Tucson man faces murder charge in stepson's death

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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- A Tucson-area man has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the beating death of his 6-year-old stepson.

Pima County deputies responded Aug. 3 to the San Xavier District south of Tucson after receiving a report that a child had fallen down a flight of stairs, authorities said Thursday.

The sheriff's department said that further investigation revealed the boy's bruises and head injuries were inconsistent with a fall, and that 23-year-old Koffi Dogbevi, the boy's stepfather, was arrested on child-abuse charges on Tuesday.

The charges were elevated to first-degree murder Wednesday after 6-year-old Michael Ibarra, who had been in the hospital since the fall, was taken off life support at University Medical Center and died.

Child Protective Services spokesman Steve Meissner told the Arizona Daily Star that Dogbevi had been investigated by the agency on child abuse allegations as far back as December.

Court records show that an agency investigator had proposed a "sustained allegation of child abuse" against Dogbevi after finding he hit Michael in the face and injured his eye. No charges were filed in connection with that incident.

Meissner said CPS is conducting a joint investigation with local authorities.

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