ROMULUS (WWJ) – A Wayne County couple accused of murder and torture in the death of a 4-year-old girl are being held without bond in the case.
Candice Diaz, 24, and Brad Fields, 28, appeared via video in 34th District Court Saturday morning, where both were charged with felony murder, second-degree murder, torture, and first-degree child abuse in connection with the January 1 death of 4-year-old Gabrielle Barrett, Diaz’s daughter.
A not guilty plea was entered for both.
Although attorneys requested cash bonds, citing the defendants’ mental health, Diaz and Fields were remanded to jail without bond. Both are due back in court for a probable cause conference on January 31 and a preliminary exam on February 7.
The Washtenaw County Medical Examiner called it the “worst child death case” he’d seen in 27 years of practice. Barrett’s death was ruled a homicide, after an autopsy found evidence of “multiple traumatic injuries,” including burns to various parts of her body. The ME said the girl suffered battered-child syndrome — meaning she suffered multiple injuries, at multiple sites, at multiple ages.
Police found Barrett unresponsive and in cardiac arrest in the bathroom at the family’s Sumpter Township mobile home on New Year’s Day. Diaz told investigators that the girl’s injuries were accidental, and that she bad been burned by bath water she’d run herself, and that she may have slipped underwater in the tub while Diaz was in another room.
Barrett was taken by EMS to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Police had previously been called to the home about a domestic assault back in 2016, according to reports. Diaz told authorities that Fields had attacked her, but she later declined to press charges. Both Diaz and Fields suffer from “severe mental illnesses for which they admit they are not treating,” a court document also noted.
The same document states that police discovered cocaine in the house, where officers reported the family was living in unsanitary conditions.
Barrett’s 1-year-old sibling remains in the custody of Child Protective Services.