Uncle of Paitin Fields named as a suspect in the toddler's death

Uncle of Paitin Fields named as a suspect in the toddler's death
David Wesley Prevatte
Autopsy results show five-year-old Paitin Fields died from strangulation and was also a victim of sexual abuse. No charges have been filed in her death. (Source: WECT)
Autopsy results show five-year-old Paitin Fields died from strangulation and was also a victim of sexual abuse. No charges have been filed in her death. (Source: WECT)

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The uncle of 5-year-old Paitin Fields of Burgaw has been named a suspect in the toddler's death, according to the Pender County Sheriff's Office.

David Wesley Prevatte, 19, was charged on Thursday with intimidating a witness and communicating threats.

Sheriff's office officials said Prevatte made a phone call from the county jail to his mother, Lisa Hunt, on April 28 threatening the life of the lead investigator of the Fields case.

According to the arrest warrant, Prevatte allegedly stated "when I get out, (the investigator's) got it coming to him and I will probably go back to jail" and "(the investigator) is coming to an end."

While Prevatte has been named as a suspect, he has not been officially charged with Fields' death.

Prevatte has been in the Pender County Jail since April 9 on unrelated charges of breaking and/or entering, larceny after breaking and entering, and burning a building under construction.

An autopsy report released by the North Carolina Medical Examiner's Office determined Fields was strangled to death and was also a victim of sexual abuse.

According to the final autopsy report, Fields had no vital signs when she was carried into the Pender Memorial Hospital emergency department on the morning of Nov. 13, 2017.

The report cites medical records of the family saying the girl had a "several day history of an evolving upper respiratory infection." It goes on to mention other "reports" saying Fields had been well the day before being found unresponsive and seizing by her uncle.

The medical examiner's report says the emergency room staff "noticed what appeared to be ligature marks on her neck, consistent with strangulation."

Fields was transferred to New Hanover Regional Medical Center for further evaluation and treatment. The ME's report says an exam at NHRMC showed evidence of sexual assault.

Over the next day, the report says Fields "lost her remaining cranial nerve reflexes and was progressing towards brain death." On Nov. 15, tests showed "no electrical activity in the brain."

The autopsy report signed May 25, 2018, by Dr. Karen Kelly says in its summary: "Given the autopsy and toxicological findings, it is my opinion that Paitin Fields' cause of death was due...to ligature strangulation." It also lists a comment saying: "The presence of acute hemorrhage...indicate sexual trauma".

Prevatte is in the Pender County Jail under a $115,000 bond.

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