Case Against Frisco Mother Moves Forward

The case against a Frisco mother accused of murder will be allowed to continue.

Collin County Justice of the Peace Paul Raleeh made the ruling on Tuesday morning following an examining trial.

Pallavi Dhawan was charged in the murder of her 10-year-old son, Arnav Dhawan, in January.

The boy's body was discovered by Frisco police in a bathtub in the family's home surrounded by bags of melted ice and his toys. Lead investigator Wade Hornsby testified it appeared the body had been there for several days.

According to the Dhawans and their attorney, David Finn, Pallavi Dhawan had been preserving her son's corpse until his father returned home from a business trip in India.

The family maintains the boy died of natural causes and in their culture, the father must deliver a final blessing.

Finn said Arnav had several underlying medical conditions, including a cyst in his brain and a condition that causes a person to develop an undersized head and may contribute to a shorter life expectancy.

Finn believes Arnav died of a seizure during his sleep.

The medical examiner's office was unable to determine a cause of death because the decomposition of the body at the time of autopsy, but listed "natural disease" as the most likely factor.

Finn adds the ME's office was not given Arnav's medical records and history before the autopsy was performed.

However, in testimony on Tuesday, the Frisco detective introduced the theory that the boy had been "smothered."

Hornsby told Raleeh during his interviews with Sumeet Dhawan, the husband described his wife as "depressed," "paranoid" and "losing it," citing her temper.

Frisco police had previously responded to an incident at the family home, when Sumeet Dhawan called 911, reported his wife was "throwing things at him."

Finn countered that the couple did have minor marital issues, but did not believe they were different from that of any couple married for several years.

Hornsby also tackled the issue of Arnav's medical history, saying the family did not volunteer any of that information about a possible natural cause of death when the body was discovered.

In further investigation, he said the boy's teachers and school nurse had no knowledge of his brain cyst or any tendency toward seizures. Hornsby added that in interviews, the teachers said on the day police believe Arnav died, he appeared to be in good health.

Hornsby testified that on the day Arnav's body was found, Sumeet Dhawan had come home from the airport, and in seeing his wife, she told him she was going to pick up Arnav from tutoring.

Police believe at the time, the child had been dead for days.

Hornsby said evidence shows Pallavi Dhawan left the home, bought gas and a Visa gift card, and then checked into a local hotel for 22 minutes before returning home.

Police said they also found a piece of paper under her clothes, on which was written the following words: "Pallavi Dhawan, DNR, DNR, DNR." DNR commonly means "do not resuscitate" in the medical field.

Finn said the case against his client is weak and that Frisco police have no evidence other than a perceived confession.

He notes two officers, responding to a welfare call at the home, asked Pallavi Dhawan if she killed her son. According to the officers, they saw her nod, they believed, indicating the answer was "yes."

Finn said there was no proof that happened, since the body microphones attached to the officers' uniforms were not activated until after Pallavi Dhawan's arrest.

"The benefit of having a hearing like this is for the first time in six-and-a-half months, we know exactly what we're up against, nothing," Finn said. "We're up against nothing. Excuse me. We're up against a head nod, which is not even recorded because the officers didn't even bother to turn on their body mics."

The case against Pallavi Dhawan will head to a grand jury.

Her husband and brother-in-law are expected to give testimony next week.

Contact Us