DETROIT (WWJ) – A Wayne County couple charged with murder and torture in the death of a 4-year-old girl are in Georgia, awaiting extradition back to Michigan.
Sumpter Township police said Wednesday that 24-year-old Candice Diaz, the victim’s mother, and her boyfriend, 28-year-old Brad Fields, remain in custody in the county were they were found on Tuesday.
Police Chief Eric Luke said the extradition process has begun, but at this time there is no timetable for completion of the process. A public defender has been assigned to the case.
The Washtenaw County Medical Examiner called the death of Gabrielle “Gabby” Barrett the “worst child death case” in 27 years of practice. That’s according to the Detroit Free Press, which cited a court document obtained by the newspaper that seeks to terminate the allege killers’ parental rights to the child’s younger half-sister.
The Medical Examiner ruled Barrett’s death a homicide, after an autopsy found evidence of “multiple traumatic injuries,” including burns to various parts of her body. The ME said the girl had 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.
Following Barrett’s death, Diaz and Fields fled the state, headed south. They were captured by U.S. Marshals while driving near Lake Park, Georgia on Tuesday. Both are facing murder, torture and child abuse charges when they return to Michigan.
Barrett’s 1-year-old sibling remains in the custody of Child Protective Services.