Initial autopsy results in Frisco boy's death inconclusive; mom out on bond

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by MARJORIE OWENS and MARCUS MOORE

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WFAA

Posted on January 31, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 4 at 10:06 AM

Child found dead inside Frisco home

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FRISCO — The mother of a 10-year-old boy found dead in a bathtub inside the family's Frisco home was released on bond, police revealed Friday morning.

Frisco police said 38-year-old Pallavi Dhawan surrendered her passport and visa under terms of the $50,000 bond. Mrs. Dhawan was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Arnav Dhawan, who didn't attend school several days before his body was found inside a locked room at the Frisco residence.

Authorities also revealed initial autopsy results were inconclusive. Frisco police said they're awaiting toxicology results to determine the child's cause of death.

Dhawan family attorney David Finn told News 8 Friday afternoon Arnav suffered from a brain cyst that could've caused seizures and saw doctors every six months to monitor its development. Finn said he was unsure if the medical examiner was aware of the cyst when he conducted the autopsy.

According to Frisco police, Mrs. Dhawan nodded "yes" when asked if she killed her son.

Finn said cultural and religious misunderstandings led to Mrs. Dhawan being charged in the death.

In Indian culture, nodding the head could mean "no," he said. He also said it's not unusual in Indian culture to preserve bodies for a longer time for religious reasons.

"It's a big deal to say goodbye because in Hindu/Indian culture, if [a] father does not say goodbye in person then the soul does not rest in peace," Finn wrote in an e-mail to News 8. "It's called 'giving of last rites.' [Mrs. Dhawan] said if [her] husband did not say goodbye to [Arnav], his soul would be here forever.'"

Mrs. Dhawan was arrested Wednesday night after police were called to the home when the boy's father, Sumeet Dhawan, couldn't locate the child upon returning home from a three-week business trip.

The family told their attorney Mrs. Dhawan thought her husband would be home any minute, and his business trip had taken several days longer than expected.

Mr. Dhawan's wife arrived at the home as police talked with her husband. Frisco police said Mr. Dhawan conversed with his wife privately before they were led to the young boy's body.

"The child was lying the bathtub with cloth wrapped up to the child's neck," read a search warrant. "Plastic bags were also found in the bathrub around the child as well."

Finn said the plastic bags once held ice, which Mrs. Dhawan used to preserve the body.

Finn said Mrs. Dhawan was emotional and unable to communicate when police were at the scene. He also said Mr. Dhawan disputed that police asked his wife if she killed the boy.

Arnav was a fifth grade student at Isbell Elementary School in the Frisco Independent School District. His funeral will be held Saturday.

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