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Crime News Family Crimes

Man Who Drove 5-Year-Old Niece To Hospital Now Charged With Her Murder Four Years Later

David Prevatte awaits extradition back to North Carolina following his Louisiana arrest for the 2017 rape and murder of Paitin Fields. 

By Jax Miller
Man Charged In 5-Year-Old Niece's Rape And Murder

Authorities have arrested a man in Louisiana after North Carolina investigators alleged he is the prime suspect in the 2017 rape and murder of his 5-year-old niece.

Paitin Fields was unresponsive when taken to the hospital on Nov. 13, 2017, according to the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana. NBC affiliate WECT reported the child was “limp and without vital signs,” and her condition “rapidly declined” for the next three days until the child finally succumbed to her injuries.

A postmortem examination revealed the child was sexually traumatized and strangled to death.

On Friday, the Pender County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina announced they’d secured an arrest warrant for Fields’ uncle, David Wesley Prevatte, 23, on charges of first-degree murder, first-degree statutory rape, and statutory sex offense with a child by an adult. Later that day, Pender County Sheriff Alan Cutler stated Prevatte was arrested in  Bayou Blue, Louisiana.

David Wesley Prevatte Pd

Authorities did not elaborate on what events precipitated their issuance of an arrest warrant.

“This has been an ongoing investigation, and I am extremely pleased and proud of the effort that has been put into this investigation by my personnel,” said Cutler. “I would also like to express my thanks to Sheriff Craig Webre and his staff in Lafourche Parish for assisting our investigators with taking Prevatte into custody.”

Fields’ aunt, Marie Fields Spaulding, shared an emotional post on her Facebook page, crediting authorities for not letting the case grow cold.

“To everyone that knows our story and what happened to Paitin, we got answers today, and someone was charged in her death,” Spaulding captioned with the last photo she had with her niece. “Yes, it’s taken four years and two months and a couple of days, but we’re a step closer to getting justice for her.”

Paitin Fields Pd

The Pender County Sheriff’s Office named Prevatte as the only suspect back in 2018.

Five months after Fields’ murder, Prevatte was arrested after breaking into a neighbor’s home and stealing a laptop, which he later traded in at a local pawn shop. Authorities also accused him of setting his girlfriend’s camper trailer on fire.

He was charged with breaking and/or entering, larceny after breaking and entering, and burning a building under construction. While in custody for the 2018 charges, the then-19-year-old suspect allegedly threatened the lead investigator in the Fields case.

According to the arrest warrant obtained by WECT, Prevatte allegedly phoned his mother from  the county jail, stating, “when I get out, (the investigator’s) got it coming to him, and I will probably go back to jail.” Prevatte added that “(the investigator) is coming to an end.”

In a 2018 jailhouse interview, Prevatte told WECT he “was mad at the time” when he threatened investigators.

Prevatte then denied any involvement in his niece’s death.

“The reason that (the investigator) said I’m a suspect is because, simply just that I was 19 years old so that automatically made me a suspect for it,” said Prevatte. Prevatte told reporters he tried administering life-saving CPR measures to save the child and that he and his father drove Fields to the hospital on Nov. 13, 2017.

“She was, I mean, think about it,” Prevatte continued. “I come in from the house, right, and I’m about to go to bed. She’s laying there wide awake… I go to bed, and the next morning I wake up to just like … it was just … it was a mess, you know?”

Prevatte served approximately 10 months in prison for his 2018 crimes and was released in January 2020, according to the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office.

“I offer my sincere gratitude to Sheriff Cutler for the tenacity and professionalism of his team that led to the arrest in this case,” said Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre. “We are more than happy to assist in what will hopefully bring closure to a case and bring the perpetrator of a heinous crime to justice.”

Prevatte was booked into the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex, awaiting extradition back to North Carolina

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