Police discover body of 3-year-old in Texas, say 'most likely' to be missing Indian girl Sherin Mathews

Houston: Police have discovered the body of a girl child, which they say is "most likely" of a three-year-old Indian girl who went missing two weeks ago when her foster father reportedly sent her outside alone late in the night as punishment for not finishing her milk.

Sherin Mathews, who has developmental issues and limited verbal communication skills, was last seen outside her family's backyard in Richardson, Dallas on 7 October.

The Richardson Police on Sunday announced that they discovered the remains of a child in a tunnel beneath a road, expressing apprehension that it was "most likely" of Mathews. They, however, did not confirm the identity. The body was found about half a mile from Mathews' house.

Police discover body of 3-year-old in Texas, say most likely to be missing Indian girl Sherin Mathews

File image of Sherin Mathews, who went missing on 7 October. AP

As part of their search operation, officers blocked off an area near Spring Valley and Bowser roads, east of Central Expressway. The body was found in a culvert beneath a road around 11 am with the help of search dogs. Police have not released any details about how the child died. They, however, indicated they had no reason to believe that the body of a different child had been found. The identification process was underway. The medical examiner was working to determine the cause of death.

Sherin's foster father, Wesley Mathews, 37, was arrested on a charge of abandoning or endangering a child. A day later, he was released from custody after posting $2,50,000 bond. As per an arrest-warrant affidavit, Mathews, said to be from Kerala, told police that he put Sherin outside and told her to stand next to a large tree at around 3 am on Saturday (7 October).

Mathews admitted to police that he knew coyotes had been seen in the alley, the affidavit said. Some 15 minutes later, Mathews allegedly went to check on Sherin but didn't find her. After looking around for her, he said he then went inside to do laundry and decided to wait until morning to continue searching or for her to return on her own, police Sergeant Kevin Perlich said. Police were not alerted to her disappearance until about five hours later.

The Mathewses reportedly adopted the girl two years ago from an Indian orphanage.

Sherin’s case also caught the attention of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj who tweeted, "We are deeply concerned about the missing child. Indian Embassy in US is actively involved and they keep me informed," Swaraj tweeted on 19 October.

India’s Consul General in Houston, Anupam Ray too had tweeted on issue: "We are closely monitoring the Sherin Mathews case. We have established contact with the community and authorities."

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Oct 23, 2017 10:54:43 IST

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