’s bathroom.
She had bruises all over her body and severe “burns on her legs from the knee down, on her buttocks, posterior to both elbows,” the state documents say.
Diaz told state officials Gabrielle burned herself when running herself a bath, according to the documents.
She also claimed she put Gabrielle in a half-filled bathtub and left her there to make pancakes in the kitchen. When she returned, she found the little girl submerged in the water up to her nose, officials said.
Diaz said she pulled Gabrielle out of the tub, the girl vomited and her boyfriend attempted to provide CPR, the petition said.
The Washtenaw County Medical Examiner told police that Gabrielle’s death “was the worst child death case” he had seen in 27 years of practice, according to the documents.
State officials also said in the petition that both Diaz and Fields claim to have mental health issues.
Staff writer Charles E. Ramirez contributed.