#UNSOLVED: Aunt speaks out 2 years after Paitin Fields’ murder

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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Saturday marks two years since the murder of a 5 year-old in Pender County without any arrests.

According to an autopsy, Paitin Fields was sexually assaulted and strangled in November 2017.

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Now, some of the family is speaking out for the very first time exclusively with WWAY.

“She always had a smile on her face,” Marie Spaulding said every time I seen her she was smiling and would come running up to me and say ‘Hey, Aunt Re Re!'”

Marie Spaulding said her niece, Paitin Fields, was a very happy child with a bright future. Fields’ dad is Spaulding’s brother.

“She could have been the next president,” Spaulding said. “She could have been miss USA.”

Now, they will never know because in November 2017, at just 5-years-old, Fields was sexually assaulted and killed.

“I’m like who could have does this? Why? Why would they do that to her while my other niece is on the couch with her?”

Spaulding says Paitin and her sister were living with their grandmother and step-grandfather Dale and Lisa Hunt on Blackwater Dr. In Watha.

“I hadn’t seen her in two years. They wouldn’t ever let me see her.”

Spaulding would never get to see Paitin again. On Nov. 13, 2017, Detective John Leatherwood with the Pender County Sheriff’s Office said Dale Hunt and Paitin’s Uncle, David Prevatte drove Paitin to the hospital.

911 CALL: “I have a 5-year-old that was brought in. Strongly appears to be strangulation marks on her neck.”

“They didn’t call the ambulance or anything,” Spaulding said. “If something like that was going on, someone should have called the ambulance to come. They could have done a lot more for her.”

Three days later, Paitin died at the hospital.

“Her sister is left with no sister. I’m left with no niece. My brother is left with no daughter,” Spaulding said.

Six months later, the autopsy was released revealing Paitin died because she was strangled, but no one was charged.

Spaulding has been working closely with Det. Leatherwood, but Paitin’s mother’s side of the family has not.

“He says no one is really cooperating.”

Leatherwood told us the grandparents refuse to accept the autopsy and claim Paitin was just sick.

“The autopsy speaks for itself,” Spaulding said. “They kept saying she died from meningitis. If she died from meningitis, her organs never would have been donated to somebody that needed them.”

Pender County Sheriff Alan Cutler said they need someone to come forward, so they can make an arrest.

“If there is any family member or anyone in the public who has any information about this case or could shed any light on this investigation to please contact our office,” Cutler said.

Spaulding did not want to say who she thinks was involved, but she did say this.

“The person or persons that done it was at her funeral. And that person or persons touched her for the last time taking her casket to the grave and that person was there just no care in the world,” Spaulding said.

In June of 2018, the Pender County Sheriff’s Office named the uncle, David Prevatte, as a suspect in the murder after they charged him with intimidating a witness and communicating threats. Detectives say, while in jail on another charge, Prevatte called his mother, Lisa Hunt and threatened the life of the lead investigator in Paitin’s death.

“It’s kind of weird, because why would you threaten the lead detective on the case?” Spaulding said.

Spaulding said she does not know Prevatte very well.

“I’ve only met him once or twice,” Spaulding said.

“Do you know what his relationship was like with Paitin?”

“I know both my nieces love him to death. They loved him,” Spaulding said.

Hannah: “Do you think he is capable of hurting Paitin?”

“I’m not for sure,” Spaulding said.

Spaulding now has full custody of Paitin’s 9-year-old sister, Savannah.

“She had nightmares at first,” Spaulding said. “She was up through the night. But she’s good now. She’s a good child. She just misses her sister.”

While nothing will bring Paitin back to them, she said it is time for some answers.

“I want someone to be charge, because it’s not right,” Spaulding said. “It’ll be closure. I want to ask the person why they done it. She was a 5-year-old child.”

We reached out to Lisa and Dale Hunt multiple times and left voicemails asking for comment. We have not heard back.

Det. Leatherwood says Prevatte is expected to be released from the Polk Correctional institute on Jan. 29 2020.

If you have any information, please contact the Pender County Sheriff’s Office.

This story will air Friday on WWAY News at 6 p.m. and on Good Morning Carolina Monday at 6:30 a.m.