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Man charged in murder of Arizona child, abuse cases identified

A man charged in a child homicide 10 weeks ago on the Fort Mojave Indian reservation in western Arizona was identified after his arraignment Friday in federal court in Phoenix.

Matthew Lee Smith, 30, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and an assortment of assault and child abuse charges.

Smith is charged with the murder of 2-year-old Mirabella Gonzalez and the abuse of a 5-year-old girl between July 8 and July 11. Tribal police and federal authorities haven’t provided details about the case.

Smith was charged separately by the Mohave County attorney’s office in a child abuse case involving a 4-year-old boy. Deputy county attorney Greg McPhillips said he has dismissed that case because federal authorities will prosecute the matter along with the other case.

Smith is in federal custody awaiting a Nov. 6 trial.

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