Mathews custody

Sini Mathews (pictured) and her husband Wesley Mathews were brought in shackles to Dallas County, Texas District Court Dec. 5. Judge Cheryl Lee Shannon ruled that the Mathews – the Indian American adoptive parents of special needs toddler Sherin Mathews, who was found dead in a culvert in Richardson, Texas in October – should not be allowed to see their biological daughter, who is in foster care. (screen grab of WFAA news video)

Indian Americans Sini and Wesley Mathews – the adoptive parents of special needs toddler Sherin Mathews, who was found dead in a culvert in Richardson Texas – lost the right to see their biological daughter during a custody hearing Dec. 5.

Dallas County District Court Judge Cheryl Lee Shannon mandated that the Mathews were barred from any contact with their three-year-old biological daughter. Child Protective Services has placed the daughter with relatives.

Shannon did not permanently sever the Mathews’ parental rights; that is expected to be ruled on early next year.

During a custody hearing last week, pediatrician Suzanne Dakil noted that Sherin Mathews had been treated for broken bones in October 2016 and in February 2017. Dakil said she alerted CPS, but Sherin remained with her adoptive parents (see earlier India-West story here).

Richardson police detective Jules Farmer testified Dec. 5 that Wesley Mathews had confessed to holding Sherin as she died, and then put her dead body in the back of his car with a bag of trash. Farmer said Mathews confessed to throwing the trash in a can at a nearby shopping center, and then tossing Sherin’s body in the culvert where she was found.

Both parents are in jail. A spokeswoman for the Richardson Police Department told India-West that Sini Mathews – who has been charged with child abandonment and is being held on a $100,000 bond – had not bailed out as of Dec. 5 afternoon. Sini Mathews faces a sentence of three years in state prison.

Wesley Mathews, who also remains in custody on a $1 million bond, has been charged with felony child endangerment and serious injury to a child. He is facing a life sentence.

Sherin Mathews – who was adopted from an orphanage in Nalanda, Bihar, 18 months ago – went missing early morning Oct. 7 at about 3 a.m. Wesley Mathews waited for about five hours before he called police to report that his daughter was missing.

Following an intensive search, the body of the little girl was found Oct. 23 in a culvert in Richardson, not far from the Mathews home. As he was arrested, Wesley Mathews confessed to police that he watched his daughter choke on her milk, then disposed of her dead body.

In their investigation, Richardson police found that Sherin Mathews had been left at home alone in the kitchen on the evening before she went missing, as her parents and older sister went out for dinner. A spokeswoman for the Richardson Police Department told India-West that detectives are continuing to investigate the possibility that Sherin died on the night she was left at home alone. The spokeswoman said police are waiting for toxicology reports and an autopsy to determine when Sherin died and the manner of her death.

A spokeswoman for the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office told India-West that toxicology reports and an autopsy usually take about eight to 12 weeks to complete from the time the body is found. The Medical Examiner’s office expects to release a report mid-January 2018. The spokeswoman said the case was a high priority for the office.

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