Police arrived just after midnight and arrested Brent Troy Bartel, 39, after finding the son standing shirtless with the carving on his back. Blood had been smeared across the door frame. The boy’s mother had left the house to get help.
In a phone interview with Bartel’s mother and stepfather, Lori and John Ponce, the two state that Bartel has no history of mental illness but he has recently been under a great deal of stress due to marital difficulties, financial issues, and medical problems for which he was not insured.
His mother stressed that her son was a good man. “Brent is not a demon,” Lori Ponce told the Star-Telegram. “He is loving. He loves that boy. Something happened. Don’t paint him as some crazy man. No, that’s not him.”
Bartel’s stepfather suggested there might have been biblical motivations:
“He is deep into the Old Testament,” John Ponce said in the same phone interview from Portland. “There’s a possibility with all of this pain and marital strife and such, he may have resorted to Old Testament references and then convoluted them.
“If you know about the Old Testament, the Passover marks on the door frame were done with a sacrificial lamb, definitely not sacrificial children.”
The pentagram is commonly used as a religious symbol.
The boy was discharged from the hospital late Wednesday and Child Protective Services is now investigating the case. Bartel was booked on a count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.