Jorge Busso

Jorge Busso

A 23-year-old Mesa man accused of beating his girlfriend's 4-year-old son with a belt and causing massive head trauma after the boy soiled his pants now is facing a charge of first-degree murder.

Jorge Busso, who initially was arrested on suspicion of one count of child abuse and one count of false reporting to police on Friday in connection with the boy's injuries after hospital workers at Banner Baywood Medical Center discovered massive head trauma and bruising to the boy's body.

However, the child was pronounced dead 10:39 p.m. Sunday at Phoenix Children's Hospital where he had been taken for emergency surgery, according to Mesa police.

On Friday, police had responded to Banner Baywood Medical Center for a report of an injured child. When the boy's mother returned home from work, she found her son lying in bed, unresponsive, police said.

The woman took him to the hospital for treatment after several hours had lapsed.

The mother of the boy left for work that morning and had left both her 6-year-old son and the 4-year-old at home with Busso.

Busso took the 6-year-old to school and returned home to take care of the 4-year-old.

He later was arrested at his parents home in the 200 block of South 89th Street.

Busso told police that he was home with the child later on Friday when he smelled a foul odor and realized the boy had soiled himself.

Busso said he then pushed the boy into a corner and began spanking him with a belt across his arms, back, face and buttocks and when he wouldn't stand still, he pushed him back into the corner where the boy hit his head on the wall, causing the injury, according to police.

The boy suffered a fractured skull, bleeding to his brain and deep tissue bruising.

During surgery, part of his skull had to be removed to relieve pressure on his brain, the police report stated.

The mother initially was uncooperative with police and told officers at the hospital that she had left the boy at home with a babysitter and he had fallen off the bed, said Detective Steve Berry, a Mesa police spokesman.

The 6-year-old boy did not show any signs of abuse, but has been taken out of the home and now is in the care of Child Protective Services, Berry said.

Busso, who has a criminal history, is an illegal immigrant from Mexico, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcment. He has lived in the United States for a long period of time, Berry said.

ICE has placed a detainer on him, meaning that he would be deported after serving his sentence, pending a conviction for the crime.

Busso was arrested in 2009 on suspicion of one count of marijuana possession and one count of possessing drug paraphernalia, according to Maricopa County Superior Court records. He also was detained by Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deputies in 2008 for a probation violation, and voluntarily agreed to return to Mexico, according to information from ICE.

Mesa has had fatal child abuse cases in the past, but Berry said all cases are different.

"They're all bad, especially in this case when you have an adult who's supposed to be caring for the child," Berry said. "It's unfortunate. Anything is better than harming a child. If you think you're in a situation where you're going to harm a child, call a relative, call a friend, call police. Find resources to get away from the situation."

Berry said that severe child abuse cases happen from time to time, and such crimes really aren't tied to a holiday or specific time of year.

Half of Chandler's six homicides last year were from severe child abuse, with the ages of the victims ranging from 3 weeks old to 3 years old.

Overall, Child Protective Services received more than 33,000 reports of child neglect or abuse last year, which ranks Arizona 31st in the number of reported cases, according to CPS.

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