Pennsylvania man poured gasoline on 4-year-old son and tried to set him ablaze to 'burn the demon out of him'

Pennsylvania man poured gasoline on 4-year-old son and tried to set him ablaze to 'burn the demon out of him'
(Camden County Prison)

JOHNSTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA: A man has been arrested for allegedly pouring gasoline on his four-year-old son and trying to set him ablaze to "burn the demon out of him." Josiah James McIntosh of Johnstown was taken into custody on Wednesday, May 13, after police arrived at his home to find the child naked and covered with gasoline. The identity of the child has not been revealed.

Authorities responded to McIntosh's Wren Street home in Southmont Borough after receiving reports of a domestic disturbance incident. When the officials arrived at the place, a man reportedly approached them and told them McIntosh had poured the flammable liquid on the child and told him, “If we can’t get out the demon, I’ll burn it out of him.” "He splashed gasoline on the little boy and made a reference to setting him on fire," Officer Christopher Kesslak said.

According to the official complaint, when the man, whose identity has not been revealed, tried to intervene and stop McIntosh from hurting the boy, McIntosh allegedly punched him in the jaw and smashed him in the head with a brick, rendering him temporarily incapacitated. Police confirmed that the man had visible injures on his left side, especially the head and ear.

Investigators said they then found the boy who was naked inside the house and had gasoline poured all over his body and around him. They also got hold of McIntosh following a brief search of the neighborhood. The accused also smelled of gasoline and was in possession of a disposable lighter.

The 27-year-old father was charged with aggravated assault, aggravated assault of a person less than 6, simple assault, simple assault of a person under 12, arson and endangering the welfare of children by West Hills Regional police. He has also been charged with two counts each of terroristic threats and recklessly endangering another person. McIntosh has been held at the Cambria County Prison and his bail has been set at $75,000, court documents stated. A preliminary hearing into the case is expected to be held on May 27.


This alleged incident comes months after a man set the mother of his children on fire. Savanna Bailey from Wisconsin reportedly suffered burns from the waist up and on 60 percent of her body after apparently being doused with gasoline and lit on fire in February. According to reports, the unidentified man forced his daughters to stand out in the cold while he set their mother on fire. The 23-year-old woman’s mother, Wanda Bailey, said that Savanna’s four-year-old daughter told her what happened at their home. "I said, 'Cerenity, who burnt the house up? Who did you say burnt the house up,'" Wanda asked. To which the girl replied: “My daddy did.”

The woman’s daughters, Cerenity and her sister Cemaya, one, were not injured in the incident. When the girls were forced to stand outside the house during the alleged incident, Cerenity was only wearing a t-shirt and underwear without shoes, while Cemaya “didn’t have no clothes on, no shoes” while there was reportedly a -19-degree wind chill outside. Reports at the time claimed that the 26-year-old accused was arrested but had not been charged. However, it was not clear at the time what led the man to take the extreme step.


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 Pennsylvania father poured gasoline on 4-year-old son and tried to set him ablaze