Man drowned his 6-year-old son while trying to cast out a ‘demon’, police say

Pablo Martinez says he saw something evil in his boy so held him under a tap for five to 10 minutes

The incident occured on the Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation (pictured) near Tuscon, Arizona
The incident occured on the Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation (pictured) near Tuscon, Arizona

An American man faces a federal murder charge for allegedly holding his six-year-old son’s face under hot water for several minutes to cast out a “demon”.

Pablo Martinez told police that in the past week his son was possessed by a demon.

While he was bathing his son and his other child on Thursday at the Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation near Tucson, Arizona, Mr Martinez told investigators he saw something evil in his son and had to get rid of the demon.

The boy became unnaturally angry, Mr Martinez told investigators, so he allegedly held his son’s head under the bathtub tap for five to 10 minutes so the hot water would run into his mouth.

The water was casting out the demon, Mr Martinez told investigators.

Michael Areinoff, a public defender representing Mr Martinez, declined to comment on the allegations.

Belief in demonic possession is not a fringe idea. Slightly more than half of Americans polled in a YouGov survey in 2013 said they believed in it, and 46 per cent reported they believed exorcisms could drive out demons. Demand for Catholic exorcisms has been growing in recent years, The Atlantic reported.

The 6-year-old boy, his adoptive mother Romelia Martinez, and his biological mother are members of the Pascua Yaqui tribe, according to a criminal complaint. Mr Martinez, who is believed to be in his 30s, is not a member.

Representatives for the Pascua Yaqui tribe could not immediately be reached for comment.

While Mr Martinez held his son’s face under the tap, his other child left the bathroom crying, according to the complaint.

Ms Martinez heard gurgling coming from the bathroom, unlocked the door and saw Mr Martinez holding the boy down under the faucet, the complaint says.

Ms Martinez screamed at him to stop several times, she told investigators, but Mr Martinez told her that “he had to do it.”

She allegedly tried to call a pastor, but he did not answer the phone, so she called 911.

Mr Martinez then attempted CPR on the boy and poured cold water on him, the complaint says.

Police arrived at the home to find the Martinezes standing outside. When officers asked what had happened, Ms Martinez allegedly said something along the lines of, “He can tell you,” referring to Mr Martinez, who told police they would not understand what had happened because they were not of the right mind-set or belief, the complaint says.

As police kept questioning him, Mr Martinez allegedly turned his back to them, raised his hands in the air and said something to the effect of “I did it.”

He allegedly told police there was a demon inside his son and he “needed to save him.” Ms Martinez also told police the boy had been acting demonic, the complaint says.

Police found the boy, who was naked and did not seem to be breathing, propped up on a pillow on a bed, the complaint says.

He was brought to Banner University Medical Center in Tucson and was pronounced dead. The boy had burns on 15 percent of his body, including on his forearms, elbows and head, according to the complaint.

Mr Martinez was detained after his first court appearance Friday and held in the custody of the US Marshals Service, court records show.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

In addition to the Pascua Yaqui Police Department, the FBI also responded to the scene. The FBI has investigative responsibilities for major crimes committed on about 200 Native American reservations across the country.

Washington Post

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in