Arson suspected in East Side duplex fire where baby died; 2 arrested

Taliyah Edwards found dead in bedroom of home in 600 block of Gulf

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio arson investigators are working to pinpoint the cause of a fire in an East Side duplex where an 18-month-old girl was found dead.

According to fire Chief Charles Hood, firefighters initially had no idea anyone was inside the home. Hood said they only learned that the baby, Taliyah Edwards, was there after her parents returned to the scene and told them.

Firefighters found the child, who was already dead, around 8 p.m. Thursday in a back bedroom of the home in the 600 block of Gulf.

Police believe Taliyah had been left home alone. They later arrested Charles Shorts, 26, and Tyler Terry, 22, on a charge of abandoning a child with the intent to return.

The fire caught the attention of many neighbors, some of whom went into the home or knocked on doors, hoping to alert anyone who might be inside. 

When no one answered, Elizabeth Sacriste said she gave up.

"I had the neighbors go to run in and check to see if there was anybody in there," Sacriste said. "I didn't see the vehicle there, so I figured they were gone."

Sacriste and her 17-year-old daughter, Shania Sanchez, initially were focused on saving the home. They used a backyard hose to pour water on the flames until the fire got out of hand.

"I know that babies are just innocent. They're so small and pure. So knowing that that baby was in there, we should've tried even harder," Sanchez said.

The mother and daughter, as well as an unidentified neighbor across the street, said at no point did they hear the baby crying.

As of 11 a.m., the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office had not released any information on the cause of Taliyah's death. 

The cause of the fire also remains under investigation, but arson investigators said that it appeared the fire was suspicious.

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