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Mom Accused in Son's Death Kept Body on Ice for Hindu Ritual

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The mother accused of killing her 10-year-old son kept the boy on ice to observe a Hindu last rites ritual, an affidavit says.

    A North Texas mother who is accused of killing her 10-year-old son says the boy died in his sleep and was kept on ice to comply with a Hindu ritual, an affidavit released by the family states.

    Pallavi Dhawanwas was arrested and charged earlier this year after police were called to the family's Frisco home and discovered the boy's body in a bathtub. Frisco police charged her with murder after they said she confessed to killing the boy. Her husband, Sumeet, and the family's attorney have repeatedly called for charges against her to be dropped.

    In an affidavit dated April 15, Dhawan said she loved her son Arnav "with all of my heart and never would hurt him in any way."

    "...I want to make it perfectly clear to the world that: I did not hurt Arnav. I did not kill Arnav. I did not murder Arnav. I did not drown or smother Arnav. I did not poison Arnav," the affidavit states. "I did not fail to render aid to Arnav at any time."

    Dhawan said her son, Arnav, had been diagnosed with microcephaly and had special needs that were catered to by the family and other caregivers.

    She said she found the boy "cold," "stiff," and "completely unresponsive" in his bed after trying to wake him up for school. The mother said she moved her son's body to the bathtub and attempted to revive him with CPR.

    The boy's mother said she kept her son's body on ice for four days after his death using ice cubes taken from her refrigerator and placed in plastic bags. Dhawan said she followed Hindu rituals with her son, including reading the Hindu scriptures over his body, due to significant concern over the last rites that she believed needed to be performed on Arnav. She said that when her husband Sumeet's father passed away, the body was preserved on ice for "4-5 days until the immediate family could reach India and perform the last rites."

    "Being in the state of shock with such a sudden demise of Arnav, I continued to try and follow the Hindu customs to the best of my knowledge as exhibited by the father's [Sumeet Dhawan] family in the past, including preserving the body on ice," she said in the affidavit.

    In March, Sumeet Dhawan said the charges against his wife are a result of a cultural misunderstanding. The Dhawan family is Hindu and after death bodies are preserved on ice while waiting for family to pay respects and for last rites to be issued.

    "Nothing is going to get our son back and I hope that what has happened to us doesn't happen to anybody and cultural differences played a big part in this," said Sumeet Dhawan.

    During an April 10 hearing on the case, prosecutors said they haven't decided if Dhawan will be indicted because they are still waiting for a report from the Frisco police department.

    Additionally, a report from the Collin County medical examiner ruled the boy's cause of death as "undetermined," but "natural disease is most likely."