Death of Sherin Mathews

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Sherin Mathews
Born
Saraswati Kumari

(2014-07-14)July 14, 2014
Bihar, India
DiedOctober 7, 2017(2017-10-07) (aged 3)
Cause of deathSuspected homicide
Body discoveredOctober 22, 2017
Resting placeRichardson, Texas
NationalityIndian
CitizenshipAmerican
Parent(s)Sini Mathews (adoptive mother)
Wesley Mathews (adoptive father)

Sherin Susan Mathews[1] (July 14, 2014 – October 7, 2017) was an Indian American toddler who was found dead in a culvert in Richardson, Texas.[2] She was reported missing by her adoptive father Wesley Mathews on October 7, 2017. Her body was found under a road in a culvert near her home [3] and her adoptive father admitted to disposing the body.[4]

Early life[edit]

Sherin Mathews was born as Saraswati Kumari in Nalanda, Bihar, India. Soon after her birth, her biological parents abandoned her. Sherin was found by a charity worker and taken to Nalanda Mother Teresa Anaath Seva Ashram, an adoption center run by Babita Kumari. Kumari recalled that Sherin used to call her ''Mumma.''[5]

Wesley Mathews and his wife Sini Mathews, residents of Richardson, Texas, adopted Sherin on July 18, 2016.[6] Sherin lived with her adopted parents in Richardson, Texas until she was reported missing in October 2017. Sherin's death has led to the Indian government revising its adoption process to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Disappearance[edit]

The Richardson Police were notified about Sherin's disappearance on October 7, 2017 at around 8 a.m. Wesley Mathews told police that Sherin was very undernourished when adopted from India and that, in order for her to gain weight, she should eat and drink whenever she was up. Wesley Mathews' initial report indicated that one of these feedings was attempted that morning at 3 a.m. However, Sherin did not want to drink her milk, and as punishment, he made her stand outside in a nearby alley. When Mathews went back outside to check on Sherin 15 minutes later, she was missing. Rather than reporting the disappearance immediately, Wesley Mathews said he did a load of laundry while figuring out what to do.[7]

Investigation[edit]

Questions were raised as to why Sherin's parents had waited five hours to report her disappearance. On October 7, Wesley Mathews was arrested for child endangerment, for which he was later released on bail. Investigators began to further doubt his version of events after discovering that the family SUV had departed the Mathews household at approximately 4 a.m. the morning Sherin went missing. The SUV returned to the home before 5 a.m. on October 7, about three hours before Sherin's disappearance was reported to law enforcement.[3]

Discovery of body[edit]

On October 22, 2017, the body of a small girl, later positively identified as Sherin Mathews, was found in a culvert near the Mathews' home. The same day, Wesley Mathews reported to the police station and changed his statement. According to the new testimony, when Sherin refused to drink the milk, he "physically assisted" her in drinking it; Sherin began to choke and subsequently died. He then disposed of Sherin's body in the culvert.[4]

According to Sherin's pediatrician, Dr. Suzanne Dakil, Sherin had injuries in various stages of healing and multiple broken bones. In response to this finding, which she identified as signs of abuse, Dr. Dakil alerted Child Protective Services.[8] Sherin had also been hospitalized multiple times for skin and joint infections. One of Sini Mathews' explanations for the broken bones was that Sherin's older sister pushed her off a couch; upon another hospitalization, Sini Mathews stated that Sherin fell off some playground equipment. Sini Mathews told Dr. Dakil that Sherin had brittle bones as a result of the poor diet she'd had in India. However, the doctor determined that the injuries had occurred after Sherin left India.

On January 3, 2018, Sherin's cause of death was reported as "homicidal violence" by the Dallas County Medical Examiner's office.[9]

Arrests[edit]

Wesley Mathews was initially arrested for child endangerment and was released on bail. After the child's body was discovered and Wesley changed his statement, he was re-arrested on a charge of felony injury to a child. Wesley remains in jail on a bond of $1 million. On August 1, 2018 his bail was dropped to $500 thousand. On November 16, 2017, Sini Mathews turned herself in to the police, and was jailed on a bond of $250,000. She was charged with child abandonment after police alleged she left Sherin home alone on the night of October 6. Wesley Mathews was sentenced to life in prison [10][8] Charges were later dropped against Sini on March 1, 2019, though a detailed explanation was not given; this action was criticized by the Richardson Police Department.[11][12] Wesley Mathews motioned for a new trial following his sentencing, claiming the photographs of the child's dead body or the photos showing her injuries before her death, should never have been shown. On September 5, 2019, he was denied a new trial. [13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'Moment in our arms, lifetime in our hearts': Sherin Mathews' gravesite revealed". Deccan Chronicle. 2017-12-10. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  2. ^ "Body found confirmed as Sherin Mathews; Father now admits he removed body 'believing she died' after choking on her milk". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  3. ^ a b "Texas police may have just found the body of missing 3-year-old girl". The Denver Post. 2017-10-22. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  4. ^ a b "Richardson child's dad thought she died after choking on milk, moved body: affidavit". star-telegram. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  5. ^ TEGNA. "A look at Sherin Mathews' life in India". WFAA. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  6. ^ "Sherin Mathews murder: Sushma Swaraj seeks probe into child's adoption process; Women and Child Development ministry says it is 'transparent'". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  7. ^ "Missing Texas girl's dad arrested, charged with felony". Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  8. ^ a b Joyce, Kathleen (2017-11-30). "Sherin Mathews' doctor reported signs of abuse before 3-year-old's death". Fox News. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  9. ^ Guerrero, Maria (2018-01-03). "Sherin Mathews Died of 'Homicidal Violence,' Medical Examiner Confirms". NBC DFW. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  10. ^ "Sini Mathews Arraigned on Child Endangerment Charge". NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  11. ^ Emily, Jennifer (2019-03-01). "Charge dismissed against mother of Sherin Mathews, the Richardson girl found dead in culvert". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  12. ^ "US father gets life for adopted India child death". June 27, 2019 – via www.bbc.com.
  13. ^ https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Wesley-Mathews-Serving-Life-for-Death-of-Daughter-Seeks-New-Trial-559451201.html