Wayne County

Mom of burned, dead girl was burned as a child

Gabrielle Renea Barrett
Gabrielle Renea Barrett
Family photo via Facebook
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A mother charged in the death of her 4-year-old daughter who was found severely burned New Year's Day in Sumpter Township was also burned as a child, according to court records.

Candice Diaz, 24, was arrested with her boyfriend Brad Fields, 28, by the U.S. Marshals Service in Lake Park, Georgia Monday. The couple faces charges that include murder, second-degree murder, first-degree child abuse and torture of Diaz's daughter Gabrielle Barrett. 

As a child, Diaz was "seriously burned" in a house fire when she was left alone with an alcoholic grandmother, according to Wayne County Third Circuit Court record filed in 2004.

Her mother, Roina Diaz, and the grandmother were later incarcerated in Hopkin County Jail, in Kentucky because of injuries that occurred to Candice Diaz, according to court records obtained by The Detroit News.

"The guardian (Cynthia) testified that (Roina) provided no support and had almost no contact with the child in two years... (and) admitted in her testimony, given from her place incarceration, that she had made a few phone calls to the child but had eventually stopped doing so, and she acknowledged she had paid nothing for support of the child," according to the documents.

"However, (Cynthia) testified, and the mother acknowledged, that the mother and a grandmother had been jailed because of injuries that occurred when the mother left the child, Candice, with the grandmother who was an alcoholic, and there was a house fire." 

Candice Renea Diaz, left, and Brad Edward Fields
Candice Renea Diaz, left, and Brad Edward Fields
Sumpter Township Police Department

It's unclear when or where the house fire occurred but guardian Cynthia Diaz filed for custody of Candice Diaz in June 2000, when she was 7-years-old. 

Her father, Timothy Mullins, initially sought to contest the petition for custody but later withdrew his objections and did not financially support his child for two years after the petition, according to court records 

Gabrielle had been found early Jan. 1 at a Sumpter Township residence on Greenmeadow Drive in the Rawsonville Woods mobile home community near Willow Road. She was pronounced dead at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Ann Arbor. The Washtenaw County Medical Examiner’s Office later said there was evidence of multiple traumatic injuries and battered child syndrome. 

GoFundMe page is still active and accepting donations to the father's side of the family, started by Gabrielle's uncle Jerry Barrett. The GoFundMe account has raised nearly $6,000 in four days. A Facebook group called Justice for Gabby has been started and as 129 members.

Family members did not immediately respond to requests for interviews on Saturday but Barrett posted on Facebook Wednesday that they were able to raise enough to have a successful funeral. 

srahal@detroitnews.com

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