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Police arrest father who admitted he watched his toddler die and then dumped her body

Wesley Mathews admitted to police this week that he watched his adopted daughter Sherin Mathews die and then dumped her body near the family's home. More than two weeks after Sherin was reported missing, searchers found the child's body in a culvert about a half-mile from the home. (Image source: Richardson Police Department)

Wesley Mathews, father of the Texas toddler who was reported missing Oct. 7, admitted to police this week that he watched his adopted daughter Sherin Mathews die and then dumped her body near the family's home.

What's Wesley Mathews' latest story?

Authorities arrested and charged Wesley Mathews with injury to a child, a first-degree felony, according to the arrest warrant released by the Richardson Police Department.

Mathews and his attorney showed up at the police department Monday where he told police that he was with the 3-year-old girl in the garage of their home and was trying to get her to drink her milk. The girl had been refusing but eventually began drinking the milk. Mathews said he then "physically assisted" her in drinking her milk and she began to choke.

"She was coughing and her breathing slowed. Eventually, Wesley Mathews no longer felt a pulse on the child and believed she had died," according to the probable cause affidavit released Tuesday. "Wesley Mathews admitted to removing the body from the home."

What was Mathews' original story?

Monday's confession was a new twist in a story that has changed multiple times since the girl was reported missing more than two weeks ago.

Initially, the father told police that the toddler had gone missing after he put her outside near a tree at 3 a.m. as punishment for refusing to drink her milk. Mathews said he went back in the house and returned 15 minutes later and found she was gone.

The father reported Sherin’s disappearance to police about five hours later. He told police he went back inside the house when he couldn't find Sherin and started doing laundry. He said he was waiting for her to come home or for the sun to come up so he could start looking for her.

Police arrested Wesley Mathews and charged him with child endangerment. He was released on bond and ordered to wear an ankle monitor.

The search for Sherin Mathews

Police asked for help from neighbors whose surveillance cameras might have captured something that would help in the investigation. Police seized dozens of items from the Mathews' home, including cellphones, a washer, a dryer and a camera.

Officials said surveillance video showed someone leaving the home in the family SUV about an hour after Sherin went missing and returned about 5 a.m., the Star-Telegram reported.

Finally, on Sunday, more than two weeks after Sherin was reported missing, searchers found a child's body in a culvert about a half-mile from the Mathews' home.

The little girl's clothed body was found "a ways into the culvert," according to Sgt. Kevin Perlich, with the Richardson Police Department. KXAS-TV reported that the culvert has a 19-inch opening.

Police told KXAS that they had previously searched the area near the culvert where the child's body was found but had come up empty-handed.

On Tuesday, authorities said the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office using dental records had positively identified the body as Sherin Mathews.

Where was the child's mother?

Sini Mathews, the child's mother and a nurse at Children's Medical Center of Dallas, was reportedly sleeping at the time but Wesley Mathews didn't wake her, International Business Times reported.

Attorney Kent Starr, who has withdrawn from representing Sini Mathews, previously told KXAS-TV that the girl's mother is distraught and is trying to regain custody of the couple's biological 4-year-old daughter, who was placed in foster care after Sherin's disappearance.

The girl will remain in foster care for up to a month while officials conduct a home study, according to the Star-Telegram.

When asked Monday evening if Wesley Mathews’ new account to police included any changes to what his wife was doing at the time, Perlich would not provide details, KXAS reported.

Sini Mathews is not facing charges at this time.

However, Perlich said more arrests are possible, as are changes to current charges in this case.

What does the adoption agency say?

Sherin's biological parents abandoned her in India when she was a year old.  The Mathews couple adopted Sherin from the orphanage. They reported the girl had special needs, including difficulty eating and drinking.

However, the owner of the adoption agency where the couple adopted the girl is refuting those claims, according to WFAA-TV.

"The child had no problem at all when she was here, neither in drinking milk or eating," Babitha Kumari said, owner of Nalanda Mother Teresa Anatha Seva Ashram.

Kumari told WFAA that the Mathews couple had appeared to be "loving" people.

Remembering Sherin

Visitors have continued to leave flowers, dolls, stuffed animals and letters near the tree where Sherin was first reported to have been last seen.

Buried within the pile, a sock monkey left behind by one of Mathews’ playmates reads, “I miss you at the playground,” according to the Dallas Observer.

Is the father still jailed?

Authorities ordered Wesley Mathews held at the Dallas County jail. His bond is set at $1 million, KXAS reported. If convicted of the first-degree felony, Mathews faces five to 99 years or life in prison.

One last thing…
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