An Arizona man has been accused of killing a 6-year-old boy whom he believed was possessed by a demon.
According to AZ Central, 31-year-old Pablo Martinez was arrested on a federal charge of first degree murder last week after he admitted to forcing hot water down the child's throat. The incident occurred on Sept. 26 on the Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation outside Tucson, where Martinez lives with the boy's adoptive mother, Romelia Martinez.
According to the outlet, police officers and firefighters from the Pascua Yaqui Indian Tribe responded to a report about a child who sustained burn injuries. When local law enforcement and FBI agents arrived at the Martinez's residence, they found Pablo and Romelia Martinez standing outside. AZ Central reports that it is not clear if the man and woman are legally married.
The mother told authorities that Pablo Martinez had offered to give the boy and another unidentified child a bath. Shortly after the three went into the bathroom, the second child reportedly left the bathroom crying and Romelia Martinez began to hear gurgling sounds from the room. She then unlocked the bathroom door and reportedly found Pablo Martinez holding her son under the faucet as hot water poured out.
The woman told authorities she screamed at Pablo Martinez to stop, but he told her that "he had to do it." According to BuzzFeed News, when officers questioned the man about his actions, he told them they "were not in the right mindset or belief" to understand. After further questioning, Pablo finally told police that "his son … had a demon inside of him," and that he tried to exorcise the demon by holding the child under the water for "five to 10 minutes." Romelia Martinez claims she also saw the boy acting "demonic."
After realizing what had happened, the mother reportedly called a pastor, who did not pick up. She then called 911 as Pablo Martinez tried to revive the boy by performing CPR and pouring cold water on him.
When law enforcement entered the home, they found the boy unresponsive, propped up on a pillow. The child was transported to Banner University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead with about 15 percent of his body covered in burns.
The Pascua Yaqui Police Department is investigating the incident alongside the FBI. According to AZ Central, Romelia Martinez and the child are listed as members of the tribe, but Pablo Martinez is not.