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Cops: Dad carves pentagram into son's back on 12-12-12

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A father has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault after telling a 911 operator he carved a pentagram into his 6-year-old son's back.


Just after midnight Wednesday, officers were dispatched to a home in Richland Hills, Texas, after the boy's father, identified by police as Brent Troy Bartel, called 911 and said: "I shed some innocent blood."

When the dispatcher asked what the man meant by that, the man replied: “I inscribed a pentagram on my son.”

The dispatcher asked why, and the man said: "It's a holy day."

At the same time, the child's mother called 911 from a neighbor's home and said her husband was hurting their child.

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Officers arrived at the home and found the child cold, standing in only pajama pants with a large pentagram carved into his back. The carving covered most of the boy's back, police said.

Officers wrapped the boy in a jacket and turned him over to paramedics.  The child was transported to Cooks Children's Hospital for treatment.  Child Protective Services and a crime victim liaison were working with the boy and his mother.

Police said Wednesday afternoon that the carving wasn't deep enough to require stitches and that the child is expected to physically recover.

At the scene, officers also recovered a box cutter they believe Bartel used to make the carving.

Bartel was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon-family member. He was being held early Thursday on $500,000 bond.

The father's call to 911 was placed at 12:10 a.m., just minutes after the day 12-12-12 began.

It is not clear what Bartel meant by calling Wednesday "a holy day."

However, Catholics celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12. The Dec. 12, 2012, date, along with Dec. 21, 2012, have drawn attention from numerologists and those concerned with doomsday prophecy.

On Wednesday, it's reported more than 9,000 couples will tie the knot and hospitals have seen a surge in scheduled Cesarean sections. NBC's Andrea Canning reports.

NBC 5's Lindsay Wilcox contributed to this report.