Mother's boyfriend bound over for trial on charges of torturing, killing 4-year-old Michigan girl

Mother, her boyfriend both face charges in girl's death

WAYNE, Mich. – Brad Fields was in court Friday where a judge determined there was enough evidence to send his case to circuit court. 

He is charged with felony murder, second-degree murder, torture and first-degree child abuse in connection to 4-year-old Gabrielle Barrett's death on Jan. 1, 2018. 

Gabby Barrett
Gabby Barrett

Police found the little girl with burns and bruises all over her body at a trailer in Sumpter Township. Officers responded to the home about 10:43 a.m. that morning at the Rawsonville Woods Mobile Home community on Greenmeadow Drive. They found the girl unresponsive with "obvious" severe burns to her extremities. Family members were administering CPR. 

The girl was rushed to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor where she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. 

Police said the home where the girl was found with serious scald wounds was full of animal waste and contained guns and drugs.

Mother, boyfriend run to Georgia

Fields was Gabby's mother's boyfriend. Her mother, Candice Diaz, also faces the sames charges. She and Fields both are accused of abusing Gabby in the trailer and then running after she died.

Police caught up to the duo eight days later in Georgia. They were arrested without incident. 

Candice Diaz and Brad Fields (WDIV)
Candice Diaz and Brad Fields (WDIV)

Only Fields will be in court Friday. The last time he was in court a judge tried getting a better understanding of his mental state after Fields' attorney said there were mental issues. 

He was found competent to stand trial this past month, allowing the next phase of the case to proceed. 

More background on the case

Police records show that the incident isn't the first time there was trouble at the home.

On May 20, 2016, officers stormed the house after receiving a report of a barricaded gunman after a domestic assault.

Diaz told police that Fields had beaten her, shot her dog and shot himself in a suicidal outburst. Police said Fields then fled the home and was later arrested on domestic violence charges.

Police said Diaz claimed she owned weapons that had been confiscated, including one from which the serial number had been filed off. She pleaded guilty to weapons charges and received probation.

Graphic details revealed at boyfriend's hearing

Cynthia Diaz was called to the stand to discuss the death of her granddaughter.

She told the court Gabrielle had been living with her prior to September of 2017 when she was starting school.

She told the court that Gabrielle’s hair was falling out and she had lice at Thanksgiving. She also said Gabrielle had several teeth that needed treatment.

The grandmother said she never saw any signs of abuse, but did say there were several times she was asked not to visit Gabrielle without explanation.

Cynthia Diaz
Cynthia Diaz

Officer George Salajan, III was one of the first responders to the scene and was called to the stand to discuss what Fields told investigators.

Salajan said Fields took several phone calls after the incident and said Gabrielle had thrown up and passed out in the bathtub.

He told the court Gabrielle’s skin was discolored and there appeared to be bruises on the side of her face. Salajan also said her feet and buttocks were scalded. 

Officer George Salajan III
Officer George Salajan III

The prosecutor entered the medical examiner’s report into evidence. The cause of death was listed as multiple traumatic injuries. It also listed medical, dental and physical neglect. 

Miranda Irwin, a forensic scientist with Michigan State Police, took the stand and discussed what evidence was gathered at the scene.

She described the girl’s room and said her bed was leaning against a wall and a nanny cam was sitting on a dresser.

Irwin told the court about the samples collected from the home, including first aid items and a pair of surgical gloves buried in a trash can.

Miranda Irwin
Miranda Irwin

Heather Vitta, another forensic scientist with MSP, was called to testify about the results from the evidence gathered at the scene.

She told the court that samples from the pair of gloves at the scene was a match for Gabrielle. 

Heather Vitta
Heather Vitta

Kerry Shelton, a school principal, took the stand and told the court about Gabrielle time in preschool.

Shelton said Gabrielle was started the school year late was absent multiple times throughout the year.

Kerry Shelton
Kerry Shelton

Sgt. Elizabeth Egerer, of the Sumpter Township Police Department, was called to testify about the messages sent back and forth between Fields and Candice Diaz.

She read several of the messages aloud. 

BRAD FIELDS: “I can’t believe she pissed her pants again.”

CANDICE DIAZ: “She’s getting it from me when I get home. Smack her a**.”

Some of the messages described how the couple would allegedly use cold showers as a form of punishment. The messages included other forms of punishment such as taking away her pants.

CANDICE DIAZ: "Then beat her a**."

BRAD FIELDS: "My nails already got her back good."

Several videos from the messenger app were entered into evidence.

Sgt. Elizabeth Egerer
Sgt. Elizabeth Egerer

A Det. John Toth took the stand and continued discussing the messages.

Some of the messages included descriptions of Gabrielle’s injuries. 

Part of the testimony was about the relationship between Fields and Diaz.

Det. John Toth
Det. John Toth

Conspiracy to commit first-degree child abuse and conspiracy to commit second-degree child abuse charges were added at the hearing.

Fields was bound over on all charges including the additional charges.

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