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St. George man faces charges tied to 4-year-old losing hand in explosion

By Pat Reavy, Deseret News | Posted - Mar. 2, 2021 at 2:04 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — A St. George man charged Monday with having homemade explosives now faces additional charges accusing him of being responsible for a young boy losing his hand due to one of his bombs.

Logan Michael Mertlich, 36, was arrested Saturday and charged Monday in 5th District Court with recklessly possessing an incendiary device, as well as other drug-related crimes.

Homemade explosives were found in his vehicle, according to a police affidavit that also noted that Merlitch "was recently involved in an incident where a child was injured with an explosive device."

On Tuesday, Mertlich was charged in connection with that incident.

He was charged with possession of an explosive device, a second-degree felony; and reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor.

Police were called to St. George Regional Hospital on Jan. 16 on a report of a 4-year-old boy who was burned after he "had an explosive device explode in his hand," according to charging documents.

The boy was later transported to a hospital in Las Vegas where it was determined that his injuries were severe enough "that his hand would need to be amputated," the charges state.

The incident occurred while the boy was camping with his family.

"While at the campsite the (child) found an explosive device, lit it, and it exploded in his hand," the charges state. "(The boy) stated that he intended to throw it but did not throw it in time."

The boy later told police "that Logan Mertlich made the explosive device. He stated that he saw him make it and saw others at the residence," according to the charges. But those court documents do not indicate Mertlich's relationship with the boy or what residence he was referring to.

The boy's parents claimed the explosive device "was a firework that was left over from the holidays. The father advised that it was purchased in Nevada and was a mortar type firework. The father was not at the scene when the explosive device was detonated," according to charging documents.

When he was arrested on Saturday, Mertlich told police that making explosive devices was a "hobby" for him, according to the affidavit.

In 2018, he was also arrested and charged with igniting an explosive on a new football field of a high school under construction.

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Pat Reavy

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