Disturbing new details about torture, death of 4-year-old Michigan girl

Georgia police release video after arrest of mother, boyfriend

SUMPTER TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Horrifying new details were released Wednesday in the death of a 4-year-old Sumpter Township girl.

Her mother, Candice Diaz, and Diaz's boyfriend, Brad Fields, were arrested Tuesday in Georgia after going on the run. Both are charged in Gabrielle Barrett's death.

Police have released details about their other daughter and body camera footage of the arrests.

The other child, Gabrielle's half-sister, is Fields' daughter. She's just 1 year old and was removed from the home a week ago. In the petition, the state detailed disturbing abuse to Gabrielle.

Following Gabrielle's death, Child Protective Services moved quickly to remove the 1-year-old from the home, in Sumpter Township. Police suspect Diaz and Fields of torturing and killing Gabrielle.

The petition filed in Wayne County Family Court said Sumpter Township police found Gabrielle with burns and bruises all over her body. The bruises were in varying stages of healing, officials said.

The petition also states 11 examples of physical abuse. State police investigated the crime scene and found a large amount of melted skin in the bathtub drain.

A detective told CPS that Gabrielle was burned so badly that her large toe fell off her body.

The Washtenaw County medical examiner said it was the worst child abuse case he'd seen in his 27 years.

"I'm glad they were caught," Gabrielle's father, Kyle Barrett, said. "They deserve everything they should get. They deserve torture, hard times, worse than they did to my daughter."

Video released by the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office shows Diaz and Fields being taken into custody. U.S. marshals alerted police in Georgia when they got a hit on a cellphone.

The sheriff said the couple's car changed direction a couple of times on the freeway before pulling over just 2 miles from the Florida border. Police believe they were fleeing to Florida.

The 1-year-old child was removed from their home Dec. 3 and is currently in state custody. Officials believe Fields is her putative father, meaning he's believed to be the biological father but has no legal records to prove it.

4-year-old girl's family wants justice

"It's just hard for her being gone," Barrett said. "She in the right place, where God needs her. But it's hard."

Barrett was surrounded by family Tuesday as they grieved the murder and torture of his daughter.

"It's not supposed to be this way," Barrett said. "I don't understand what caused it. I don't understand any of it. But do I believe Candice did it? No. Do I believe she has part of it because of Brad? Yes. I believe Candice was forced."

Gabrielle's paternal grandparents said they didn't get to see her often.

"This should have never happened to my granddaughter," Jerry Barrett said.

Whenever the grandparents wanted to visit, Diaz always had excuses, Jerry Barrett said.

"Every time we tried to get her, 'She's sick. You can't have her,'" Jerry Barrett said.

"We didn't see any signs," grandmother Deborah Barrett said. "She was always happy. It would take her a while to warm up to us because she didn't see us often."

They said they wish they could have saved their granddaughter. The family wants to see justice and said it might be a good thing the couple were captured in Georgia.

"If they want to fight and stay in Georgia and they get the death penalty, I'm all for it," Jerry Barrett said.

About the Authors:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.