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A Sierra Vista man was arrested Monday, suspected of abusing 3-month-old twin boys, after Tucson doctors discovered the babies had multiple broken bones and skull fractures, a sheriff’s official said.

Steven-Michael Rothbauer, 21, was booked into the Cochise County jail and faces four counts of aggravated assault and two counts each of endangerment and child abuse.

The mother of the children took one of her sons to a Sierra Vista pediatrician Monday because “he had been violently ill over the weekend,” Carol Capas, spokeswoman for the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, said in a news release.

“The pediatrician believed the child could have swallowed an unknown object causing the medical issues, and he completed a chest X-ray,” Capas said.

When the X-ray showed the baby had several broken ribs, he sent the woman and infant to University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson for treatment. Doctors at the hospital took additional X-rays and found the baby had “several skull fractures in various stages of healing, broken ribs, and a broken arm,” Capas said.

Doctors also learned the mother had left the injured infant’s twin brother with a family friend in Tucson. When she brought in the second baby, doctors discovered he too had a skull fracture.

Hospital staffers called the Cochise sheriff’s office, and investigators learned the mother had left her children in the care of her boyfriend, Rothbauer, on occasion, most recently Saturday when she went shopping, Capas said.

Detectives interviewed Rothbauer Monday night and arrested him.

Kimberly Matas


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