Father Drowned 6-Year-Old Son in Hot Water to Exorcise 'Demon': Authorities

The Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation
The Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation. Getty

An Arizona father has been charged with murder for the drowning death of his 6-year-old son, whose head he allegedly shoved under hot water to cast out a "demon," authorities said.

Pablo Martinez told investigators his son was possessed and he saw evil in the boy while he was bathing the child last week on the Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation near Tucson, police said. Martinez said he held his son's face under the faucet for up to 10 minutes so the hot water would release the demon inside him, investigators said.

Martinez was charged in federal court and is in the custody of U.S. Marshals. A phone message left by InsideEdition.com with his public defender, Michael Areinoff, was not immediately returned.

The boy, his adoptive mother, Romelia Martinez, and his biological mother are part of the Pascua Yaqui tribe. The father is not, according to a criminal complaint, the Washington Post reported. 

While the child was held under the faucet, another child in the tub ran crying from the room, the complaint said. Romelia Martinez, who lives with Pablo Martinez, heard gurgling sounds coming from the bathroom but found the door was locked, investigators said.

After unlocking the door, she said she saw the father holding the boy's head and screamed at him several times, police said. Pablo Martinez told her that "he had to do it," she told investigators.

She allegedly tried to call a pastor, then she called 911, according to police. When officers arrived, both parents were standing in front of their home. Pablo Martinez told officials his son was possessed by a demon and he "needed to save him," according to the complaint.

Police said they discovered the boy lying on a bed, naked, propped up by pillows. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He had burns on 15 percent of his body, including his head and arms, investigators said.

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