North Texas Man Faces Charges After Girlfriend’s Suicide

Zander Tashman | Image by City of Frisco

A Frisco man was arrested this week on state charges after he allegedly helped his girlfriend commit suicide.

Zander Tashman, 18, was booked on felony charges of aiding a suicide after investigators allegedly linked him to the death of 17-year-old Ellyse Suarez last fall. The teen’s body was recovered from a pond at Frisco Commons Park on November 20, 2023.

The Frisco Police Department said evidence shows that Tashman helped his girlfriend commit suicide, but it has not released information about the exact circumstances surrounding Suarez’s death or how Tashman might have been involved, according to Fox 4 KDFW.

Tashman was released on a $10,000 bond and will face a maximum fine of the same amount plus between 180 days and two years in prison if found guilty. His lawyers released a statement claiming that he is innocent.

“Zander and his family wish this horrible tragedy had never taken place either. I’m sorry authorities made a poor and probably emotional choice to blame Zander and to do so in a public way. We’ll be making our case in a court of law. Zander is an exemplary college student with no prior history of criminal behavior,” the statement read, according to NBC 5 DFW.

Azucena Massey, Suarez’s mother, said that the couple had dated sporadically for years and is unsure she wants to know what role he may have played in her death.

“Is it going to make me more angry? Because I don’t want to feel angry when I think about my daughter,” Massey said, according to NBC 5.

Suarez, who was in her senior year at Centennial High School, had told Massey that she was struggling with her mental health several months before her death.

“I minimized it,” Massey said regretfully, according to WFAA.

“My main message is, if your child has the courage to ask you for help, please help them. Please help your child because it takes so much for them to admit how they feel,” she went on to say. “You can’t make excuses. You can’t say, ‘We’ll talk it out; we’ll spend more time.’ Get them help, please.”

In 2022, suicides hit a record high in the United States, as previously covered in The Dallas Express. Approximately 49,500 people took their own lives, hitting a new high after a steady 20-year growth in suicides seen since 31,655 were logged in 2002, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dallas ended 2023 with an apparent murder-suicide involving 28-year-old Juan Jesús Magaña and 29-year-old Brenda Cruz Gutiérrez. The murder rate grew by 15% between 2022 and 2023, with 246 clocked across the city. Most murder victims were black or Hispanic males.

Efforts to curb crime have been dampened due to a significant staffing shortage within the Dallas Police Department.

Although a City report called for a force of 4,000, DPD fields just 3,000 officers. Moreover, this fiscal year City officials approved a budget of just $654 million this fiscal year, putting Dallas well below the spending levels on police seen in other high-crime municipalities, such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

Due in part to the lack of police resources, crime in Downtown Dallas has skyrocketed, especially compared to neighboring Fort Worth’s downtown area, which is patrolled by a dedicated police unit and private security officers.

The Metroplex Civic & Business Association releases comparative studies of the two city centers each month, which have shown that Downtown Dallas regularly logs more crime, especially assaults, drug offenses, and motor vehicle thefts.

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