TW: mentions of child abuse and child death. A 6-year-old boy has died after his father poured hot water down his throat in what is being described as an attempted exorcism. The man is now facing first-degree murder charges after being charged by federal authorities in Arizona.
The boy's father, 31-year-old Pablo Martinez explained to police that his young son "was demonic and had a demon inside of him," NBC News reports. Romelia Martinez, the boy's adoptive mother also told authorities that the boy "had been acting demonic" when they responded to a 911 call. Romelia Martinez told police that Pablo Martinez had offered to give the boy a bath the night he died, explaining that she could hear "gurgling" coming from the bathroom.
Local Tuscon news station KGUN reports that Romelia Martinez explained that she tried to enter the bathroom but the door was locked. When she was finally able to enter the bathroom she stated that she Pablo was holding the young boy's head under the faucet, with hot water pouring out. During questioning by the FBI, Pablo Martinez claimed that he "saw something evil," inside of the boy and "knew he had to cast the demon out." Reports stated that the father held his son under the hot water between five and ten minutes.
Romelia Martinez called 911 for help stating that her husband was attempting CPR and pouring cold water on the child. When the FBI arrived on the scene they found the boy in a room propped up against a pillow. Despite being rushed to the hospital the boy was pronounced dead.
According to the court documents, the boy had burn marks on 15 percent of his body, including his head, elbows, and forearms. The young boy lived with his father and adopted mother on the Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation, near Tuscon, where he and Romelia were members. Pablo Martinez was not a member. The FBI and the Pascua Yaqui Police Department are conducting a joint investigation into the child's death.
"The FBI has a strong, long-standing commitment to investigating violent crime in Indian Country. We are dedicated to working alongside our tribal and federal partners to protect all of our communities," FBI's Phoenix division spokesperson Jill McCabe said in a statement.