Two residents of Sumpter Township, Michigan, are facing charges of felony murder, second-degree murder, first-degree child abuse, and torture involving the death of a four-year-old girl. Candice Renea Diaz, 24, and Brad Edward Fields, 28, were arrested near Lake Park, Georgia, on January 11th following a multi-state manhunt. Diaz and her boyfriend were suspects in the death of Diaz’s daughter, Gabrielle Renae “Gabby” Barrett.
On January 1st, Sumpter Township Police responded to a 911 call involving an unresponsive child at the Rawsonville Woods Mobile Home. When officers arrived, family members were administering CPR to the infant victim, who displayed severe burns on their limbs. The girl was taken to Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but was pronounced dead shortly after arriving. The Washtenaw County Medical Examiner declared the death a homicide after discovering traumatic injuries and pathologies of abuse over a prolonged time period.
Responding to an email by the press, Sumpter Township Police said they had visited Diaz and Fields’ home before while responding to a domestic dispute in May 2016, but no children were home during the dispute. In the same statement, Sumpter Township Police Gabrielle was residing in her maternal grandmother’s custody at the time of her death, and only moved to Diaz’s residence the previous summer to attend a local school.
A GoFundMe page set up by Gabrielle’s paternal grandparents to pay for her funeral expenses. Jerry Barret, Gabrielle’s grandfather, responded to criticism that he failed to intervene in the girl’s abuse, wrote through the GoFundMe page that “If you have been watching close you would see that they have lied to us and would not give her to us to see only on few occasions.” Her paternal grandmother, Deborah Oulette Barrett, was deeply thankful for the flood of donations to the GoFundMe: ““In no way shape or form is this easy,” she wrote, “I wish it was a dream. Now hope we get justice and can put Gabrielle to rest as she was when she was with us beautiful full of smiles when we had her.”
A memorial service for Gabrielle is planned for Sunday, Saturday 13th in Westland, Michigan. The case against Diaz and Fields has been given to the Wayne County, Michigan Prosecutor’s Office. Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for the Wayne County Prosecutor, said there will be no extradition hearing for the couple, and they are expected to arrive back in Michigan in about three weeks.