Arizona man charged with killing boy, 6, during attempted exorcism

An Arizona man who claimed that a demon had possessed his 6-year-old son has been charged with killing the boy during an attempted exorcism, ABC News reports

Pablo Martinez, 31, who lives on the Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation near Tucson, Ariz., was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder, police said in a statement last Thursday

His arrest stems from an incident that occurred on Sept. 26, when police responded to a call about a burned child. Officers found the 6-year-old dead at the scene, along with his adopted mother, Romelia Martinez, who provided an account of the alleged crime.

The woman told authorities that Pablo Martinez had offered to give their son a bath that evening. She later realized something was wrong when the second child — who remains unidentified — ran out of the room in tears.

She also heard gurgling sounds coming from the bathroom and entered it to find Martinez holding the child under the tub's faucet. He later told investigators he was pouring hot water down the boy's throat in order to dispel the demons. 

Martinez reportedly told the boy's mother that he "had to do it," despite her begging several times for him to stop. The child had been held underwater for between five to 10 minutes by the time he died.

Romelia Martinez first tried to call a pastor for help, but she failed to get a response and then called 911. When police arrived and asked what happened, she reportedly pointed officers to Martinez and said, "He can tell you."

Police pressed Martinez for answers, but he initially told them they wouldn't understand what happened, as they weren't of the proper mindset or belief. He later reportedly put his hands in the air and said something to the effect of "I did it."

The 31-year-old also said that the boy "was demonic, had a demon inside him and he needed to save him."

Firefighters rushed the child to the nearby Banner University Medical Center, where he was officially pronounced dead. He had burns on around 15 percent of his body, according to police. 

A joint investigation between the police and tribal officials is currently ongoing. AZ Central reported that the deceased boy and his mother are both officially part of the Pascua Yaqui tribe. Martinez is not a member.  

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