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Man Accused of Killing 6-Year-Old Son in Horrific Tub Exorcism

Complaint says Pablo Martinez held boy he said was 'demonic' under faucet of scalding water
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2019 2:02 PM CDT
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Stock photo.   (Getty Images/RubenJacob)

(Newser) – A horrific crime out of Arizona, where a father is accused of the first-degree murder of his 6-year-old son after an apparent exorcism attempt. The Arizona Republic reports that Pablo Martinez, said to be in his 30s, was arrested after the incident on the Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation outside Tucson, per a federal complaint. Tribal police and fire officials, as well as the FBI, responded to a call about a burned child Thursday, and when they arrived at one of the homes on the reservation, they say they found Martinez and Romelia Martinez, the boy's adoptive mom, standing outside the house. The complaint lays out what Pablo Martinez told the cops next: mainly, that his son had been acting "demonic" (Romelia Martinez backed him up on this) and that he'd poured hot water down the boy's throat to get rid of any bad spirits; he said the boy was underwater for up to 10 minutes.

Romelia Martinez, for her part, told officials Pablo Martinez had offered to bathe the 6-year-old, and when she heard gurgling sounds coming from the locked bathroom, she unlocked the door and entered to find him holding the boy under a running faucet; when she yelled at him to stop, he said he "had to do it." Authorities found the boy propped up on a bed, unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at a nearby medical center with burns to 15% of his body. The Washington Post cites a survey showing 51% of Americans actually believe in demon possession, with 46% confident in "the power of exorcism." "On Thursday ... the Pascua Yaqui Community suffered the loss of a child. As a close-knit community this loss weighs heavy on all of our hearts," the tribe says in a statement, per the Republic. Court records show Martinez was in the custody of US marshals after a Friday court appearance. (Read more exorcism stories.)

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