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Pascua Yaqui child dies after father tried to exorcise demon from him

TUCSON – A man has been taken into custody for first-degree murder after he allegedly killed his 6-year-old son when he was performing an exorcism at a residence on the Pascua Yaqui reservation Thursday.

According to court documents, Pascua Yaqui first responders received a report of a child burn near the 7559 South Yoem Bo Oh. When emergency crews arrived at the scene, the child’s father, Pablo Martinez told the responding police officers that “his son was demonic and had a demon inside of him”.

The father reportedly told the officers that “he poured hot water down” the 6-year-old’s throat to reportedly help “cast out the demon”. Martinez’s wife and the child’s adopted mother, Romelia Martinez told the officers that the child “had been acting demonic.”

When police performed a sweep through the home, law enforcement found the child in a room on the bed, propped up on a pillow.

The child was transported to Banner University Medical Center, where the 6-year-old died shortly after arrival. Court documents said 15 percent of the child’s body was burned, including evidence of burns on the child’s forearms, elbows and head.

After further investigation, the child’s adopted mother told police that her husband offered to give their son and their other child a bath. She told the officers that “she heard a gurgling sound coming from the bathroom.”

When she went to the bathroom, she allegedly observed her husband holding down the 6-year-old under the faucet in the bathtub. After she reportedly told her husband to stop, her husband told her that “he had to do it”, according to court documents.

The court documents state that the child’s father told police that “he saw something evil” in his son and he had to “cast the demon out.” He told reportedly told police that his son had an “unnatural fit of rage” and that he “noticed that the hot water was casting out the demon.”

He told police that the child was under water for about five to 10 minutes.

His wife then contacted 911. She said at this time, her husband attempted “to do cardio pulmonary resuscitation” and poured cold water on the child.

The 6-year-old was later determined to be a student of Lynn/Urquides Elementary School. School officials said the child had special needs.

The school’s principal released the following statement in regards to the incident.

It is with deep regret and sadness that I inform you of the death of one of our students. I want to let you know that Lynn Urquides Elementary administrative team has been working with TUSD Leadership and the Coordinator of TUSD Counseling to ensure that we provide every means of support and assistance to all the students, along with our staff. Our counselors are available to help staff and any student who is struggling with death or other issues that may surface.

Marisa Salcido, Urquides Elementary School principal Tweet

The school said any students who are in need of counseling and additional support are advised to call 520-225-6211, or visit one of the following websites.

Anthony Victor Reyes

Anthony Victor Reyes

Anthony Victor Reyes is the lead digital content producer at News 4 Tucson. The award-winning journalist previously worked as a community reporter in Jasper County, Iowa.
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