Dad of 4-year-old tortured to death: She didn't have to go this way

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Producer note: Some details are graphic and disturbing.

New details in the death of a 4-year-old who died after being discovered unresponsive in a Sumpter Township home.

The state has petitioned to take the child's half-sister away from her mother shedding new light on how Gabrielle Barrett was treated.

"She was amazing, full of joy," said Kyle Barrett, Gabby's dad. "She didn't have to go this way."

Her father Kyle and other members of Gabby's family are dealing with the tragic situation. Gabby died New Year's Day with severe burns all over her body, on her legs from the knee down, on the back of her elbows and bruising all over her body.

The new information comes from the state's petition to take custody of Gabby's half-sister from her mom Candice Diaz and her mom's boyfriend Brad Fields.

They were the ones who were watching Gabby at the Sumpter Township home when she was discovered in the bathroom in cardiac arrest.

"It should never happen," said Jerry Barrett, Gabby's grandfather. “Nobody should ever mistreat their kid, especially their child at any age like that at all.

"They are actually sitting behind bars where they belong. If you didn't do this to your child like you say you didn't, then why did you run."

Dash cam video shows Fields and Diaz, the parents of Gabby's 1-year-old half-sister being arrested in Georgia near the Florida state line Tuesday in connection with Gabby's death.

According to court documents her mom claims Gabby ran herself a bath and that's how she got the burns the day before her death. But Diaz says she never got her daughter medical help.

The next day Diaz says Gabby wanted to take another bath. She left Gabby in the tub, went to make pancakes, came back and found the child under water.

Mom allegedly took Gabby out, the girl vomited and she and Fields reportedly performed CPR. EMS got there and took Gabby to the hospital but it was too late.

Gabby's grandma says she would have taken her granddaughter in.

"I have six of my own," Deborah Barrett said. "I would have loved to have had to raise Gabby and have her here today with us, until dad got on his feet to get her."


Charges are likely in a case where investigators found burned skin in the bathtub and said Gabby was burned so badly her toe was falling off.

The Washtenaw County medical examiner said it was the worst child death case he has seen in 27 years.

"People have to realize if it gets to that point, reach out," said Angel Kolusk, a relative. "(To a) family member, police, somebody. A child doesn't have to go through this."

The solace the family has now is their faith that Gabby is with her great grandma Bernice and her grandpa "Scrappy Jim" who have passed on.

Here on earth they hold each other tight and even strangers have reached out with support.

The family has finalized Gabby's funeral arrangements at the UHT Funeral Home, 35400 Glenwood Road in Westland. Visitation will be at 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. The funeral is set for 3 p.m. Sunday.