Sumpter Twp. woman bound over on murder, abuse charges
The mother of a 4-year-old Sumpter Township girl was ordered Tuesday to stand trial in connection with the child's torture death on New Year's Day.
Candice Diaz was bound over for trial in Wayne County Circuit Court following a preliminary examination Tuesday in Romulus District Court.
Diaz and her boyfriend, Brad Fields, were charged in the death of Diaz's daughter Gabrielle Barrett. Diaz is scheduled for an arraignment on information in her child's death Sept. 11, the same day Fields has a pre-trial hearing in Wayne County Circuit Court.
The child also had been scalded, according to testimony in the case.
Diaz was bound over on felony murder, second degree murder, first-degree child abuse, torture and conspiracy to commit first- and second-degree child abuse.
Disturbing details have emerged in the case following testimony from investigators who have testified that the child was beaten and forced to sleep on a plastic garbage bag in a freezing mobile home in Sumpter Township in the last months of her life.
Testimony also centered on a series of Facebook Messenger communications allegedly between Fields and Diaz, where the two allegedly discussed how to punish Gabby for wetting herself. Both Fields and Diaz are in their mid-20s.
Some of the alleged abuse against the child detailed in the messages included cold baths, being hit in the mouth and sleeping on the cold floor of the mobile home wearing nothing but underwear.
In one of the messages, Fields allegedly told Diaz that he had “smacked (the child) in the face twice” for urinating on herself.
Gabby died on Jan. 1. Police were called to the girl’s home and found her unresponsive on the bathroom floor in the Rawsonville Woods mobile home park. Her mother told police that she found Gabby submerged in the bathtub after she left the child there to make pancakes.
A police officer testified Friday that he didn’t find much water in the tub but he did find body tissue in the drain.
Investigators say the girl was scalded and had traumatic injuries.
The death has been ruled a homicide by the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Gabby went from behaving as a typical child to an abused girl when she went to live with her mother and Fields, prosecutors said.
The girl was rushed to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Ann Arbor and pronounced dead.
Gabrielle had bruises all over her body and severe "burns on her legs from the knee down, on her buttocks, posterior to both elbows," according to autopsy results and testimony during the preliminary examination for Fields in May.
The girl was so badly scalded, one of her big toes fell off her body, state officials said. Michigan State Police investigators found a "a large amount of melted skin in the bathtub drain," according to testimony in the case.
Diaz and Fields were arrested in Georgia after being on the run for more than a week.
After her arrest, Diaz told state officials her daughter had burned herself after running a bath on New Year's Eve. She also claimed she put Gabrielle in a half-filled bathtub and left her there to make pancakes in the kitchen.
When she returned to the bathroom, she claimed she found the little girl submerged in the water up to her nose, officials said. Diaz said she pulled Gabrielle out of the tub, and that her boyfriend attempted to perform CPR, according to a state petition to revoke Diaz's parental rights.
The Washtenaw County Medical Examiner who performed the autopsy told police that Gabrielle's death "was the worst child death case" he had seen in 27 years of practice, according to state documents.
Diaz told state officials she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. Fields said he has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, social anxiety, agoraphobia and post-traumatic stress disorder.