Odessa couple accused in 8-year-old’s death

A West Odessa couple has been arrested on suspicion of capital murder in the death of an 8-year-old boy, who authorities say was strangled to death.

According to an Ector County Sheriff’s Office report, dispatchers received a call on Nov. 5 about an unresponsive child from the 2000 block of North Huntington Avenue and when deputies arrived, they found firefighters performing life-saving measures on Arturo Francisco Coca.

Arturo was taken to Medical Center Hospital, but life-saving measures performed there were unsuccessful.

Investigators and hospital staff noticed Arturo appeared malnourished and small for his age, according to the report. They also saw he had lacerations on his head, legs and back.

Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis told the Odessa American the 8-year-old boy weighed 35 pounds.

The boy’s mother, Megan Lange, 29, told her Arturo had woken up after defecating and urinating on himself so she carried him to the bathroom, bathed him and took him into the living room, the report stated. She called 911, she said, because she was talking to him when his head fell back and she realized he wasn’t breathing.

Investigators learned through six other children in the home that Arturo’s stepfather, Rodolfo Reyes, 33, was also home when the boy died, the report stated.

Reyes acknowledged he was home the day Arturo died, but denied hurting him, the report stated. He later requested legal counsel and didn’t provide any other information.

Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis said Lange and Reyes attributed the boy’s death to diabetes, but a forensic pathologist ruled the cause of Arturo’s death was “asphyxiation by manual strangulation with underlying causes of neglect.” He found the boy to be malnourished and he saw hemorrhaging in his neck.

Warrants were issued for Lange and Reyes Thursday. They were arrested Monday on suspicion of capital murder of a child under the age of 10 and injury to a child. No bail has yet been set.

According to his obituary, Arturo loved playing football with his brothers, iPad games and Call of Duty and Fortnite. His funeral was Nov. 15.

Ector County Independent School District Spokesman Mike Adkins issued a press release on Tuesday that detailed although Arturo Francisco Coca’s obituary stated he was a third grader at Burnet Elementary, he hasn’t attended an ECISD school since the 2020-2021 school year.