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'She Had A Big Heart': 2 Teen Girls Killed In Deadly Texas Fire During Sleepover
Azalyia Hernandez and Eliza Maurer died from smoke inhalation according to a preliminary autopsy. However, foul play hasn’t been ruled out in their deaths.
Investigators are still searching for answers weeks after a deadly apartment fire left two Texas teenage girls dead in November.
Azalyia Hernandez, 15, and Eliza Maurer, 16, were found dead at an apartment complex in the small Texas city of Fredericksburg, according to San Antonio station KENS.
On Nov. 22, firefighters raced to Ten19 Apartments where a blaze had been reported. Inside Unit 207 they found the two teenagers’ bodies. Police said they haven’t ruled out foul play in the incident.
"As with all deaths, they are treated as a homicide until proven otherwise,” Fredericksburg Police Steven Wetz told the outlet.
Authorities said the teens’ toxicology reports haven’t been completed, but a preliminary autopsy concluded Hernandez and Maurer both died from smoke inhalation, Spectrum News One reported.
“We are putting together a timeline of the evening by interviewing a multitude of witnesses so that we can cover all aspects of the case,” Wetz added.
Police said the apartment where the fire occurred was rented by Mary Saenz, who was reportedly not present when the unit went up in flames, according to CBS Austin. The state fire marshall is still investigating the blaze.
Family members said the girls had been having a sleepover when the fire broke out. Hernandez’s mother recalled the surreal moments after officials arrived on her doorstep to confirm the tragic news.
“The first thing that came to mind I was like, 'No, it's not her,'" Lisa Treviño told Spectrum News One.
The teen had attended a quinceañera before heading to the sleepover on the evening of the fire, relatives said.
"They had a picture of her so we had to identify her body," Treviño told KENS. "She looked so scared. She looked like she was out of air. I'm not ever going to be able to sleep well because I see her face. It's not a good thing for a mother to see their baby like that."
Nearly three weeks after the girls’ deaths, relatives are demanding answers.
“The very first thing that they told us was that they found them nude and that there was foul play, and there were some suspects who had run from the apartment,” Hernandez’s stepfather Gary Sorola told KTBC.
The family is also suspicious of how and why the two teens were unable to escape the scorched apartment unit.
“We just — we just want to find out what happened," Sorola told Spectrum News One.
Both Hernandez and Maurer were sophomores at Fredericksburg High School.
“The FISD family and community is saddened by the tragic loss of two of our very own FHS students,” school district Superintendent Dr. Jeffry L. Brasher told CBS Austin. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the two students.”
Hernandez was active in the school band, theatre arts programs, and was interested in mechanics, her family said. She aspired to join the U.S. Air Force, KENS reported.
“She had a big heart,” Treviño told KTBC. "She was spontaneous and very funny, outspoken, feisty. She always spoke her mind. She never stayed quiet. If she had something to say she was gonna tell you.”
The 15-year-old had three other siblings.
“It's harder with me ‘cause I sleep in the same room with her,” her older sister Yridian Treviño told Spectrum News One.