The trial for a Richardson, Texas father suspected of murdering his adopted toddler daughter in 2017 has once again been delayed.
Wesley Mathews, who faces the death penalty for allegedly murdering Sherin Mathews, 3 at the time of her death early morning Oct. 7, 2017, and then hiding her dead body in a culvert near the home, was set to go to trial on May 6. An autopsy report revealed that Sherin had died of homicidal violence.
However, a new trial date has been set for June 24. The Indian American father is being held in Dallas County, Texas jail on a $2.5 million bond.
His wife Sini Mathews had also been charged with two felony counts of child endangerment and child abandonment. Charges against Sini were dropped March 1 and she was allowed to go free. The Dallas County District Attorney’s office said there was insufficient evidence to build a case against her. (See earlier India-West story here: https://bit.ly/2uz6hbF)
The Richardson, Texas Police Department, which conducted an exhaustive manhunt with several local enforcement agencies to find Sherin after she went missing, issued a statement March 1 saying it was disappointed with the decision.
“The Richardson Police Department, with the assistance of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, conducted a thorough investigation of the Sherin Mathews case and developed sufficient probable cause to obtain an arrest warrant for Sini Mathews.”
“The case was presented to and accepted by the District Attorney’s office. A Grand Jury subsequently heard the case and returned an indictment against Sini Mathews. Sini Mathews has been incarcerated for over a year, during which time several bond reduction hearings were held, none of which were successful,” said Richardson police in a press statement.
“While we are disappointed with this turn of events, we will continue to work with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office to ensure justice is done,” read the statement.
Sini, who told police she was asleep on the night of the murder and did not know Sherin was missing, got her Indian passport back March 7. She is now fighting to regain custody of her biological daughter.
Sini Mathews is believed to have entered into a plea deal with prosecutors to get the charges against her dropped in exchange for testifying against her husband. But Sini Mathews’ attorney, Heath Harris, told local media after his client was freed that Sini would not testify against Wesley.
“She just wants to do everything she can to reunite with her other daughter,” said Harris.
The Mathews lost custody of their biological daughter last year. They adopted Sherin from an orphanage in Nalanda, Bihar, 16 months before the little girl died. Wesley and Sini have told police that Sherin was a stubborn child, but a matron at the Nalanda orphanage who was the primary caregiver for the girl while she lived there characterized her as a sweet-natured, happy child.
Dallas-area community activist Shanna Poteet, founder of the Facebook group “Love and Justice for Sherin ‘Saraswati’ Mathews,” said in a video posted to the page that she was angry that charges against Sini Mathews had been dropped. “This is very disturbing. No one is able to speak up for Sherin,” said Poteet, who had initially organized the group with fellow Dallas-area resident Reena Bana, who is no longer affiliated with the organization.
“There’s a lot of stuff going on behind closed doors. They don’t like it when we show up,” claimed Poteet, decrying the fact that “Sini got off free.”
Poteet said she plans to organize a huge march to draw attention to the injustices in Sherin’s case. “Sherin was abused and tortured by Sini. She never had a chance,” alleged Poteet, noting a Child Protective Services report indicating that the little girl had 23 broken bones.
Several people on Sherin Mathews’ advocacy page said they believe Sini is responsible for Sherin’s murder and her husband is covering for her.
Sini is still believed to be residing in the U.S. after getting her passport back.