‘Mom’ accused of burning daughter in ‘worst child death case in 27 years’ was burned herself as a child: Court

A Michigan woman accused of killing her 4-year-old daughter apparently was abused in the same manner as a child, according to court records obtained by the Detroit Free Press on Friday.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, 4-year-old Gabrielle “Gabby” Barrett, was abused horrifically, and allegedly at the hands of her mother, Candace Diaz, 24, and her mother’s boyfriend, Brad Fields, 28. The latest instance of alleged abuse, which happened on New Year’s Day, proved fatal for the young girl.

According to court documents, Diaz claimed that she allowed Gabby to run her own bath water on Dec. 31, which ended up causing severe burns. Diaz never took Gabby in for medical treatment, and the little girl, according to her mother, took another bath the next day. Diaz claimed when she checked in on Gabby, she was submerged under the bath water. Diaz said as soon as she pulled Gabby out, the little girl starting vomiting.

Candice Diaz and Brad Fields
Candice Diaz and Brad Fields [Photo: Police Handout]
“The mother claimed she ran Gabrielle’s bath and placed Gabrielle into the tub after she filled the tub halfway,” the petition read, according to the Free Press. “The mother then claimed she left Gabrielle alone in the tub and went to the kitchen to make pancakes…..The mother said she called Brad to the bathroom for help. According to the mother, Gabrielle continued to vomit, and Fields attempted to provide CPR.”

Diaz reportedly waited 36 minutes after the incident to contact police. After arrival, authorities rushed her to Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. In addition to severe burns to Gabby’s body, authorities found “evidence of multiple traumatic injuries and signs of Battered Child Syndrome (multiple injuries, multiple sites, multiple stages).”

Court records obtained on Friday under the Freedom of Information Act states that as a child, Diaz was subjected to a house fire injury when her mother left her in the care of her alcoholic grandmother, who apparently didn’t properly watch her. Diaz was burned from “head to toe” and had to undergo multiple surgeries after the fire. The incident left her with recurring nightmares,

Later, a relative adopted Diaz, and according to a cousin, Julie Speer, the relative provided Diaz with a stable and loving home environment. Yet, the fire incident reportedly left Diaz not only damaged physically, but emotionally and mentally. Speer acknowledged that the fire affected Diaz, but she also pointed out that there was no excuse for the death of Gabby.

“That fire damaged her physically and mentally,” Speer told the Detroit Free Press. “We’ve all been through sh**. It’s no excuse.”

Gabrielle Renea Barrett 07/03/2013 – 01/01/2018#justiceforgabbyThank you to everyone that has donated to the GoFundMe page. The Barrett family has made enough money to lay little Gabby down to rest..For friends that would like to see Gabrielle, a viewing is being held Saturday 13th at 2-9pm. For Gabrielle’s Funeral arrangements, it will be Sunday the 14th service is at 3pm. Please share to get the news out to family and friends. Anyone is welcome to come to show support for the Barrett and Diaz family.**** UHT Funeral Home 35400 Glenwood Rd. Westland, MI, 48186. Phone number (734)-721-8555 ****

Posted by Shalin Marie on Sunday, January 7, 2018

Court records state that Diaz’s biological parents were both in jail when the adoptions proceedings took place. The father initially filed an objection but later withdrew it. Her mother served a year behind for second-degree criminal abuse, involving her “4-year-old daughter being burned” in 1998.

Court documents involving Diaz’s own daughter indicate that Gabby was burned so badly that her “big toe fell off” and parts of her skin were found in the drain. Additional injuries found on Gabby suggested that this wasn’t the first time she’d been hurt, according to The Statesman.

Police reported finding guns and drugs in the home. The home was also reportedly filled with animal feces and urine.

Both Diaz and Fields are facing charges of felony murder, second-degree murder, torture, and first-degree child abuse.

The following video is police body cam footage, taken when authorities arrested Diaz and Fields near Macon, Ga., after they spent a little over a week on the run.

FURTHER Reading: Couple accused of burning, torturing 4-year-old girl to death captured in Georgia after a week on the run

[Feature Photo: Gabby Barrett/Handout]