Neighbors ‘stunned’ to hear man allegedly killed 6-year-old while trying to exorcise demon

Man said he saw an ‘evil’ in son, according to court documents

Child death investigation

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A tribal community southwest of Tucson is shocked after hearing what reportedly happened inside a home on their reservation last week.

According to court documents, Pablo Martinez was arrested after trying to exorcise a demon from his 6-year-old son who he claimed was “evil," ultimately killing him in the bathtub.

“Everybody’s just stunned," said a woman who asked to not be identified. The neighbor said she would often see Martinez in his yard, on the Pascua Yaqui reservation, with his two children, who she said were adopted.

The woman said she was outside on the afternoon of Sept, 26, 2019, when the incident happened.

“My kids were playing and just, we heard screaming, a man screaming and from there we seen ambulance come and after not even two seconds later, they come with the boy outside," she said. "His hands were just dangling.”

According to court documents, Martinez said he “saw something evil” in his son while giving him a bath. He told investigators the water was pouring into the boy’s mouth and he noticed the hot water was “casting out the demon.”

Martinez estimated the boy was under water for five to 10 minutes.

Multiple neighbors told KOLD News 13 Monday the six-year-old who passed away was autistic.

"What he did is unacceptable and I want him to get what he deserves. He doesn’t even deserve to see the daylight anymore,” said the neighbor.

When the Pascua Yaqui Police Department arrived at the home, Pablo and Romelia Martinez, the boy’s adoptive mother, were outside the home and the front door was locked.

When asked what happened, documents state Romelia pointed to Pablo and said, “He can tell you.”

Martinez allegedly told the PYPD they wouldn’t understand. According to the court documents, he eventually turned to the officers, put his hands in the air and said, “I did it.”

A neighbor said Martinez’s mother, who seemed to help take care of the two children, recently passed away.

“I think after she passed, that’s when everything just fell apart," the woman said. "'Cause, he was literally, we’re really religious here on the tribe. He was asking to take the saints out and do a lot of stuff and just inside closed doors, we don’t know what happens.”

According to court documents, the child had burns to 15 percent of his body - including on his forearms, elbows and head. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A letter was sent to parents and guardians of students at Lynn/Urquides Elementary on Friday, Sept. 27, offering support and counseling services at the school and through the Tucson Unified School District.

“I’m just... I’m just stunned and I hope the little boys rests in peace, that’s all I have to say," the neighbor said.

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