A North Carolina man accused of the rape and murder of his 5-year-old niece over four years ago is in custody, authorities in Louisiana said.
On Feb. 4, deputies in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, arrested David Wesley Prevatte, 23, in Bayou Blue in connection to the death of Paitlin Fields. He was expected to be extradited from Louisiana to Pender County, North Carolina, to face prosecution.
On the morning of Nov. 13, 2017, Prevatte, the brother of the victim’s mother, Lora Flowers, claimed he found his niece seizing and unresponsive at her family’s home in Pender County, North Carolina, WHIO-TV reported.
The little girl was rushed to an area hospital, where evidence — later confirmed by an autopsy — showed she was the victim of sexual abuse and had what appeared to be ligature marks on her neck, indicating she had been strangled.
The child was transferred to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, where she “lost her remaining cranial nerve reflexes and was progressing towards brain death,” and, on Nov. 15, 2017, she had “no electrical activity in the brain,” according to a medical examiner’s report obtained by WECT.
Fields died the following day.
Authorities named Prevatte a suspect in the case in June 2018 after he was charged with intimidating a witness and communicating threats while jailed for an unrelated incident.
According to a warrant, on April 28, 2018, Prevatte was in the Pender County jail and on a call with his mother when he threatened the lead investigator on his niece’s murder case.
“When I get out, Leatherwood [the lead investigator] got it coming to him and I will probably go back to jail,” he allegedly said, according to WWAY.
The station reported Prevatte also said the investigator “is coming to an end” and he had “been in here plotting. I hope they know that. That’s all I been doing.”
Prevatte has denied he had anything to do with his niece's death.
“I was there and, like, everything that happened, you know, happened, and I did CPR and all that on her, you know,” he told WECT in July 2018, claiming, “I’m the one that took her to the hospital, me and my dad did. And I sat there all the time, you know.”
Prevatte has been charged with the first-degree murder of his niece as well as first-degree statutory rape, and statutory sex offense with a child by an adult, the Pender County Sheriff’s Office said. He is being held without bond.