An 18-year-old college student in Texas faces charges of encouraging his “charismatic and witty” girlfriend to take her life, which she did in November 2023 in Frisco, Texas, outside Dallas.
Ellyse Suárez, 17, was found dead in a pond at a popular park on November 20. The cause of her death has not been made public. This week, her on-off boyfriend, Zander Tashman, was arrested in connection with her death.
In a heartbreaking new interview, Suárez’s mother, Azucena Massey, said NBC Dallas-Fort Worth that his daughter and Tashman were close. Massey said he did not know of his alleged involvement in the death until police investigators came to his home and told him.
“It’s scary in a way because it makes me wonder: Do I even want to know?” Is it going to make me more angry? Because I don’t want to feel angry when I think about my daughter,” Massey said. The grieving mother said she knew her daughter was struggling with depression at the time of her death.
Massey warned parents to take their children’s mental health seriously because “they may not understand it tomorrow.” She said she got professional help for her daughter before her death, but apparently it was too late.
Ellyse Suarez, 17, was found dead on November 23 in a pond in Frisco, Texas, just over a month before her 18th birthday.
Her on-off boyfriend, Zander Tashman, 18, is an honor roll student at Collin College. Her family’s lawyer reacted angrily to the charges brought against him.
Suarez was found here in Frisco Commons Park, police have not released the cause of her death.
In a heartbreaking obituary, Suarez was described as someone who “was strong in her own beliefs and would never leave anyone behind or alone.”
“She was never afraid to speak her mind, especially when she felt others needed a voice, and she was often the first to stand up for others and what was right.”
“Ellyse had a dark sense of humor that, coupled with her uniqueness, made sarcasm like a second language,” the tribute continues.
The obituary talks about his love of playing cards, something he used to make friends, his love of animals and his kindness.
His beloved four-year-old Mexi bull terrier passed away just before his death.
His funeral was held on December 1, he would have turned 18 on January 1.
Despite knowing about his depression, Massey said he didn’t understand what his son was going through.
‘I don’t think I understood it at all. I didn’t understand his reasoning about sadness. I didn’t understand her reasoning for being depressed,” Massey said.
During that interview, Massey said he knew Tashman and his daughter were talking in the period before his death.
‘[The relationship] It was something that was very meaningful to her. Something that she wanted to solve so badly that she maybe made decisions that she wouldn’t have made on a normal day,” she said.
Massey also had a message for those with children struggling with their mental health.
‘Don’t think you’re going to talk about it and have a conversation and think everything’s going to be fine tomorrow. You may not receive it tomorrow.
Suarez’s mother said her daughter came to her before her death and told her she was suffering from depression.
Suárez’s mother, Azucena Massey, remains so heartbroken that she did not want her face to appear on television during a recent interview.
“She was never afraid to speak her mind, especially when she felt others needed a voice, and she was often the first to stand up for others and stand up for what was right,” Suarez’s obituary said.
Tashman was arrested Sunday and if convicted could face up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
According to Tashman’s LinkedIn page, he is a student at Collin College in Frisco, where he will graduate in 2025. In January 2024, he was named to the school’s honor roll, maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.
If convicted of participating in Suarez’s death, Tashman could face up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
In statements to NBC DFW, his lawyer, Reynie Tinajero, attacked the authorities.
‘Zander and his family wish this horrible tragedy had never happened. I regret that the authorities made a poor and probably emotional decision by blaming Zander and doing so publicly. We will present our case in a court of law.
‘Zander is an exemplary college student with no history of criminal behavior. Zander is innocent,” the lawyer said.
Suarez’s body was found in Frisco Commons Park, prompting an “extensive investigation” that resulted in Tashman’s arrest, Frisco police said.
Tashman was arrested Sunday and held on $10,000 bail.
- If you or someone you know is in crisis, call or text 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or chat live at 988lifeline.org.