Father accused of killing 6-year-old tried to exorcise demon with scalding water, police say

TUCSON, Ariz. – Police arrested an Arizona father accused of killing his son while trying to exorcise a demon from the 6-year-old boy's body Thursday.

Pablo Martinez, 31, faces a murder charge after officers arrested him at the Pascua Yaqui reservation in Tucson that afternoon.

Court documents obtained by KOLD say Martinez claimed to have noticed his son acting demonic during the past week, and, while bathing the child, "saw something evil" in him and attempted to cast it out.

Martinez allegedly "poured hot water down" the boy's throat, according to KVOA. Documents say he held him under the water for five to 10 minutes.

Romelia Martinez, the boy's stepmother, told investigators she heard a "gurgling" sound coming from in the bathroom and tried to open the door, but it was locked, KGUN reports. She allegedly screamed for him to stop and called the police.

Responding officers found the boy tucked into bed, naked and unresponsive.

Court documents say the 6-year-old died shortly after he was taken to Banner University Medical Center with burns on 15 percent of his body.

The boy's principal at Lynn Urquides Elementary School, Marisa Salcido, wrote a letter to parents Friday conveying "deep regret and sadness" over his death. Salcido added that counselors would be provided to ensure the students "every means of support and assistance."

Martinez appeared in court Friday was placed in the custody of the U.S. Marshal's Service after appearing in court Friday, KOLD reports.