If you have access to the internet or television in the last few days, you’ve probably heard about this story. A young mother and her boyfriend are wanted by the police for the alleged abuse and murder of the woman’s 4-year-old daughter. The story is heartbreaking, but so far we only have one side of the story. We’ll have to wait until 24-year-old Candice Renea Diaz and her boyfriend, 28-year old Brad Edward Fields are found before we know what went on behind the scenes. Until then, this is what we know…
It started with a 911 call…
The story began on new year’s day, at about 10:45 am. Sumpter Township police officers responded to a 911 call from a home in the Woods Mobile Home Community. A little girl was unresponsive. The family needed immediate help. Officers and first responders arrived to discover a family member administering CPR to little Gabby, Diaz’s 4-year-old daughter.
EMT’s and officers noted severe burns on the child’s extremities, and took her to Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor. Shortly after her arrival, 4-year-old Gabby was pronounced dead. A mere two days later, on January 3rd, the Wayne County Medical examiner ruled her death a homicide.
But it was more than murder! There were signs of abuse as well
The burns were severe, but they were apparently not the only contributing factors to Gabby’s death. According to the Wayne County Medical Examiner, the little girl showed symptoms of Battered Child Syndrome (BCS). Gabby had allegedly suffered many severe injuries.
The term “Battered Child Syndrome” entered medicine in 1962. According to the Encyclopedia of Children’s Health, it refers to “non-accidental injuries sustained by a child as a result of physical abuse, usually inflicted by an adult caregiver.”
A warrant was issued for Diaz and Fields
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office issued a warrant for the couple’s arrest. But they were nowhere to be found! The FBI is now involved, and the manhunt continues. Police say that the couple is believed to be driving a black 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier, with the Michigan plate – DTR1854.
According to a press release put out by the Sumpter Township Police Department, the charges against them include:
- Felony Murder,
- Second Degree Murder,
- First Degree Child Abuse, and
The couple was finally located in Georgia
Fields and Diaz were stopped and arrested just outside Lake Park, in Georgia. They will be extradited to Michigan, where they will face charges for the abuse and murder of little Gabby Barrette. At this point, the couple is being investigated by CPS as well as facing criminal charges for Gabby’s death.
We would like to remind our readers that while the current information certainly points to some criminal behavior on the part of Ms. Diaz and Mr. Fields, we are always in favor of reserving judgement until a defendant has had his or her day in court. Regardless of your position, it’s important that we allow the justice system to determine what happened to the child.