Sherin Mathews case: Richardson mourns death of 3-year-old; Police confirms finding body after father's confession

In a dramatic turnaround, the father of the three-year-old North Texas girl Sherin Mathews, who disappeared on 7 October, told the police that he watched his daughter choke on milk and die.

FP Staff October 25, 2017 13:56:30 IST
Sherin Mathews case: Richardson mourns death of 3-year-old; Police confirms finding body after father's confession

In a dramatic turnaround, the father of the three-year-old North Texas girl, who disappeared on 7 October, told the police that he watched his daughter choke on milk and die. An arrest affidavit said that he later removed her body from the house.

The affidavit was released on Tuesday morning by the Texas Police. Wesley Mathews "had been trying to get the three-year-old girl to drink her milk in the garage" early on 7 October, the affidavit said. "Wesley said she wouldn't listen to him."

At that point, Mathews said he "physically assisted" Sherin in drinking her milk and the girl choked on the drink.

"She was coughing and her breathing slowed. Eventually, Wesley no longer felt a pulse on the child and believed she had died."

The police further said that Mathews admitted to removing the girl's body from the home.

According to BBC, Mathews visited the police department voluntarily on Monday and provided an "alternate statement of events" to the officers. He was arrested for giving conflicting statements to the police and charged with first-degree felony injury to a child, a crime punishable by up to life imprisonment. Bond was set at $1 million, Richardson police Sergeant Kevin Perlich said.

Perlich told AP on Tuesday that the investigation is continuing, despite the revised statement. "This by no means completes our investigation. It is possible there would be additional arrests or modifications of the charges as the investigation proceeds," he said.

Sherin Mathews case Richardson mourns death of 3yearold Police confirms finding body after fathers confession

File image of Sherin Mathews, 3, who went missing on 7 October. AP

Mathew's previous claim

Mathews had initially said that he told his daughter to stand by a tree near an alley outside their home in Richardson as punishment for not finishing her milk. When he went to check on her about 15 minutes later, she was not there.

He told the police that after doing an initial search once he realised his daughter was missing, he went inside and did laundry while waiting for her to come home or for daylight so that he could continue looking. Police were not alerted to her disappearance until about five hours later.

Subsequently, he 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.

He told the police that the girl was developmentally disabled and malnourished when he and his wife adopted her and that they had to put her on a special diet that included feeding her whenever she was awake, including in the middle of the night, to help her gain weight.

Sherin's body found

The police on Tuesday confirmed that the body found on 23 October is Sherin's. It was found about half a mile from Mathews' house. 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 said the medical examiner had not yet determined a cause of death, and an autopsy hasn't been released.

Response to Sherin's death

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj also expressed concern over the case and tweeted that the Indian embassy in US is actively involved.

Officials from the Indian Embassy in the US and the Indian Consulate in Houston tweeted late last week that they are in contact with police regarding the investigation and actively helping. Neither office has released a statement since the body was found. Police confirmed they are working with the consulate to obtain adoption records and other documents.

Anger in Richardson

The Richardson community in the US was mourning the death of Sherin with many people asking why the father did not wake his nurse wife when the child was struggling to breathe.

“All these lies, first punishing the girl and putting her under a tree, later choking her in a garage at three am for not drinking milk, does not add up. It is heartbreaking and shocking,” said a resident Diana told PTI.

“It will be another story soon when police will find the actual cause of the death,” she said. Another neighbour Barbara Diamond Johnson asked why did not Wesley wake his nurse wife as Sherin choked to death, especially when she is a registered nurse at Children's Hospital Dallas.

Over the past two weeks, Sherin brought the whole community together in the suburb, as countless volunteers searched in and around Richardson hoping to find her. Sunday evening, many gathered for a prayer vigil a few hours after learning of the heartbreaking developments.

With inputs from agencies

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