April 14, 2011

4-15-11: Arlington toddler died of burns

Police continue to investigate the double homicide and say no arrests have been made.

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ARLINGTON -- A 1-year-old boy who was found dead along with his mother in their burning Arlington apartment last month died from burns, the Tarrant County medical examiner's office has ruled.

An autopsy on Asher Olivas found no evidence of other trauma, nor did toxicology tests reveal any signs of drugs, said Linda Anderson, a medical examiner's spokeswoman.

Authorities had already concluded that Asher's mother, Mechelle Gandy, 26, died from multiple stab wounds. Both deaths have been ruled homicides.

The two were found March 20 by Arlington firefighters who were responding to a fire in Gandy's apartment in the 2200 block of Presidents Corner Drive.

"The investigation continues but currently there are not any arrests," said Sgt. Os Flores, a police spokesman.

Dana Gandy, Gandy's uncle, said she would have gone to great lengths to protect her son.

"We just don't understand. There had to be a struggle. She would have fought to the death for that child," Dana Gandy said. "There's just no other way. We keep thinking maybe there was more than one because she was so strong. She was a big girl.

"Not knowing is what really hurts," Gandy said. "We would just like to know what kind of animal would burn a baby. We just don't understand. We always believed you were put on earth to be loved, not to be hurt."

Dana Gandy said his niece often visited her grandmother in Reno, Nev., most recently spending two weeks there with Asher during Christmas.

"He was just bubbly. He never cried," said Gandy, who also lives in Reno. "He was just the best baby in the world."

Gandy said the deaths have been especially devastating to Mechelle Gandy's grandmother, Gayle, who had visited Texas in February along with Mechelle Gandy's aunt, Regina, for Asher's birthday.

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655

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