BAYOU BLUE, La. (TCD) -- A 23-year-old North Carolina man who had been wanted by police for four years was arrested for allegedly raping and killing his 5-year-old niece in 2017.
In a statement, the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office said David Wesley Prevatte was taken into custody Friday, Feb. 4, after the office obtained an arrest warrant for charges of first-degree murder, first-degree statutory rape, and statutory sex offenses with child by adult. Prevatte pleaded guilty in Pender County, North Carolina, in 2019 on unrelated charges of intimidating a witness, burning a building, larceny, and breaking and entering. He was released from prison in January 2020.
According to the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, the victim, Paitin Fields, was taken to the hospital on Nov. 13, 2017, in North Carolina. She died three days later. Her autopsy reportedly indicated signs of sexual trauma and strangulation. According to WCET-TV, the medical examiner noted that staff in the emergency room at Pender Memorial Hospital "noticed what appeared to be ligature marks on her neck, consistent with strangulation" when she was brought in. Additionally, the autopsy noted Fields had a "presence of acute hemorrhage," which would "indicate sexual trauma."
WCET reports the Pender County Sheriff’s Office named Prevatte as a suspect in Fields' death in 2018. Prevatte allegedly made threats on the phone to his mother about the lead investigator in the case, saying the investigator has "got it coming to him" and that the investigator "is coming to an end."
The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office says Prevatte was booked into the Parish jail but will be extradited back to North Carolina. The Pender County Sheriff said, "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. 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.”