<Idaho Falls> More controversy surrounds the popular mobile app Pokémon Go after a teenager suffering from mental health issues set an LDS church on fire while attempting to ‘scare out’ rare Pokémon.
On July 13th, Darien Holt, a 17-year old schizophrenic teenager had been attending a sleepover at his neighborhood friend Joshua Callihan’s home when at approximately 2:45 AM, he decided to sneak out of the Callihan residence to hunt for Pokémon with the popular mobile app, Pokémon Go.
While attempting to obtain more poke- balls, he walked to the nearest ‘poke-stop’, a neighborhood LDS church located approximately a block away from where he was spending the night. Upon arriving at the church he became excited when he encountered a Pokémon character that he had yet to catch. After failing to catch the Pokémon character outside of the church, Darien returned to his friend’s home and gathered several fireworks and a BIC lighter from the family’s garage. According to Joshua’s mother, Jennifer Callihan, the fireworks had been left-over from the family’s recent 4th of July festivities. Darien told responding police officers that he took the fireworks because he wanted to use them to “scare out” the rare Pokémon.
According to reports, Darien lit several of the fireworks under a church window causing a nearby tree to catch on fire. Darien told police officers that he had initially attempted to extinguish the fire by throwing objects at the blaze, however after being struck in the face by a rock that had bounced off the churches exterior wall, he retreated back to his friend’s house.
When emergency responders arrived at the scene, the fire had already spread to the church and according to witnesses, was “out of control”. One of the responding firefighters, Anthony Christiansen told reporters that it was “one of the toughest jobs we’ve had this year”.
Darien’s parents, Bishop Thomas Holt and wife Regina told reporters that they do not hold their son accountable for the incident and claim a general lack of adult supervision is to blame. Bishop Thomas Holt made the following comment during an interview with Richard McBride, a reporter from a local ABC affiliate station, “Darien is a good kid, we believe that none of this would have happened if he had been under proper supervision.”
According to the Holt’s, Darien was diagnosed with schizophrenia the year prior but currently isn’t on any medication related to the disorder. While fighting back tears, Darien’s Mother Regina Holt made the following statement during the interview with McBride, “I’m just thankful that our Heavenly Father was watching over Darien and that he wasn’t hurt any worse. He does have a large bruise on his face and a broken heart but that can be healed”.
When 13-year old Joshua Callihan was asked about his relationship with Darien, he told reporters, “He (Darien) had asked to sleep over and I was just trying to be nice because he doesn’t have many friends. He was just playing on his phone so I went to sleep. I didn’t even know he had left.”
The 13-year old boy’s mother Jennifer Callihan told reporters, “I knew something was a little off about Darien, but his parent’s never told me about any medical or mental health issues. I’m just sorry he was at my house when this whole thing happened.”
The Holt’s have denied media requests to interview Darien and told reporters “He (Darien) has been traumatized enough over this”. They also told reporters that they expect Jennifer Callihan to compensate them for any of Darien’s medical or therapy expenses arising from the incident.