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5-year-old South Chicago girl’s death ruled homicide

An autopsy Friday found a 5-year-old girl who died Thursday afternoon in the South Chicago neighborhood was beaten to death.

Verna Tobicoe was found unresponsive at her home in the 8300 block of South Brandon about 12:15 p.m., police News Affairs Officer Stacey Cooper said.

She was pronounced dead at South Shore Hospital at 1:04 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy Friday determined she died from internal injuries from multiple blunt force impacts, and her death was ruled a homicide.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is investigating Verna’s father and stepmother for allegations of abuse and neglect, spokeswoman Veronica Resa said.

The department has had prior contact with the family when a 2014 report indicated the girl’s biological mother for neglect, Resa said.

Area South detectives are also questioning family members in connection with the death, Cooper said.