WWAY Investigates: The latest we know on the Paitin Fields case

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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) –  It’s been nearly three months since a little girl in Pender county died. Many of you have asked for updates, still there are few answers about what exactly happened to five-year-old Paitin Fields. WWAY’s Andrew James has been searching for those answers.

After we showed viewers promotions of this story with Andrew’s sit down with Sheriff Carson Smith, he heard from Paitin’s family for the first time since November. They told him there is still so much confusion on where things are with this case.

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We know one thing is for sure, progress is being made.

On November 13th, a 911 call from Pender Memorial Hospital.

“I have a five-year- old that was brought in.”



The nurse describing Paitin’s injuries.

“What strongly appears to be strangulation marks on her neck.”

On November 29th Paitin’s biological father and relatives spoke to us about the investigation into her death.

“We just need some type of answers, some type of closure,” said Paitin’s older cousin Cassady.

Her father told us problems with both him and the child’s mother led a judge to put Paitin in the Pender County home. The Pender County Sheriff’s Office says Paitin was living with her maternal grandmother and sister here at this home on Black Water Drive in Willard. We went to the address, but family members told us the grandmother moved after her death. The family also told us days after laying Paitin to rest here at Lumberton cemetery, they were not getting any answers about her death.

A few days ago we sat down with Pender County Sheriff Carson Smith.

“It’s a five-year old that we need to find justice for and we’re going to do all we can to do that.”

Investigators say they believe Paitin was raped and strangled, but after more than 82 days still no arrests.

“It remains a very active case. It hit all of us hard here too as it did the community.”

The week after Andrew spoke to the family, public information on this case was becoming scarce. We requested the search warrant on the home. Hours after our request, a judge sealed it.

The state medical examiner’s office gave me the contact for the person who performed Paitin’s autopsy. His calls never got a response. We were only told North Carolina law gives them up to 6 months to complete an autopsy and after three.

The Sheriffs office says it still has not received a completed autopsy report. So we tried one last place for answers.

“There was one case in Pender County where they said, ‘put a rush on it’,” said North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein.

Attorney General Stein says one day after Paitin died, the Sheriff’s office requested a rush on the rape kit. We pressed the Sheriff’s office several times for updates on the kit as well as the autopsy. No updates., other than they were waiting on the results.

“We turned around two tests within two months,” said Stein.

We uncovered in our investigation that the two tests on Fields’ rape are complete.
one completed on December 7th. The other done January 12th.

“There are just some things that we can’t show as things go,” said Smith.

The Sheriff made it clear the office does not want to make every detail public they believe would jeopardize the case.

“It’s not something that we are saying ‘nothing’s happening’. It is something that we are actively working on,” said the Sheriff. “Before we charge anybody for anything we’ve got to make sure we are done.”

“Rape kit results? If you have those yet or not?”

“It’s an investigation that is ongoing, and I just don’t want to let anything out right now to let anybody know where we are,” said Sheriff Smith. “We want to resolve this.”

Stein’s office informed us the Sheriff received the kit January 24th. The office confirmed the State Bureau of Investigation sent them back partial evidence.

After talking to a spokesman for the office, they tell us they are still waiting on more evidence that could come out of the autopsy. They tells us they have not received the autopsy as of yet.

If you know anything that could help their work in this case, please contact the Pender County Sheriff’s Office.

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